Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Margaret Atwood: A Reference Guide, 1988-2005

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Margaret Atwood: A Reference Guide, 1988-2005

Article excerpt

Shannon Hengen and Ashley Thomson (eds), Margaret Atwood: A Reference Guide, 1988-2005 (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press Inc., 2007), xiv + 438pp. Cased. $75. ISBN 978-0-8108-5904-3.

This is a book for library acquisition and for Atwood specialists - indispensable to both, I should think. Co-edited by the two Canadian scholars who have jointly compiled the annual checklists in the Newsletter of the Margaret Atwood Society over the past decade, this is a compilation of those lists together with some additions, up to The Penelopiad (2005). Here we have the most comprehensive bibliography of Atwood materials which have been published since 1988. (The book is a successor to Margaret Atwood: A Reference Guide compiled by Judith McCombs and Carole L. Palmer, 1991.) Atwood's books and their translations, her articles, individual poems and short stories, interviews and letters to newspapers are all listed here, together with the mass of secondary materials (most of them annotated), plus a guide to online Atwood resources, 'Margaret Atwood on the Web', and the requisite author and subject indexes. It is an impressive piece of work, but how might it be useful for researchers, students working on one Atwood novel, or for any curious Atwood reader browsing in the local library?

Knowing the unwieldiness and sheer volume of material, the editors have adopted a standardised chronological arrangement with every year's work divided into sections on primary materials and scholarly resources and reviews, enlivened with selected quotations from Atwood's interviews and essays. Sections for every year are of roughly the same length, which at first I found scarcely credible given the expanding Atwood industry, though I soon noticed that the type gets denser as time goes by in order to accommodate the annual increase. …

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