A Politics of Auto-Cannibalism: Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

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This article re-opens the debate concerning the biblical intertexts of The Handmaid’s Tale, turning to the analogy between the theocratic Gilead and Nazi Germany via the novel’s evocations of biblical sacrifices, including that of the Passover lamb – an intertextual entanglement which still remains unexamined today, in 2015, the year that marks the thirtieth anniversary of the novel’s publication. Both the Passover sacrifice and The Handmaid’s Tale, I will argue, present us with a figurative self-consumption that points to a politics of ‘autocannibalism’, which illuminates the parallel between Gilead and Nazi Germany whilst fleshing out its implications on Atwood’s treatment of the tripartite connection between politics, sacrifice, and eating.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-425
Number of pages15
JournalLiterature and Theology
Issue number4
Early online date29 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


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