Throughout her literary and critical career, Canadian writer Carol Shields (1935-2003) resisted simple categorization. Her vels are elegant puzzles that confront the reader with the ambiguity of meaning and narrative, yet their position within Shields' critical feminist project has, until w, 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 vels, including the award-winning The Stone Diaries. Elliptical, open-ended, and concerned with women writing about women, these vels 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 invative work, Carol Shields and the Writer-Critic contributes to the scholarship on life writing and autobiography, literary criticism, and feminist and critical theory.
Brenda Beckman-Long is an assistant professor of English at Briercrest College and Seminary, which is affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan.