“Books and Books and Books … an Oasis of the Forbidden”: Writing and Print Culture as Metaphor and Medium for Survival in Margaret Atwood’s Novel The Handmaid’s Tale

  • Reingard M. Nischik
Part of the New Directions in Book History book series (NDBH)


Reingard M. Nischik offers an in-depth analysis of how Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale portrays book culture as an icon of humanism, a carrier of democratic culture, and, hence, as a counterforce to totalitarianism and patriarchal oppression. Nischik’s reading expands our understanding of the text’s feminist politics, revealing that the novel’s trenchant critique of misogyny pivots not only on its representation of gender politics but also on its celebratory portrait of print culture. At the same time, the novel’s metafictional close directs the reader’s attention to questions of authorship, editorial intervention, and technological mediation and turns the discussion of the text’s material status into a site for reflecting on the hegemonic practices that inform our use of all media, including printed books.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reingard M. Nischik
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LiteratureUniversity of KonstanzKonstanzGermany

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