Carol Shields and the Writer-Critic

Carol Shields and the Writer-Critic

by Brenda Beckman-Long

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Carol Shields and the Writer-Critic by Brenda Beckman-Long

Throughout her literary and critical career, Canadian writer Carol Shields (1935–2003) resisted simple categorization. Her novels are elegant puzzles that confront the reader with the ambiguity of meaning and narrative, yet their position within Shields’ critical feminist project has, until now, been obscured.

In Carol Shields and the Writer-Critic, Brenda Beckman-Long illuminates that project through the study of Shields’ extensive oeuvre, including her fiction and criticism. Beckman-Long brings depth to her analysis through close readings of six novels, including the award-winning The Stone Diaries. Elliptical, open-ended, and concerned with women writing about women, these novels reveal Shields’ critique of dominant masculine discourses and her deep engagement with the long tradition of women’s life writing. Beckman-Long’s original archival research attests to Shields’ preoccupation with the changing efforts of waves of feminist activism and writing.

A much needed reappraisal of Shields’s innovative work, Carol Shields and the Writer-Critic contributes to the scholarship on life writing and autobiography, literary criticism, and feminist and critical theory.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442663459
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 01/27/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Brenda Beckman-Long is an assistant professor of English at Briercrest College and Seminary, which is affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Shields as Writer-Critic: The Politics of Self-Representation and Autobiography

Chapter One: The Problem of the Genre: The Autobiographical Pact in Small Ceremonies and The Box Garden

Chapter Two: The Problem of the Author: Absence and the Epitaph of Victim in Swann

Chapter Three: The Problem of the Body: Romance as Metaphysical Ruin in The Republic of Love

Chapter Four: The Problem of the Subject: The Stone Diaries as Apocryphal Journal

Chapter Five: The Problem of the Subject of Feminism: Unless as Meta-Autobiography

Chapter Six: Conclusion

What People are Saying About This

Neil Besner

“No-one has argued as coherently and persuasively for a reading of all of Shields’s fiction that traces her development as a writer-critic from its beginning.”

Aritha van Herk

Carol Shields and the Writer-Critic is a valuable study of Shields’ complex relationship with autobiography, biography, and authorship. Beckman-Long’s interpretations are original, interesting, and persuasive. They open a new door to this writer’s novels.”

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