Alice Munro’s Dramatic Fictions: Challenging (Dis)Ability by Playing with Oedipus the King and Embracing the Queer Art of Failure

  • Marlene GoldmanEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Affect Theory and Literary Criticism book series (PSATLC)


This chapter connects Munro’s characters’ preoccupation with shame and performance to undertheorized considerations of the links between identity and disability. It develops the links between shame, identity, and disability by drawing on Jack Halberstam’s (2011) writings on “the queer art of failure” and by reading Munro’s Who Do You Think You Are? (1974) in the light of concerns raised in classical Greek theatre about the gulf between the Platonic idea of perfection and its many imperfect copies—concerns expressed with particular clarity in Sophocles’s Oedipus the King. By staging the subversion of the cycle of Oedipal violence, Munro’s texts offer insight into the revivifying, idiosyncratic, and embodied origins of creativity that always remain tethered to shame, failure, imperfection, and death.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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