Articles

“As Truthful as Our Notion of the Past Can Ever Be”: William Maxwell, His Ancestors, and Alice Munro’s The View from Castle Rock

Author
  • Robert Thacker (St. Lawrence University)

Abstract

Beginning in the mid-1980s, Alice Munro drew attention in interviews to her rapt admiration for the work of William Maxwell, a writer she has called “my favorite writer in the world.” The two were not close, although they met a few times through their shared association with the New Yorker. In 1988 Munro published an appreciation of Maxwell’s work and, after his death in 2000, agreed to revise it for a tribute volume published in 2004. During those years too, Munro was at work on a family volume she had long contemplated, The View from Castle Rock (2006), one that was inspired in part by and modelled on Maxwell’s Ancestors: A Family History (1971). This article examines the Maxwell-Munro crux as an example of the dynamics of authorship; it is an important example of two compatible writers who, throughout their careers, created narrative rooted in the very stuff of their own experience in place and time—whether seen as fiction, autobiography, or memoir. Each did so in ways that accentuate, for the critic intent on analysing authorship, the play of the past in shaping of any narrative.

How to Cite:

Thacker, R., (2021) ““As Truthful as Our Notion of the Past Can Ever Be”: William Maxwell, His Ancestors, and Alice Munro’s The View from Castle Rock”, Authorship 10(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/aj.v10i1.20635

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Published on
30 Jun 2021
Peer Reviewed