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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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Alice Munro’s Black Bottom; or Black Tints and Euro Hints in Lives of Girls and Women

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It is sensible to read Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women, her break-through 1971 linked-story novel, as an Anglo-Canadian realist intervention in second-wave feminism. The very title and the narrative of the developing gynocentric and feminist consciousness of the primary protagonist, Del Jordan, stress notions of female physical, intellectual, and metaphysical empowerment. The publication of the book at the height of the Women’s Liberation Movement demands the responsible teasing out of feminist thematics.

Less obvious is the 2013 Nobel Laureate’s interest in the multiculturalism that enters Del Jordan’s world through radio broadcasts, magazines, books, and, crucially, travellers, and which enables her actual “baptism” unto mature, intellectual self-awareness as well as sexual experience. In Munro’s fiction, multiculturalism is the subtle, 1970 Canadian “ism,” the silent sister of feminism (so to speak), but whose presence—especially in its black, racialized guise—is the actual catalyst for Del Jordan’s sudden advances in consciousness. With this frame in mind, enhanced is our appreciation of Jordan’s acquisition of an education excellently exceeding the Victorian, Eurocentric, and parochial limits of her rural household, school, and community. However, that’s not to say that Munro’s vision is unhesitatingly progressive….

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