The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is a classic work of feminist dystopian fiction that imagines a near-future world in which the American government is overthrown by a theocratic totalitarian regime called the Republic of Gilead. The novel explores themes of power, gender, religion, and reproductive rights. It presents a world where women are subjugated, reduced to their biological functions, and forced to bear children for the ruling class. This is the true Canadian first edition and precedes the American edition.
Signed & inscribed by Atwood on the half-title page: "For Bert Babcock / best wishes / Margaret Atwood."
Hardcover. First Edition, First Printing. Octavo, bound in 1/4 burgundy cloth with cream-colored boards. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1985. ISBN: 0771008139. #10017.
Fine in fine dust jacket.
Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale is a highly significant and influential work published in 1985. The novel presents a dystopian vision of a future society called Gilead, where women's rights and freedoms have been severely restricted.
The story is narrated by Offred, a Handmaid who is assigned the role of a reproductive surrogate for a high-ranking couple. In this oppressive society, women are divided into different classes based on their fertility and assigned specific roles. The Handmaids are subjected to strict control, surveillance, and ritualized sexual exploitation in an attempt to combat dangerously low fertility rates caused by environmental pollution and high radiation levels. The novel explores the subjugation of women within this patriarchal society, which strips women of their basic rights to read, write, own property, handle money, or control their own reproductive functions.
Basis for a somewhat unmemorable 1990 film directed by Volker Schlöndorff, and the much more successful Hulu TV series starring Elizabeth Moss.