#10018 The Handmaid's Tale. Margaret Atwood.
Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale

Signed first American edition

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is a landmark work of feminist dystopian fiction that envisions a near-future where the American government is overthrown by a theocratic totalitarian regime. Exploring themes of power, gender, religion, and reproductive rights, the novel depicts a world where women are subjugated, reduced to their biological functions, and compelled to bear children for the ruling class. This edition is the first American edition and was preceded by the Canadian edition published by McClelland and Stewart.

Signed by Atwood on the title page

Hardcover. First American Edition, First Printing. Octavo, quarter blue cloth with black boards. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1986. Governor General's Award winner (1985). Arthur C. Clarke Award winner (1987). ISBN: 0395404258. #10018.
Near fine in near fine dust jacket with some minor age toning.

Additional Details
Margaret Atwood’s seminal 1985 novel, The Handmaid's Tale, offers a chilling and incisive glimpse into a dystopian future where environmental crises and declining birth rates have given rise to a totalitarian theocracy: the Republic of Gilead. This regime, built on distorted interpretations of Old Testament principles, is deeply entrenched in patriarchal and white supremacist ideologies, systematically oppressing women by stripping them of their basic rights—including the ability to read, write, own property, handle money, and control their own reproductive functions.

The narrative unfolds through the eyes of Offred, a Handmaid assigned to bear children for the ruling class. Through her perspective, the novel paints a stark portrait of a society steeped in religious extremism and militarism. Handmaids, identifiable by their red robes and white bonnets, navigate lives of servitude and surveillance, with disobedience met with severe punishment. Offred's tale seamlessly weaves between her present-day tribulations and memories of a past where freedom and identity were taken for granted. Atwood's novel explores themes of power, gender, and the commodification of women’s bodies within a patriarchal framework, illustrating the fragile nature of democratic norms in the face of authoritarian rule.

Since its debut, The Handmaid’s Tale has extended beyond the confines of its pages. While the 1990 film adaptation, directed by Volker Schlöndorff, didn't quite capture the novel’s profound impact, the story found renewed relevance and resonance with the acclaimed 2017 Hulu TV series starring Elizabeth Moss. This adaptation not only introduced Atwood’s harrowing vision to a new generation but also amplified and expanded upon the novel's themes, underscoring its enduring significance and relevance in contemporary cultural discourse.

The Handmaid’s Tale is undoubtedly one of the most significant dystopian novels of the late 20th century and a landmark piece of feminist literature.