Faced with censorship, a non-flammable edition of La Servante Écarlate

As an unprecedented wave of censorship continues to rage in libraries and schools across the United States, author Margaret Atwood, 82, has presented a non-flammable version of her bestseller The Scarlet Maidregularly targeted by interdiction attempts across the Atlantic.

The work of Margaret Atwood has never been so hot, to say the least. The most famous novel by the Canadian author, The Scarlet Maid, first published in 1985, imagines a dystopian world in which women are no longer masters of their own bodies, some being forced to bear the children of the powerful; the novel, made into a series in 2017, whose fourth season aired last year, resonates all the more since a Supreme Court working paper revealed that Roe v. Wade, who has protected women’s abortion rights for nearly fifty years, is reportedly about to be fired. If the final judgment rendered next month were to confirm this project emanating from the conservative majority of the Court, abortion could then become illegal in nearly half of the American states.

Elisabeth Moss in season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale ©Hulu

Thousands of incriminated works

A step back that goes hand in hand with the wave of censorship that has gripped the United States in recent years (primarily aimed at works addressing themes such as racism, homophobia, homosexuality, genre, etc.) and more particularly in 2021: according to the American Library Association, no less than 1,597 books would have been the subject of a ban attempt that year – the sad “palm” of the most targeted book returning to Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. books like Beloved of Toni Morrison, All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, The hate we give by Angie Thomas The Scarlet Maid so or else, more recently, Maus ofArt Spiegelmann, are among the books regularly targeted by censorship attempts. It happens that publishing blockbusters like Harry Potter and Twilight are sometimes incriminated, even burned in some cases.

In response to this increasingly uncontrollable wave, Canadian author Margaret Atwood appeared in a video, flamethrower in hand, in a dystopian scene worthy of Fahrenheit 451 of Ray Bradbury, trying to set fire to his own work. Fortunately, this is not the case: this fireproof edition of The Scarlet Maid, designed by the publishing giant Penguin Random House, is on the contrary a fervent indictment against censorship. All proceeds from the sale will be donated to PEN America, an association fighting for freedom of expression.

Season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale should be out by the end of the year. As a reminder, Margaret Atwood published in 2019 a sequel to The Scarlet Maid, titled The Wills (published in France by Robert Laffont), for which she received the prestigious Booker Prize the same year. A series around this sequel, which takes place fifteen years after the events of The Scarlet Maid, would already be in the works at Hulu.

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Faced with censorship, a non-flammable edition of La Servante Écarlate