Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $2.00
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature Paperback – March 23, 2004

See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
Paperback, March 23, 2004
$15.04 $15.99
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Best Books of the Year
See the Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart (March 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771008724
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771008726
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,160,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


It’s a terrific book, enraging, alive–and I wish someone would give it to every continentalist in the Cabinet and every smug academic in all the cosy common rooms across this colonized land.”
–Christina Newman, Maclean’s

Survival is a fine example of what happens when a first-rate intelligence takes on a task usually carried out by literary morons.”
–George Woodcock, Vancouver Sun

“…the most important book that has come out of this country.”
–Phyllis Grosskurth, Globe and Mail

From the Inside Flap

When first published in 1972, Survival was considered the most startling book ever written about Canadian literature. Since then, it has continued to be read and taught, and it continues to shape the way Canadians look at themselves. Distinguished, provocative, and written in effervescent, compulsively readable prose, Survival is simultaneously a book of criticism, a manifesto, and a collection of personal and subversive remarks. Margaret Atwood begins by asking: ?What have been the central preoccupations of our poetry and fiction?? Her answer is ?survival and victims.?

Atwood applies this thesis in twelve brilliant, witty, and impassioned chapters; from Moodie to MacLennan to Blais, from Pratt to Purdy to Gibson, she lights up familiar books in wholly new perspectives.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Stephen K. Roney on November 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
Atwood's Survival was a seminal book for me back in the 1970's. Her theory that there are national themes in literature is very useful for studying cultures generally. The rap on the book is that she has not done a thorough, scholarly job of research and tends to favour references to books written by her friends or published by her publisher. I think this is unfair. She is a working writer, not an academic, and she herself notes the book's scholarly limitations. The real fun is in taking the book's theses and running with them yourself.
Atwood sees the essential Canadian literary theme as the survival in the title: the survival of winter, imposed on us as Canadians by our geography and climate.
A very thought-provoking book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mobs on September 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book was published in 1972. I find it odd there there is only one review (preceeding my comment). Surely, the audience for whom it was intended might have something to say about the book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

More About the Author

MARGARET ATWOOD, whose work has been published in over thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid's Tale, her novels include Cat's Eye, shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; and her most recent, Oryx and Crake, shortlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize. She lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?