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Alice Munro: Reminiscence, Interpretation, Adaptation and Comparison

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Edited By Mirosława Buchholtz and Eugenia Sojka

Canadian writer Alice Munro is the 2013 Nobel Laureate in Literature. This collection of essays by authors from Poland, Canada and France presents an intercultural perspective on her work and a new approach to Munro’s art of short story writing. It offers literary interpretation of the genre, critical perspectives on film and stage adaptations of her work, comparative analysis to the writings of Mavis Gallant and Eudora Welty, exclusive reminiscences of encounters with Alice Munro by Canadian writers Tomson Highway and Daphne Marlatt, and a unique African-Canadian perspective on Munro’s work by George Elliott Clarke.
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Exploration – Adaptation: Towards Redefining the Relation between Literature and Film. The Case of Hateship Loveship

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Introduction

The fiction of Alice Munro, “one of the foremost practitioners of the art of the short story,” as The New York Times critics have announced,1 has been adapted for both TV and cinema. This does not come as a surprise, considering the fact that her works contain “a tremendous amount of material,” that is both “aesthetically pleasing, intellectually stimulating, and morally satisfying” (Martin 1987: 200). The worlds which she creates within her short stories are “new and exciting wholes” (Martin 1987: 190), reservoirs of rich narrative stock to be read and adapted. The opening story of Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage collection is a case in point.

It is a story of Johanna Parry, a caregiver, whom we meet when she appears at a train station to arrange a shipment of some furniture to a place where she is apparently going. Johanna seems to be fleeing from the household of Mr McCauley, where she worked as a housekeeper and a caretaker for his granddaughter, Sabitha. As Sabitha’s father, Ken Boudreau, a widower, living elsewhere, sent Johanna a short note of appreciation for her job, she plucked up the courage to write back, starting a line of correspondence, which has eventually led to a love confession and invitation to join Ken and stand by his side. What Johanna does not know, however, is that the letters she received and thought about with such an affection were written by Sabitha and her school friend,...

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