The Handmaid's Tale is a work of dystopian fiction by Canadian author Margaret Atwood.
A handmaiden, handmaid or maidservant is a personal maid or female servant, or someone whose primary role is to serve or assist.
Margaret Eleanor Atwood, CC OOnt FRSC is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, and environmental activist.
The utopia and its derivative, the dystopia, are genres of literature that explore social and political structures.
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Set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government, the dystopian novel explores themes of women in subjugation and the various means by which they gain individualism and independence.
New England is a geographical region which comprises six states of the northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Theocracy is a form of government in which a deity is the source from which all authority derives.
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The novel's title echoes the component parts of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, which comprises a series of connected stories.
Geoffrey Chaucer, known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages and was the first poet to be buried in Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey.
The Canterbury Tales is a collection of 24 stories that runs to over 17,000 lines written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer between 1387–1400.
The Handmaid's Tale won the 1985 Governor General's Award and the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987; it was also nominated for the 1986 Nebula Award, the 1986 Booker Prize, and the 1987 Prometheus Award.
The Governor General's Awards are a collection of annual awards presented by the Governor General of Canada, recognizing distinction in numerous academic, artistic, and social fields.
The Prometheus Award is an award for libertarian science fiction novels given annually by the Libertarian Futurist Society, which also publishes the quarterly journal Prometheus.
The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel, written in the English language and published in the UK.
Most notably, the book has been adapted into a 1990 film, a 2000 opera, and a 2017 TV series, as well as other media.