Margaret Atwood Has Very Spidery Handwriting, and Other Lessons Learned from Archival Research

After traveling to Toronto and Cambridge to visit archival libraries, I learned the hard way that the archives are not always helpful or relevant to your project, even if they appear to be so in their online descriptions and finding aids. And in a surprising and lucky turn of events, the unhelpfulness of some of…
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July Research & Travel Update – Women’s Solidarity in Contemporary Fiction

Tomorrow, I leave to travel first to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in Toronto, Ontario, and then to the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America in Cambridge, MA. In Toronto I’ll be exploring Margaret Atwood’s papers, looking into the context of her thoughts while writing The Handmaid’s Tale.…
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Women’s Solidarity in the TV Adaptation of “The Handmaid’s Tale”

The recent Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s famous novel stays mostly true to its source material, something I was grateful for. But where it departs from the novel is where it is perhaps most helpful to my research about depictions of women’s solidarity. In the TV series, solidarity amongst the handmaids is explicitly realized in…
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Recurring concepts in novels about women’s solidarity

As I finish up my final term studying abroad at Oxford, questions and concepts that arose during my tutorials here are serving as important starting points for my research. I had the opportunity to create my tutorials this term, and I asked for one on “Female Friendships in Late 20th-century Literature,” thinking ahead to my…
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Introduction to Fighting Against the Backlash: Women’s Solidarity in Contemporary Fiction

For my thesis, I will study how contemporary women’s fiction – namely The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – presents women’s solidarity as a response and possible solution to “backlash” against women. “Backlash” refers to the anti-women policies and rhetoric of ’80s America that still may be in play today. According to…
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