From ‘Places, Migrations’ to The Circle Game: Atwood’s Canadian and Female Metamorphoses



Margaret Atwood’s first real book, The Circle Game (1966) is not what is usually meant by a first book. Circle is not imitative, derivative or of beginner quality; nor is it an early achievement that later works have left behind. On the contrary: The Circle Game is a major and mature poetic structure, enclosing a number of Atwood’s best poems: ‘This is a Photograph of Me’, ‘A Descent Through the Carpet’, and ‘Camera’, to name a few. And Circle is the metamorphic source-book for Atwood’s Stage I, the Closed World, 1966–77; from The Edible Woman on through Dancing Girls, Circle’s surfaces and archetypal depths reform and reoccur.1


Senior Editor Final Circle Canadian Literature Female Identification Real Book 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1994

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