Negotiating With the Dead

Negotiating With the Dead

A Writer on Writing

Paperback - 2003
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Acclaimed author Margaret Atwood's definitive look at the role of the writer.

What is the role of the writer? Prophet? High Priest of Art? Court Jester? Or witness to the real world? Looking back on her own childhood and the development of her writing career, Margaret Atwood examines the metaphors that writers of fiction and poetry have used to explain -- or excuse -- their activities, looking at what roles they have chosen to play.

Margaret Atwood's wide and eclectic reference to other writers, living and dead, is balanced by personal anecdotes from her own experiences as a writer. The lightness of her touch is offset by a seriousness about the purpose and the pleasures of writing, and by a deep familiarity with the myths and traditions of western literature.
Publisher: Toronto : Anchor Canada, 2003, c2002.
ISBN: 9780385659840
Characteristics: xxvii, 219 pages ;,21 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Nov 18, 2009

Margaret Atwood made me get teary-eyed on the subway while reading this book.

"Negotiating With the Dead" is a reflection on the roles of writers and their readers, adapted and somewhat expanded from the Empson Lectures which Margaret Atwood delivered at Cambridge University in 2000. It is breathtakingly erudite and eclectic, but is also interwoven with very personal and down-to-earth recollections and episodes from Atwood's own journey as both a writer and a reader. It was a sweet reminiscence about the person whom she considered to be her first reader - and who she later paid tribute to with an appearance in one of her novels - that brought on my moved and appreciative tears. It also drove home that the audience and the individual reader are critical figures in the symbiosis of the writer's creative process.

This book brims with examples from the classical to the contemporary of the multifaceted and sometimes conflicted roles, challenges and opportunities of the writer. At the same time, much of it has a conversational tone that undoubtedly stems from both its origin as a series of lectures, but also Atwood's strong and singular voice. Some might count that as a flaw of this work, in that the overall voice is somewhat inconsistent, but I think that's part of its charm and makes the subject matter than much more approachable, digestible and memorable.

Feb 11, 2008

Superb philosophical & poetical work. Forever changed my thinking on the nature of writing.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at my library

To Top