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The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970)

by Margaret Atwood

Other authors: Charles Pachter (Illustrator)

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363469,800 (3.71)61
This cycle of poems is perhaps the most memorable evocation in modern Canadian literature of the myth of the wilderness, the immigrant experience, and the alienating and schizophrenic effects of the colonial mentality. Since it was first published in 1970 it has not only acquired the statureof a classic but, reprinted many times, become the best-known extended work in Canadian poetry.Susanna Moodie (1805-85) emigrated from England in 1832 to Upper Canada, where she settled on a farm with her husband. She wrote several books in Canada, notably Roughing It in the Bush, a famous account of pioneering that is still widely read. In poems about the arrival and the Moodies' seven yearsin the bush, which were followed by a more civilized ilfe in Belleville, and about Mrs Moodie in old age and then after death - in the present, when she observes the twentieth century destroying her past and its meaning - Margaret Atwood has created haunting meditations on an English gentlewoman'sconfrontation with the wilderness, and compelling variations on the themes of dislocation and alienation, nature and civilization.The poems are supplemented by Margaret Atwood's collages and an 'Afterword' in which the poet says: 'We are all imigrants to this place even if we were born here....'… (more)
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Showing 4 of 4
Susanna Moodie was a real woman who emigrated to Canada in the 19th century and settled in a rural, undeveloped part of Ontario. Moodie wrote books about her experience as a settler. Atwood's series of linked poems are inspired by Moodie's books, particularly by the undercurrent of emotion that seems to contradict Moodie's words. Atwood's poetry reveals the hardships and loneliness of a woman's life on the frontier. It's accessible to readers who rarely read poetry, and it will appeal to poetry lovers. ( )
  cbl_tn | Apr 7, 2016 |
This early book of poetry (1970) by Margaret Atwood contains meditative vignettes from the life of Susanna Moodie, an early Canadian pioneer. It's less a narrative than a series of private meditations of Moodie's life in the wilderness and later in the town of Belleville where the family settled . It concludes with a series of poems from beyond the grave in which Moodie's voice seems to transform into the land/idea of Canada itself. The book is illustrated with a series of Atwood's collages which help to evoke the early Canadian landscape and settlers. ( )
  janeajones | May 14, 2010 |
"If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania," Atwood concluded in 1970, "that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia." These poems and art works are inspired by two 19th century books by Susanna Moodie, an immigrant from England.
  gibbon | Nov 30, 2005 |
one of my favourite Canadian women authors writes poems about one of my favourite pioneer Canadian women who happened to have settled here in my town...
  joli | Oct 19, 2005 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Margaret Atwoodprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pachter, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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I take this picture of myself and with my sewing scissors cut out the face.
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My husband walks in the frosted field, an X, a concept defined against a blank; he swerves, enters the forest and is blotted out.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This cycle of poems is perhaps the most memorable evocation in modern Canadian literature of the myth of the wilderness, the immigrant experience, and the alienating and schizophrenic effects of the colonial mentality. Since it was first published in 1970 it has not only acquired the statureof a classic but, reprinted many times, become the best-known extended work in Canadian poetry.Susanna Moodie (1805-85) emigrated from England in 1832 to Upper Canada, where she settled on a farm with her husband. She wrote several books in Canada, notably Roughing It in the Bush, a famous account of pioneering that is still widely read. In poems about the arrival and the Moodies' seven yearsin the bush, which were followed by a more civilized ilfe in Belleville, and about Mrs Moodie in old age and then after death - in the present, when she observes the twentieth century destroying her past and its meaning - Margaret Atwood has created haunting meditations on an English gentlewoman'sconfrontation with the wilderness, and compelling variations on the themes of dislocation and alienation, nature and civilization.The poems are supplemented by Margaret Atwood's collages and an 'Afterword' in which the poet says: 'We are all imigrants to this place even if we were born here....'

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