September 7th, 2006


Margaret Atwood lecture

I dragged my sister-in-law out this evening to the Nix Mann Endowed Lecture at Emory, sponsored by the Carlos Museum. The speaker was Margaret Atwood, and the lecture was on myths and stories as sources for fiction, primarily focused on Atwood's work (naturally) and most especially her most recent, The Penelopiad. Here I must confess that I haven't read anything of Atwood's except the children's book Princess Prunella and the purple peanut, as her work for adults appears to be dense and literary and provoking of deep thought, and my reading tends to be, well, fluffier.

But the lecture looked intriguing, and was indeed both intriguing and very entertaining--Atwood has a dry wit that shone through even though she read her lecture from a script. She talked about three great sources for stories: the Bible, fairy tales/Norse and other mythologies/and so forth (I can't recall what broad term she used for this grouping), and Greek and Roman mythology. As she went discussed these in terms of her life and career and work, heavily punctuated with anecdotes. I'm intrigued enough by her style and the discussion of the view of The Odyssey through Penelope's eyes that I have put my name on the DeKalb Library's list for The Penelopiad and will give it a try. Unfortunately others beat me to it and there are 29 people ahead of me for the system's 4 copies. Maybe the library will order more...

I just realized that I probably missed seeing a friend by skipping out on the reception and book signing. The reception was sponsored by the Canadian Consulate, and Judith C. ("Dean, darling, you're being a cat" from piffle and LordPeter, though she's been gone from the list for a long time now) was almost certainly there as she works for the Consulate. However, sister-in-law needed to get back before the kids went to bed, and as I wasn't planning to buy a book (and didn't know about the reception sponsor) we just left from the lecture.