The Construction of a Literary Classic The Handmaid’s Tale within the Field of Power

Ziwei YAN


Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, published 35 years ago, unexpectedly hits the Bestseller list in 2017 and is recognized as a literary classic. To investigate how the novel is constructed to be the classic, this thesis applies Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of field and capital, as well as his conclusion that the literary field is actually contained within and dominated by the field of power which camouflages itself with symbolic capital to illustrate that the classicalization of the novel is not only dependent on the artistic features of the work itself, but also a joint result of political capital and economic capital.


The Handmaid’s Tale; Literary classic; Field; Capital

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