Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature
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Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  102 ratings  ·  13 reviews
"Strange Things" explores a part of the imaginative landscape of one of the most esteemed and popular of contemporary writers, Margaret Atwood. Atwood's witty and informative book focuses on the imaginative mystique of the wilderness of the Canadian North. She discusses the 'Grey Owl Syndrome' of white writers going native; the folklore arising from the mysterious - and di...more
Hardcover, 126 pages
Published January 18th 1996 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1995)
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Melissa  Jeanette
This was a lot of fun to read. I chose it as additional research for a paper I was working on, and I'm glad I did. There were so many funny, poignant, insightful moments that I had a mountain of sticky notes hanging out the side by the the end (as it was a library book and I couldn't underline to my hearts content). It was almost painful to remove stickies when I finally had to make the "not applicable to my research" decisions. I found the chapters on the Franklin expedition and the Wendigo to...more
Rosie (prosesroses)
Strange Things puts together 4 chapters or lectures on Canadian literary themes connected to the north that Margaret Atwood gave at Oxford University.

Atwood is terrific writer and speaker, witty and engaging. It really shows here. This book is a great extension of Atwood's previous book on CanLit themes, Survival, and is actually written better than that. At 126 pages, it goes by fast. Atwood interweaves haunting imagery, mythology and real-life Canadian events into themes that illustrate the Ma...more
Tiffany Risner
Although I try not to focus on nationalistic pieces of writing, I felt compelled to read and review this collection of lectures that Ms. Atwood delivered in 1991 because she references so many other Northern texts, authors, ideas and symbology. She claims not to be an academic, but qualifies herself on the basis of her own “amateur enthusiasms.” Her four lectures are on the following subjects: The tragic Franklin expedition, The Grey-Owl Syndrome in which whites want to be Indians, The Wendigo (...more
Who else better to write about the uses and mythologies of Canada in (Canadian) literature than Margaret Atwood? Here she does not glorify it. She admits there is very little to reference, and what there is is not very pretty. These lectures explores from cannibalism to Wendigo and other stuff in between. She is sassy and sarcastic, and if you take every word she says literally then the joke is on you. She knows her shizzle and in true Atwood form discusses the symbolism of the North and Canada...more
I like Atwood's writing so much I actually enjoyed this piece of non-fiction and I read more than I needed for my paper. Which really means something.
Very strong, entertaining talks. These would have been fun lectures to sit in on. As a reading, they don't pack the same punch, but they're still worth the relatively small amount of time it took to get through them. All in all, well worth the time to read for anyone that cares even a little bit about the mythologies and identity we've built up around ourselves in Canada.
Sian Lile-Pastore
i like books about snow and ice and 'the north' so i liked this. it's a series of lectures that atwood delivered in oxford and looks at the wendigo, women writers in the 'canadian wilderness'and lots of other things. it's really interesting.
Dec 06, 2008 Meg rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any interested in Canadian lit or national identity or Wendigos
Love Margaret Atwood, can't wait to see how this works out.

Fascinating, amazing, funny. Drags a little on the chapter about white Canadians who want to become Indian, but overall very good.
Loved it. Very insightful and witty. I always enjoy the way Atwood's work - fiction as well as non-fiction - few authors or critics resonate as well with me as she does.
Margaret Atwood is the best lecturer ever! I would read endless nonfiction by Margaret Atwood. As I read this, so much Canlit floated through my head. Wonderful!
I'm a bit obsessed lately with the north and ships/oceans, and this scratched my itch nicely. Atwood is always readable and intelligent, and this book was no exception.
Quite riveting, especially for a book of literary criticism. Far more relevant and insightful than the points in Survival.
As funny, smart and compelling as her fiction.
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Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.

Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, childr...more
More about Margaret Atwood...
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