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“Who Knows What We’d Make of It, If We Ever Got Our Hands on It?”

The Bible and Margaret Atwood


In the nightstands of hotel rooms, kept under lock and key, in the poetry of a pre-apocalyptic environmental cult, and quoted by children, atheists, and murderers alike—the Bible is omnipresent in the work of Margaret Atwood. The Bible is found not only in her novels but also in her poetry, short stories, and non-fiction work. “Who Knows What We’d Make of It, If We Ever Got Our Hands on It?” assembles cutting edge literary and critical readings of Margaret Atwood and the Bible.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4135-3
  • *
Publication Status: In Print
Publication Date: May 14,2020
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 437
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4135-3
$158.00
Your price: $110.60

In the nightstands of hotel rooms, kept under lock and key, in the poetry of a pre-apocalyptic environmental cult, and quoted by children, atheists, and murderers alike—the Bible is omnipresent in the work of Margaret Atwood. This volume, the first of its kind, assembles cutting-edge literary and critical readings of Atwood and the Bible. The essays span the breadth of Atwood’s work, including The Handmaid’s Tale, Alias Grace, the MaddAddam trilogy (Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam), poetry, essays, and more. Taking as a model Atwood’s own playful dialogues with the Bible, the contributors employ a variety of theoretical approaches (feminist, deconstructionist, animal theory, affect theory, and so on) to explore both the ancient and modern corpus of texts in dialogue with each other. In The Handmaid’s Tale, the Bible is famously used as a text that structures an entire society—though for precisely this reason it is a dangerous text that must be controlled by the elite, kept out of the hands of those who may turn it into an “incendiary device.” This volume explores what happens when Atwood, and we as readers, take the Bible into our own hands.

WINNER OF THE ATWOOD SOCIETY 2020 AWARD FOR BEST ANTHOLOGY OR EDITED COLLECTION ON ATWOOD.

REVIEWS

"The volume is a timely and meticulously edited collection of essays about a novelist whose importance in the postmodern literary reception of the Bible seems likely only to grow." Anthony Swindell, RBL, 08/2021

In the nightstands of hotel rooms, kept under lock and key, in the poetry of a pre-apocalyptic environmental cult, and quoted by children, atheists, and murderers alike—the Bible is omnipresent in the work of Margaret Atwood. This volume, the first of its kind, assembles cutting-edge literary and critical readings of Atwood and the Bible. The essays span the breadth of Atwood’s work, including The Handmaid’s Tale, Alias Grace, the MaddAddam trilogy (Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam), poetry, essays, and more. Taking as a model Atwood’s own playful dialogues with the Bible, the contributors employ a variety of theoretical approaches (feminist, deconstructionist, animal theory, affect theory, and so on) to explore both the ancient and modern corpus of texts in dialogue with each other. In The Handmaid’s Tale, the Bible is famously used as a text that structures an entire society—though for precisely this reason it is a dangerous text that must be controlled by the elite, kept out of the hands of those who may turn it into an “incendiary device.” This volume explores what happens when Atwood, and we as readers, take the Bible into our own hands.

WINNER OF THE ATWOOD SOCIETY 2020 AWARD FOR BEST ANTHOLOGY OR EDITED COLLECTION ON ATWOOD.

REVIEWS

"The volume is a timely and meticulously edited collection of essays about a novelist whose importance in the postmodern literary reception of the Bible seems likely only to grow." Anthony Swindell, RBL, 08/2021

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Contributor

Rhiannon Graybill

Peter Sabo

Acknowledgments (vii) 
List of Works by Margaret Atwood (ix) 
About the Contributors (xiii)
Introduction: Getting our Hands on It - Rhiannon Graybill and Peter J. Sabo (1)

PART I. SURFACING (25) 
1. “Always a potent object”?: The Shifting Role of the Bible in Margaret Atwood’s Novels (27) - Hannah M. Strømmen
2. Margaret Atwood's Survival as Prophetic Canadian Nation-building - Sara Parks and Anna Cwikla (55)
3. The Handmaid’s Tale, the Bible, and the Canadian Residential School System: A Dystopian Warning - Maryann Amor (83)

PART II. IN OTHER WORLDS (109)
4. Margaret Atwood’s Speculative Bibles: “First the Bad Things, Then the Story” - Richard Walsh (111)
5. Margaret Atwood’s Primordial Myth - Jennifer L. Koosed (135)
6. Eschatologically Expecting: Reading Apocalyptic Childbirth Through Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale - Alexis Felder Boyer (157)

PART III. DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GET YOU DOWN (179)
7. “You Should Not Take Baths Outside in the Garden”: Alias Grace, the Male Gaze, and Susanna and the Elders - Peter J. Sabo (181)
8. Writing Re-Vision: On Margaret Atwood’s Rewriting of Canon as Poststructuralist Midrash - Robert Paul Seesengood (211)
9. The Snake, The Poet: Art and Duplicity in Margaret Atwood’s Poetry and the Hebrew Bible - Sean Burt (237)

PART IV. SCALES AND TAILS (257)
10. Queer Animalities in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy and the Hebrew Bible - Ken Stone (259)
11. How To Live At the End of the World: The Bible and Theology in the Climate Dystopias of Margaret Atwood and Octavia Butler - Meredith Minister (285)
12. Surfacing in the Wild: The Heroine’s Journey Through the Lens of the Biblical Midbar - Sarah E.G. Fein (307)

PART V. NEGOTIATING WITH THE DEAD (329)
13. Grace Be to You in the Presence of the Past: Ghosts, Hauntings, and Traumatic Dissociations in Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace and the Gospel of John - Sarah Emanuel (331)
14. Mirrors of Grace: Undoing Paul in Atwood’s Alias Grace - Jay Twomey (357)
15. The LongPen, Future Library, and Biblical Prophecy: Thinking Writing with Margaret Atwood - Rhiannon Graybill (383)
Arcane Energy: An Afterword on the Bible and The Testaments - Peter J. Sabo and Rhiannon Graybill (409)

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