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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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The Canadian Junction: Mavis Gallant’s and Alice Munro’s Narrative Practice

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Apart from the obligatory by now reference to Anton Chekhov, Alice Munro’s stories have been over the years more or less cursorily compared with works of Henry James and Nathaniel Hawthorne (e.g. Citati 2011: 44), Virginia Woolf, Joseph Conrad, Flannery O’Connor (e.g. Gorra 1998, Wilson 2013), William Faulkner (e.g. Wilson 2013), Eudora Welty (e.g. Martin 1987, Besner 2002, McHaney 2013), Willa Cather (e.g. Thacker 1994), and Margaret Atwood (e.g. Hammill 2007: 86–93). Many more comparisons are possible since Munro’s literary kinships and inspirations are multitudinous, but some analogies have clearly been more tempting to readers than others. Surprisingly few scholars have so far, for example, compared Alice Munro and Mavis Gallant, even though they, in a sense, belong together as “Canada’s two leading practitioners of the short story, both of whom had made much of their reputation through the pages of the New Yorker” (Thacker 2011: 467). When their books happened to be published concurrently – as they did in 19791 and 19962 – reviewers felt inclined to yoke the two Canadians together (360), and often found Gallant more accomplished than Munro as a feminist and an artist (361), but scholars have tended to focus either on Munro or on Gallant.

Whereas allusions to Gallant are rare in scholarly analyses of Munro’s fiction, Munro appears occasionally as a point of reference in texts devoted to Gallant. In other words, it seems more common to look at Gallant through the achievement of Munro than the other way around....

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