HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
dismiss
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing (2002)

by Margaret Atwood

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,3482711,922 (3.75)69
"Margaret Atwood examines the metaphors which writers of fiction and poetry have used to explain their activities, looking at what costumes they have seen fit to assume, what roles they have chosen to play. In her final chapter she takes up the challenge of the book's title: if a writer is to be seen as 'gifted', who is doing the giving and what are the terms of the gift?" "Margaret Atwood's wide and eclectic reference to other writers, living and dead, is balanced by anecdotes from her own experiences as a writer, both in Canada and on the international scene. The lightness of her touch is underlined by a seriousness about the purpose and the pleasures of writing, and by a deep familiarity with the myths and traditions of western literature."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 69 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
2.5**

Alternate or Subtitle: A Writer on Writing

Atwood was asked to give the Empson lectures at Cambridge University in 2000. The series of six presentations were intended for scholars, students and the general public. This book is the result of that experience.

Somehow, I’ve found myself reading books about writing this past year. I read Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing last month and am just about to finish listening to Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. I cannot help but compare them, and I find this one better than Bradbury’s, but not so helpful (or entertaining) as King’s

Atwood clearly gave a lot of thought into the lecture series and she references many writers and books in a range of genres, though she does tend to rely most on classics / literary fiction and poetry. She does have some very interesting points to make, and questions to ask. For example, this excerpt:
In what ways, if any, does talent set you apart? Does it exempt you from the duties and responsibilities expected of others? Or does it load you up with even more duties and responsibilities, but of a different kind? Are you to be a detached observer…? Or ought you to be a dedicated spokesperson for the downtrodden of this earth…?

However, the style seemed stilted and detached. Dryly academic. I found myself anxious for her to get her point made and move on. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jul 26, 2022 |
Plus a half star. It would have been fabulous to be at her lectures on which the book was based. The philosophy was less convincing on the page but the moments of personal experience were touching. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
Very interesting, learned, but easy to read and funny at times. I’d recommend this to anyone who habitually reads.

Atwood opens quite innocuously with a memoir and description of the literary scene in mid-20th C Canada. There’s an interesting discussion of the relationship between the author and the reader (pretty much like in Stephen King’s Misery) and also of the writer’s relationship with themselves (as in The Dark Half). She also discusses the religious aspects of writing. The final chapter is actually rather profound.

So a book about the art of writing is also itself a work of art. Bloody typical of Atwood to do something like that. ( )
  Lukerik | Nov 14, 2020 |
A wide-ranging, perceptive and sometimes hilarious look at becoming a writer, being a writer, wrestling with the art and commerce of writing and more. If you have thought it as a writer, Atwood has -- and likely she captures it better on paper. If you've done it (even the scary or shameful stuff) -- ditto. And if you've navigated, or wanted to, the scary gap between creation and commerce, Atwood can pen BTDT in a way that will still break your heart. ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
Plus a half star. It would have been fabulous to be at her lectures on which the book was based. The philosophy was less convincing on the page but the moments of personal experience were touching. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | May 27, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

Belongs to Publisher Series

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
As they were all sitting at table, one guest suggested that each of them should relate a tale. Then the bridegroom said to the bride: "Come, my dear, do you know nothing? Relate something to us, like the others." She said: "Then I will relate a dream." -- "The Robber Bridegroom," collected by the Brothers Grimm
...I moot reherce
Hir tales alle, be they bettre or werse,
Or elles falsen som of my mateere.
And therefore, whoso list it nat yheere,
Turne over the leef and chese another tale...
--Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
And now in imagination he has climbed
another planet, the better to look
with single camera view upon this earth--
its total scope, and each afflated tick,
its talk, its trick, its tracklessness--and this,
this he would like to write down in a book!
--A.M. Klein, "Portrait of the Poet as Landscape"
Dedication
For the others
First words
When I was a student of English literature, in the early 1960s, we all had to read an important critical text called Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930).
Quotations
Every life lived is also an inner life, a life created.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

"Margaret Atwood examines the metaphors which writers of fiction and poetry have used to explain their activities, looking at what costumes they have seen fit to assume, what roles they have chosen to play. In her final chapter she takes up the challenge of the book's title: if a writer is to be seen as 'gifted', who is doing the giving and what are the terms of the gift?" "Margaret Atwood's wide and eclectic reference to other writers, living and dead, is balanced by anecdotes from her own experiences as a writer, both in Canada and on the international scene. The lightness of her touch is underlined by a seriousness about the purpose and the pleasures of writing, and by a deep familiarity with the myths and traditions of western literature."--BOOK JACKET.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.75)
0.5
1 7
1.5
2 9
2.5 4
3 37
3.5 12
4 57
4.5 8
5 40

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 179,987,855 books! | Top bar: Always visible