Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgements

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pp. ix-x

We are grateful to many people and a number of institutions for contributing generously of their time, expertise, and funds, and consequently for helping to make possible the success initially of the Alice Munro Symposium in spring 2014 and subsequently of the...

Introductory

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Alice Munro’s Miraculous Art

Janice Fiamengo and Gerald Lynch

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pp. 3-14

Canadians and lovers of the short story were delighted, if perhaps surprised, when the Nobel committee awarded the literature prize to Alice Munro in October 2013, praising her cultivation of the story form “almost to perfection” (“Canadian” n.p.). At last, a Canadian had...

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“This is Not a Story, Only Life”: Wondering with Alice Munro

Robert Thacker

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pp. 15-40

“Walker Brothers Cowboy” (1968) was probably many readers’ first Alice Munro story. It was one of three she produced during 1967–68 at the behest of her editor at the Ryerson Press, Audrey Coffin, to round out Dance of the Happy Shades (1968). It is the first story in that...

I — Forms

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Living in the Story: Fictional Reality in the Stories of Alice Munro

Charles E. May

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pp. 43-62

Throughout her distinguished career, Alice Munro has frequently been asked by reviewers and interviewers, “Why do you write short stories?” behind which, of course, always lurked the reproach, “Why don’t you write novels?” Although she is no longer nagged about her...

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From Munro’s Lives to Shields’s “Scenes”: A Canadian Female Bildungsroman that “fit[s] into the hollow of her hand”

Laurie Kruk

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pp. 63-78

In 2013 Alice Munro made history as the first Canadian Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature, the thirteenth such woman, and one of the few recognized for work in the short story. I would like to propose a textual dialogue between two Canadian authors, Munro and Carol Shields, who...

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“The stuff they put in the old readers”: Remembered and Recited Poetry in the Stories of Alice Munro

Sara Jamieson

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pp. 79-96

While Alice Munro is chiefly associated with the short story, several readers have drawn attention to how her work has consistently incorporated quotations of poetry, from “scandalous doggerel” to “best-loved verses” (Clark 50). Lorraine York, for example, has shown...

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Carried Away by Letters: Alice Munro and the Epistolary Mode

Maria Löschnigg

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pp. 97-114

“She went on expecting a letter every day and nothing came. Nothing came” (Open Secrets 18). Louisa in “Carried Away” is one of the many characters in Alice Munro’s stories who expect, receive, and produce letters. The practically minded Johanna in “Hateship...

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Bridging the Gaps through Story Cycle: The View from Castle Rock

Tina Trigg

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pp. 115-134

In the current climate of re-discovering memoir and autobiography, Alice Munro’s The View from Castle Rock (2006) seems an obvious text to support the resurgence of interest. In the foreword, Munro herself nods to the memoir-like quality of these stories, offering an account...

II — Themes

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The Short Stories of Alice Laidlaw, 1950–51

D. M. R. Bentley

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pp. 137-158

In the fall of 1950, Alice Laidlaw, who had entered the University of Western Ontario a year earlier intending to take a degree in journalism, changed her major to English. Primarily because of her impending marriage to James Munro and the conclusion of her two-year scholarship...

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Momentous Shifts and Unimagined Changes in “Jakarta”

Tracy Ware

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pp. 159-176

According to Jonathan Franzen, “What makes Munro’s growth as an artist so crisply and breathtakingly visible . . . is precisely the familiarity of her materials. Look what she can do with nothing but her own small story; the more she returns to it, the more she finds” (“Alice’s”)...

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“First and Last”: The Figure of the Infant in “Dear Life” and “My Mother’s Dream”

Ailsa Cox

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pp. 177-190

We have all experienced infancy, but very few of us would claim any recollection of that early state and the first dawning of consciousness. Psychoanalytical theory regards infancy as the nexus of instinctual drives, which are necessarily repressed with the emergence of the psyche...

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Invasion Narratives: Alice Munro’s “Free Radicals” and Joyce Carol Oates’s “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

Carol L. Beran

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pp. 191-206

The solitude of a woman home alone is invaded by a threatening male. This story goes back to preliterate times and continues into the present in urban legends.1 Forty-two years after Joyce Carol Oates published a version of this story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have...

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Religion in Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women and Who Do You Think You Are?

Josephene Kealey

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pp. 207-218

In Who Do You Think You Are?, “Wild Swans” stands out for its religious component. In this story (the fourth of ten), alone on a train to Toronto, Rose has a sexual encounter involving a man dressed as a clergyman. Except for this instance, and in the retrospective final story, religion is not a strong feature of Alice Munro’s story collection...

III — Effects

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“Something”: The “Dark Sides” of Alice Munro’s Story-Telling in Its American Context

David R. Jarraway

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pp. 221-234

In “A Conversation with Alice Munro,” which took place around the time that The Love of a Good Woman was published, in 1998, the editors at Knopf Doubleday posed the inevitable interview question: “What writers have most influenced you and who do you like to...

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Desire and Deferral: “Royal Beatings”

Ian Dennis

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pp. 235-254

It has frequently been observed that Alice Munro’s stories resist closure. Adrian Hunter identifies a story’s “refusal” to “take possession of its subject” (“Taking Possession” 127);1 John Gerlach, a “teas[ing] . . . rhythm of delay” (155). Numerous voices have invoked...

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“Don’t Take Her Word For It”: Autobiographical Approximation and Shame in Munro’s The View from Castle Rock

Linda M. Morra

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pp. 255-270

A cursory glance at both the academic scholarship on and popular appraisals of Alice Munro’s literary corpus would quickly register the critical fascination with the proximity between the facts of her life and her literary representation of those facts, a fascination that Robert...

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Once Upon a Time: Temporality in the Narration of Alice Munro

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pp. 271-286

Among the few reviewers who have had the temerity to argue against the validity of Alice Munro’s stature in the world of contemporary English literature, Christian Lorentzen, a senior editor of the London Review of Books, stands out not only because of his own stature but also...

L’Envoi

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On Sitting Down to Read “Lichen” Once Again

Magdalene Redekop

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pp. 289-306

Once upon a time I went out on a limb and called Munro’s compassion Shakespearean (Mothers 233). More than two decades later, Shakespeare was on my mind again when I came up with a title that echoes a sonnet by John Keats: “On Sitting Down to Read ‘King...

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Contributors

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pp. 307-311

D. M. R. BENTLEY is Distinguished University Professor and the Carl F. Klinck Professor in Canadian Literature at Western University. He received his PhD in English from King’s College, University of London, in 1974, and specializes in Canadian and Victorian literatures...