Quotations by Atwood, Margaret


They taught me that the truth would make me free but failed to warn me of the kind of trouble I’d get into by trying to tell it — I remain duly grateful.

Margaret Atwood (b. 1939) Canadian writer, literary critic, environmental activist
“Attitude,” Commencement Address, University Of Toronto (14 Jun 1983)
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“Why do men feel threatened by women?” I asked a male friend of mine. (I love that wonderful rhetorical device, “a male friend of mine.” It’s often used by female journalists when they want to say something particularly bitchy but don’t want to be held responsible for it themselves. It also lets people know that you do have male friends, that you aren’t one of those fire-breathing mythical monsters, The Radical Feminists, who walk around with little pairs of scissors and kick men in the shins if they open doors for you. “A male friend of mine” also gives — let us admit it — a certain weight to the opinions expressed.) So this male friend of mine, who does by the way exist, conveniently entered into the following dialogue. “I mean,” I said, “men are bigger, most of the time, they can run faster, strangle better, and they have on the average a lot more money and power.” “They’re afraid women will laugh at them,” he said. “Undercut their world view.” Then I asked some women students in a quickie poetry seminar I was giving, “Why do women feel threatened by men?” “They’re afraid of being killed,” they said.

Margaret Atwood (b. 1939) Canadian writer, literary critic, environmental activist
“Writing the Male Character,” Hagey Lecture, U. of Waterloo (9 Feb 1982)

Published in a revised version as "Writing the Male Character," Second Words: Selected Critical Prose, 1960-1982 (1983).

Usually paraphrased, "Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them."
Added on 3-Jul-14 | Last updated 1-Jan-19
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Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.

Margaret Atwood (b. 1939) Canadian writer, literary critic, environmental activist
Cat’s Eye, Part 2 (1988)
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Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results.

Atwood - stupidity evil - wist_info quote

Margaret Atwood (b. 1939) Canadian writer, literary critic, environmental activist
Surfacing, ch. 3 (1972)
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You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.

Margaret Atwood (b. 1939) Canadian writer, literary critic, environmental activist
In “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction,” The Guardian (20 Feb 2010)
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Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like paté.

Margaret Atwood (b. 1939) Canadian writer, literary critic, environmental activist
Quoted in Evening Standard (London) (9 Apr 2002)
Added on 27-May-14 | Last updated 27-May-14
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