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The Journals of Susanna Moodie
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Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
The publisher says about this: Margaret Atwood's The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970), regarded by many as her most fully realized volume of poetry, is one of the great Canadian and feminist epics.

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
This is an amazingly beautiful book! It is a visual as well as a literary work of art. When I put it on request at the library I was afraid I might get the early "just the poems" edition (actually I was almost certain). So I was so thrilled to pick it up from the library today and see I got the fully illustrated version. If anyone hasn't seen this edition, it's worth the time and trouble to get a look at it!

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
These are the contents:
Foreword by David Staines
An Atwood/Pachter Duet by Charles Pachter
Journal One 1832-1840:
Disembarking in Quebec
Further Arrivals
First Neighbours
The Planters
The Wereman
Paths and Thingscape
The Two Fires
Looking in a Mirror
Departure from the Bush
Journal Two 1840-1871:
Death of a Young Son by Drowning
The Immigrants
Dream 1: The Bush Garden
1837 War in Retrospect
Dream 2: Brian the Still-Hunter
Dream 3: Night Bear Which Frightened Cattle
The Deaths of the Other Children
The Double Voice
Journal Three 1871-1970:
Later in Belleville: Career
Daguerrotype Taken in Old Age
Wish: Metamorphosis to Heraldic Emblem
Visit to Toronto, With Companions
Solipsism While Dying
Thoughts from Underground
Alternate Thoughts from Underground
A Bus Along St. Clair: December

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
So, after reading the introduction to this I find myself surprised by a couple of things. Those of us who are Americans, Canadians, (or Australians?), I think are mostly brought up to worship the "pioneer spirit" that settled our countries - I'm thinking of Laura Ingalls Wilder for example. Yet Susanna Moodie apparently wrote Roughing It in the Bush with the purpose of "deterring...famil[ies] from sinking their property, and shipwrecking all their hopes, by going to reside in the backwoods of Canada." So, in that sense she's an anti-pioneer, right? (Those of you in Canada - did you study her in school? She's called "the best known of Canada's early pioneers.") The second thing is that Margaret Atwood didn't like her much at all! So this is Margaret Atwood's attempt to give a new voice to someone she rather dislikes! Sort of an anti-anti-pioneer. And that's just to start!

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
I am so impressed with how clearly Margaret Atwood gives voice to Susanna Moodie's regret, despair and alienation!

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 1256 comments Mod
Some of my favorite bits from this:
"I am a word
in a foreign language."

"I tightened my lips; knew that England
was now unreachable, had sunk down into the sea
without ever teaching me about washtubs"

"none of them believe they are here.
They deny the ground they stand on,
pretend this dirt is the future."

"left charred marks
now around which I
try to grow"

"There was something they almost taught me
I came away not having learned."

"I should have known
anything planted here
would come up blood"

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