|Critical Insights Series|
The series focuses on an individual author's entire body of work, a single work of literature, or a literary theme.
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THE HANDMAID'S TALE
Edited by J. Brooks Bouson
Essays lend context to the novel by surveying the political and cultural events out of which the novel grew and how critics have responded to it.
|Spread the Word|
Editor: Margaret Sönser Breen
Professor of English and Women's, Gender,
and Sexuality Studies
University of Connecticut, Storrs
October 2012 · 1 volume · 312 pages · 6"x9"
Great starting point for students seeking an introduction to the theme and the critical discussions surrounding it.
Good and evil have existed throughout human history, and humanity has been attempting to come to grips with the idea of them for just as long. From allegorical morality tales to cathartic horror stories to all-to-real personal narratives of unspeakable events, literature has always provided an especially powerful medium for the study of good and evil.
Profoundly concerned with the making and remaking of meaning, literature allows for the questioning, resisting, and refiguring of good and evil, and it does so on the levels of content and form. Literature's effects resonate: they are not only intellectual but also sensuous, and they can be immediate as well as long-lasting; unexpected and surprising. Literature engages us with ourselves, with each other, and with the world beyond us, and even when other means for understanding experience cannot. Accordingly, literature can provide a forum in which individuals can grapple with their personal questions on good and evil, experiencing them in scenes and characters they might never physically encounter. Literature - the telling of stories - also provides a crucial vehicle for memory, advocacy, and resilience. It can empower marginalized and oppressed groups, whose voices may well be silenced within other cultural and social contexts, with a crucial vehicle for the articulation of social justice issues.
Edited by Margaret Breen, Professor of English and Associate Department Head at University of Connecticut, Storrs, this volume in the Critical Insights series presents a variety of new essays on the perennial theme. For readers who are studying it for the first time, a four essays survey the critical conversation regarding the theme, explore its cultural and historical contexts, and offer close and comparative readings of key texts in the genre. Readers seeking a deeper understanding of the theme can then move on to other essays that explore it in depth through a variety of critical approaches. Works discussed include King Lear; Paradise Lost; Maus; The Scarlet Letter; Jane Eyre; The Picture of Dorian Gray; The Farming of Bones; Train to Pakistan; Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Rounding out the volume are a list of literary works not mentioned in the book that concern the theme of good and evil and as well as a bibliography of critical sources for readers seeking to study this timeless theme in greater depth.