Alice Munro

Alice Munro, 1931–, Canadian writer, b. Wingham, Ont., as Alice Ann Laidlaw. Much acclaimed as one of the finest contemporary short-story writers, Munro is known for quiet, insightfully realistic, and irony-tinged works that deal with daily life, often move backward and forward in time, and are written in elegantly sharp yet unobtrusive prose. Her tales are mainly about the lives of girls and women, are often set in rural Ontario, and frequently concern the conflicts between independence and domesticity, creativity and obligation. Other recurring themes in her fiction include the interrelatedness of poverty and shame, the subtleties of class distinctions, the intricacies of women's sexuality, and the complex problems of the female artist. Collections of her many stories include Dance of the Happy Shades (1968), Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You (1974), The Beggar Maid (1979), The Moons of Jupiter (1982), The Progress of Love (1986), Friend of My Youth (1990), The Love of a Good Woman (1998), Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001), Runaway (2004), Carried Away (2006), and Too Much Happiness (2009). The stories in The View from Castle Rock (2006) mingle fiction, history, and memoir, tracing Munro's family from 17th-century Scotland to modern Canada. Her 14th collection, Dear Life (2012), contains a semiautobiographical section, the only writing Munro has said at least partially concerns her own life. She also has written one novel, Lives of Girls and Women (1971). She announced her retirement from writing in 2013. Munro was awarded the Man Booker International Prize in 2009 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013.

See S. Munro (her daughter), Lives of Mothers and Daughters: Growing Up with Alice Munro (2001); biographies by E. D. Blodgett (1988) and R. Thacker (2011); studies by L. K. MacKendrick, ed. (1983), H. Dahlie (1984), W. R. Martin (1987), I. de P. Carrington (1989), J. Carscallen (1993), A. Heble (1994), C. A. Howells (1998), R. Thacker, ed. (1999), J. McCaig (2002), H. Bloom (2009), I. Duncan (2011), and C. E. May (2012).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Alice Munro: Paradox and Parallel
W. R. Martin.
University of Alberta Press, 1987
Reading In: Alice Munro's Archives
Joann McCaig.
Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2002
"Don't Tell (on) Daddy": Narrative Complexity in Alice Munro's "The Love of a Good Woman"
Carrington, Ildiko de Papp.
Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. 34, No. 2, Spring 1997
Searching Bluebeard's Chambers: Grimm, Gothic, and Bible Mysteries in Alice Munro's the Love of Good Woman
McCombs, Judith.
American Review of Canadian Studies, Vol. 30, No. 3, Autumn 2000
Woman as Artist: Papers in Honour of Marsha Hanen
Christine Mason Sutherland; Beverly Jean Rasporich.
University of Calgary Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Locating the Artist's Muse: The Paradox of Femininity in Mary Pratt and Alice Munro"
The Comic Spirit in Alice Munro's Open Secrets: "A Real Life" and "The Jack Randa Hotel"
Martin, W. R.; Ober, Warren U.
Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. 35, No. 1, Winter 1998
Where Do You Think You Are? Alice Munro's Open Houses
McGill, Robert.
Mosaic (Winnipeg), Vol. 35, No. 4, December 2002
What's in a Title? Alice Munro's "Carried Away."
Carrington, Ildiko de Papp.
Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. 30, No. 4, Fall 1993
Constructing a Scots-Canadian Ground: Family History and Cultural Translation in Alice Munro
Gittings, Christopher E.
Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. 34, No. 1, Winter 1997
Postmodern "Piecing": Alice Munro's Contingent Ontologies
Nunes, Mark.
Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. 34, No. 1, Winter 1997
Thomas Hardy, Alice Munro, and the Question of Influence
Beran, Carol L.
American Review of Canadian Studies, Vol. 29, No. 2, Summer 1999
A Reader's Companion to the Short Story in English
Erin Fallon; R. C. Feddersen; James Kurtzleben; Maurice A. Lee; Susan Rochette-Crawley.
Greenwood Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Alice Munro (July 10, 1931-)" begins on p. 28
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