Dance of the Sexes: Art and Gender in the Fiction of Alice Munro

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University of Alberta, 1990 - Fiction - 223 pages
"The sexual revolution and its unsettling redefinitions have led to a new sensitivity to the impact of gender on the artistic imagination. In particular, women writers have entered an exciting new era in which their gender-related fictional strategies are being uncovered and understood. Dance of the Sexes investigates the ways in which the fiction of Canadian author Alice Munro is shaped by her sex."--Page 4 of cover.

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Page 36 - Man's love is of man's life a thing apart, 'Tis woman's whole existence ; man may range The court, camp, church, the vessel, and the mart ; Sword, gown, gain, glory, offer in exchange Pride, fame, ambition, to fill up his heart, And few there are whom these cannot estrange ; Men have all these resources, we but one, To love again, and be again undone.
Page 122 - It is by the nature of itself that fiction is all bound up in the local. The internal reason for that is surely that feelings are bound up in place. The human mind is a mass of associations — associations more poetic even than actual. I say, "The Yorkshire Moors...
Page 107 - Like the children in fairy stories who have seen their parents make pacts with terrifying strangers, who have discovered that our fears are based on nothing but the truth, but who come back fresh from marvellous escapes and take up their knives and forks, with humility and good manners, prepared to live happily ever after — like them, dazed and powerful with secrets, I never said a word.
Page 68 - ... character. He is like a bad actor, who turns a part grotesque. As if he must savor and insist on just what is shameful and terrible about this. That is not to say he is pretending, that he is acting, and does not mean it. He is acting, and he means it. Rose knows that, she knows everything about him. She has since wondered about murders, and murderers. Does the thing have to be carried through, in the end, partly for the effect, to prove to the audience of one — who won't be able to report,...
Page 185 - Victim and accomplice she was borne past Glassco's Jams and Marmalades, past the big pulsating pipes of oil refineries. They glided into suburbs where bedsheets, and towels used to wipe up intimate stains, flapped leeringly on the clotheslines, where even the children seemed to be frolicking lewdly in the school-yards, and the very truckdrivers stopped at the railway crossings must be thrusting their thumbs gleefully into curled hands. Such cunning antics now, such popular visions. The gates and...
Page 119 - Thus, when a woman comes to write a novel, she will find that she is perpetually wishing to alter the established values — to make serious what appears insignificant to a man, and trivial what is to him important.
Page 98 - ... young girls awash in adoration, hoping to lock eyes with one of the men on the platform. Girls, and women too, fall in love with such men, they imagine there is power in them. The wives of the men on the platform are not in that audience. They are buying groceries or cleaning up messes or having a drink. Their lives are concerned with food and mess and houses and cars and money. They have to remember to get the snow tires on and go to the bank and take back the beer bottles, because their husbands...
Page xvi - I see it, our task is to initiate nothing less than a playful pluralism, responsive to the possibilities of multiple critical schools and methods, but captive of none, recognizing that the many tools needed for our analysis will necessarily be largely inherited and only partly of our own making.
Page 119 - ... will find that she is perpetually wishing to alter the established values - to make serious what appears insignificant to a man, and trivial what is to him important. And for that, of course, she will be criticized ; for the critic of the opposite sex will be genuinely puzzled and surprised by an attempt to alter the current scale of values, and will see in it not merely a difference of view, but a view that is weak, or trivial, or sentimental, because it differs from his own.
Page 38 - ... why adolescence is for a woman so difficult and decisive a moment. Up to this time she has been an autonomous individual: now she must renounce her sovereignty. Not only is she torn, like her brothers, though more painfully, between the past and the future, but in addition a conflict breaks out between her original claim to be subject, active, free, and, on the other hand, her erotic urges and the social pressure to accept herself as passive object.

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About the author (1990)

Beverly Rasporich has written many articles on Canadian arts and culture, Native art and literature, Canadian humour, ethnicity, and multiculturalism. Currently, she teaches in the Department of Canadian Studies in the Faculty of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary.

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