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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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“[T]hat Embarrassed Me Considerably. As It Would Any Man”: The Masculinity Crisis in Alice Munro’s Dear Life

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Introduction

When Alice Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in October 2013, media reports of the Swedish Academy’s decision were inevitably marked by the recurrence of words such as woman and women, with journalists and commentators endlessly recycling the fact that the Canadian was only the thirteenth female author to receive the award. The Nobelist’s reaction was: “Can this be possible? Really? It seems dreadful there’s only thirteen of us” (Munro qtd. in Higgins 2013). The fact that Munro is a woman writer – in both the literal and figurative sense, since her writing is seen as dealing predominantly with members of her own sex – was thus emphasised, also with the help of comments from the winner herself:

Naturally my stories are about women – I’m a woman. I don’t know what the term is for men who write mostly about men. I’m not always sure what is meant by “feminist.” In the beginning I used to say, well, of course I’m a feminist. But if it means that I follow a kind of feminist theory, or know anything about it, then I’m not. I think I’m a feminist as far as thinking that the experience of women is important. That is really the basis of feminism. (Munro qtd. in Wagstaff 2013)

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