Thursday, October 19, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Margaret Atwood


Canadian novelist, poet, and literary critic.
Margaret Atwood
For a thousand years, the Bible was almost the only book people read, if they could read at all. The stories that were officially told and portrayed were Biblical and religious stories. That other fount of Western civilization as we know it today ó the Greek classics ó went largely unknown until the Renaissance. For our purposes, there's a noteworthy difference between these two literatures: in the Bible people are hardly ever said to be mad as such, whereas in Greek drama they go off their rockers with alarming frequency. It was the rediscovery of the classics that stimulated the long procession of literary madpeople of the past four hundred years.
Atwood quotes
Roughing it builds a boy's character, but only certain kinds of roughing it.
Atwood
Confess: itís my profession
that alarms you.
This is why few people ask me to dinner,
though Lord knows I donít go out of my way to be scary.




Atwood Margaret quotes
The sitting room is subdued, symmetrical; itís one of the shapes money takes when it freezes.
Atwood Margaret
Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge. The bridge was being repaired: she went right through the Danger sign. The car fell a hundred feet into the ravine, smashing through the treetops feathery with new leaves, then burst into flames and rolled down into the shallow creek at the bottom. Chunks of the bridge fell on top of it. Nothing much was left but charred smithereens.
Margaret Atwood quotes
An eye for an eye only leads to more blindness.
Margaret Atwood
Despite the propaganda, there are no monsters,
or none that can be finally buried.
Finish one off, and circumstances
and the radio create another.
Believe me: whole armies have prayed fervently
to God all night and meant it,
and been slaughtered anyway.
Brutality wins frequently,
and large outcomes have turned on the invention
of a mechanical device, viz. radar.
True, valour sometimes counts for something,
as at Thermopylae. Sometimes being right ó
though ultimate virtue, by agreed tradition,
is decided by the winner.
Sometimes men throw themselves on grenades
and burst like paper bags of guts
to save their comrades.
I can admire that.
But rats and cholera have won many wars.
Those, and potatoes,
or the absence of them.
Atwood Margaret quotes
The one good thing to be said about announcing yourself as a writer in the colonial Canadian fifties is that nobody told me I couldn't do it because I was a girl. They simply found the entire proposition ridiculous. Writers were dead and English, or else extremely elderly and American; they were not sixteen years old and Canadian. It would have been worse if I'd been a boy, though. Never mind the fact that all the really stirring poems I'd read at that time had been about slaughter, mayhem, sex and death ó poetry was thought of as existing in the pastel female realm, along with embroidery and flower arranging. If I'd been male I would probably have had to roll around in the mud, in some boring skirmish over whether or not I was a sissy.
Atwood
The fact is there are no stories I can tell my friends
that will make them feel better. History cannot be
erased, although we can soothe ourselves by
speculating about it.
Atwood Margaret
I am certain that a Sewing Machine would relieve as much human suffering as a hundred Lunatic Asylums, and possibly a good deal more.
Margaret Atwood
He's just a contact of hers, which is not the same as a friend. While she was in the hospital she decided that most of her friends were really just contacts.




Margaret Atwood quotes
Ignoring isnít the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.
Margaret Atwood
I would rather dance as a ballerina, though faultily, than as a flawless clown.
Atwood quotes
You must cultivate poverty of spirit. Blessed are the meek. She didnít go on to say anything about inheriting the earth.
Atwood Margaret
Sanity is a valuable possession; I hoard it the way people once hoarded money. I save it, so I will have enough, when the time comes.
Atwood Margaret quotes
However, there are all sorts of behaviours in the Bible that might be called mad now, but aren't designated as insanity by the text itself. People see visions ó of angels going up and down ladders, of fiery chariots ó and, like Moses, who hears a bush talking, and Balaam the prophet who has a conversation with his donkey, they hear voices of those who cannot be said to be present in any usual sense of the word. They also speak in tongues, as the disciples do at Pentecost. Like madness, the visions, the voices and the speaking in tongues are due to external and usually divine agencies. In a world so permeated with supernatural powers, there are no accidents, and in one so riddled with prophets ó who went into a frenzy while prophesying ó many more kinds of behaviour were accepted as normal, at least for a prophet or an inspired person, than would be the case now. John the Baptist, dressed in animal skins and wandering around in the wilderness denouncing his social superiors, was not thought of as a de-institutionalized street person who's gone off his medications, but as a saint. And this was the pattern for mediaeval views of aberrant behaviour ó if you were acting crazy it was a divine punishment, or else you were possessed, by powers either divine or demonic ó perhaps aided, in the latter case, by witches.
Margaret Atwood
My first problem was that there were already two Margaret Atwoods on Twitter, one of them with my picture. This grew; I gave commands; then all other Margaret Atwoods stopped together.
Margaret Atwood quotes
A divorce is like an amputation; you survive, but thereís less of you.
Margaret Atwood
A man is just a womanís strategy for making other women.
Atwood Margaret
I can tell you that once upon a time when I was doing public events people would ask me, "What do you think about the arts?, What do you think of the role of women?, What do you think of men?, What do you think of all of these things?", and now they ask one thing, and that one thing is this, "Is there hope?".


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