Busy busy day–no time to blog until now, and not much time for that anyway, but: one of my favorite authors, Alice Munro, won the Nobel Prize in Literature today! (See also this nice notice in which she makes a feminist point about being only the thirteenth woman to win the prize, and also includes a link to a CBC story.)
Her work is especially relevant to women’s historians, I think, because so many of her stories span several decades and are frequently compressed little nuggets of twentieth-century North American women’s history. If you’ve never read Munro before, don’t start with her much-hyped (and sure-to-be-emblazoned-with-gold-foil-stickers) latest collection, Dear Life. Start with some of her earlier works like The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose (1978), a fascinating document about girlhood and young adulthood in an Anglo-Canadian provincial Ontario town and the relationship between two women of different generations.
Talk about a writer of domestic fiction who addresses universal themes like shame, lust, and all varieties of love and disappointment. There’s a lot of shame and lost innocence in Munro’s works, many of which focus on girls’ adolescence and young womanhood, and the choices and constraints that Canadian women faced in the years after World War II and before the full flower of the sexual revolution.
Alice Munro on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, “the troubles of Erie-land,” and the inspiration for her writing career: