Reading in: Alice Munro’s Archives

Első borító
Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 2002. máj. 3. - 193 oldal

What can we learn about authorship through a reading of a writer’s archive?

Collections of authors’ manuscripts and correspondence have traditionally been used in ways that further illuminate the published text. JoAnn McCaig sets out to show how archival materials can also provide fascinating insights into the business of culture, reveal the individuals, institutions, and ideologies that shape the author and her work, and describe the negotiations that occur between an author and the cultural marketplace. Using a feminist cultural studies approach, JoAnn McCaig “reads in” to the archives of acclaimed Canadian short story writer Alice Munro in order to explore precisely how the terms “Canadian,” “woman,” “short story,” and “writer” are constructed in her writing career. Munro’s correspondence with mentor Robert Weaver, agent Virginia Barber, publishers Doug Gibson and Ann Close, and writer John Metcalf tell a fascinating story of how one very determined and gifted writer made her way through the pitfalls of the culture business to achieve the enviable authority she now claims.

McCaig’s discussion of her own difficulties with obtaining copyright permission for the book raises important questions about freedom of scholarly inquiry and about the unforeseen difficulties and limitations of archival research. Despite these difficulties, McCaig’s reading of the Munro archives succeeds in examining the business of culture, the construction of the aesthetic, and the impact of gender, genre, nationality, and class on authorship. While on one level telling the story of one author’s career — the progress of Alice Munro, so to speak — the book also illustrates how cultural studies analysis suggests ways of opening up the rich but underutilized literary resource of authorial archives to all researchers.


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Introduction Wrestling with a Fine Woman
Canadian Creating the Creator
Woman Useful Recognitions and Misrecognitions
Short Story Remaking Genre
Writer Implications of Authority
Conclusion What Is a Canadian Woman Short Story Author?
Works Cited

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4. oldal - ... his form. For him, on the contrary, the hand, cut off from any voice, borne by a pure gesture of inscription (and not of expression), traces a field without origin - or which, at least, has no other origin than language itself, language which ceaselessly calls into question all origins. We know now that a text is not a line of words releasing a single 'theological...
5. oldal - ... while others are deprived of it. A private letter may well have a signer - it does not have an author; a contract may well have a guarantor - it does not have an author. An anonymous text posted on a wall probably has a writer - but not an author. The author function is therefore characteristic of the mode of existence, circulation, and functioning of certain discourses within a society. Let us analyze this "author function" as we have just described it.

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A szerzőről (2002)

JoAnn McCaig has taught English at the University of Calgary for several years and is the recipient of a 2000/2002 SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship for further research on the literary archives of Canadian authors.

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