To celebrate the campus visit of Canadian novelist, poet, and literary critic Margaret Atwood, the Lilly Library presents an exhibition celebrating her life and work. Some of Atwood’s most memorable works include The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), a novel of a dystopian future in which a comprehensive system of patriarchal oppression relegates the women to roles of laborer, domestic, or concubine. Her recently-completed MaddAdam trilogy (Oryx and Crake, 2003; The Year of the Flood, 2009; and MaddAdam, 2013) explores human relationships in a post-apocalyptic world of environmental catastrophes, pandemics, and genetic manipulation.
The exhibition situates Atwood’s work in the larger context of speculative fiction, showcasing treasures from the Lilly’s extensive collections. Highlights include rare first editions of Atwood’s work; high points from the history of utopian and dystopian literature which inspired or were inspired by Atwood’s writing; and an array of early 20th-century science fiction pulp magazines of the kind described by Atwood in her novel The Blind Assassin (2000) and in her recent volume of essays on speculative fiction, In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (2011).