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The Stone Angel
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Stone Angel > May 2018- Bio and Background Information

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message 1: by Charlene (new)

Charlene Morris | 1278 comments Mod
Place for background and author discussion

message 2: by Charlene (new)

Charlene Morris | 1278 comments Mod
From May nomination thread:

The Stone Angel - Background

Margaret Laurence was born in 1926 in the town of Neepawa, Manitoba. By the age of six, both of her parents had died. She went to live with her grandfather, who is described as “strict.” As an adult, she spent several years living in Africa and England, finally settling in Lakefiled Ontario in 1974. At the age of 60, after months of coping with advanced lung cancer, Laurence committed suicide.

Here is a link to a video interview of Laurence: http://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/marg...

The Stone Angel, first published in 1964, is the best known of 5 books that Laurence set in the fictional town of Manawaka, and is frequently listed as one of the greatest Canadian novels ever written. The others were A Jest of God, The Fire-Dwellers, A Bird in the House, and The Diviners. Each of The Stone Angel, The Diviners and A Bird in the House are narrated by a strong woman growing up in Manawaka and struggling with physical and emotional isolation. Using a dual timeline The Stone Angel tells the story of Hagar Shipley who, in the present-day narrative, is 90.

There’s also a 2007 movie based on The Stone Angel, starring Ellen Burstyn and Ellen Page.


message 3: by Charlene (last edited Apr 26, 2018 04:22PM) (new)

Charlene Morris | 1278 comments Mod
From Carol in the May nomination thread

The Stone Angel - Introductory

I found this excerpt from the beginning of a review and thought it was quietly thought-provoking. It sets the stage for our reading without any spoilers:

The Stone Angel is a disturbing book. Disturbing enough, in fact, that it's been making readers feel uneasy since it was first published nearly three and a half decades ago. Since the book is required reading in many North American school systems and colleges, a lot of young people are disturbed by The Stone Angel every year. And quite often they don't know why.

There's a funny popular notion in our culture -- an unwritten one -- that says that the things we enjoy must either be pleasant or noticeably horrific. Movies must make us smile or cringe. Art must either make us feel good or frighten us. Music must either soothe or make us dance. Photographs must be pretty. The Stone Angeldoesn't fit with these expectations. It is not a warm book and the smiles that come are forced and perhaps expectant. But neither is it frightening in a very obvious way. There is no gore and certainly no ski masks. What we see is the life of a woman spread over 91-odd years. We see her looking over her shoulder at the end of her life and -- in retrospect -- seeing that she is "less certain of it now than I was then."


message 4: by Cam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cam | 116 comments Thank you for posting this information! Very thought provoking excerpts and the interview provides some good background - I'm very intrigued....

Carol (carolfromnc) | 709 comments you're welcome, Cam. It's so interesting to me that the various websites on Laurence declare that she's read far and wide across North America. I'd like to take a poll in Mexico and see what percentage of the population has heard of her, let alone read one of her novels. Only slightly higher, I suspect, would be the American poll results. My library system owns not a single copy of any Laurence work and I think I disclosed on a different thread, notwithstanding my English major and selection of women's lit and foreign lit classes, I first heard of her in this group a year ago. (Not that I'm typical, or that my knowledge constitutes data.)

I'm looking forward to solving my Laurence ignorance this month.

Carol (carolfromnc) | 709 comments If you've read other Laurence novels, which is your favorite and why?

message 7: by Mizzou (last edited Sep 21, 2020 03:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mizzou | 177 comments I was introduced to Lawrence in 1987, when The Diviners was one of the titles on the syllabus for the first World Literature course to be offered in the English Dept. at Wright State University in Ohio. The university ran on the three-terms-to-the-academic year, and in the 12-week term, we were to read nine books the professor had chosen from among non-U.S. or British authors who wrote in English.
That meant we read (East) Indians, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians. and West Indians. Carol, I'm confident you could guess who some of those authors were. We were required to write 500 word papers on several (not all) of the books. He also expected all of us to contribute to the discussions when we sat, in a circle around the classroom.
Before that class, the only English lit classes I had ever had were American Novel and Romantic Period:Poetry, at the University of Missouri. Those were the ones that fit into the 'holes' in my rigorously full schedule in the Journalism School!
After the first term of World Lit, the syllabus was composed of books by authors whose works had to be translated into English for Anglophonic readers. More revelations to me! Naguib Mahfouz! N'gugi Thiongo! Guiseppe Lampedusa! etc. etc. etc. After my graduation in December 1988, at age 60, with a B.A, in Spanish and a T.E.S.O.L. certificate, I became a more "worldly" reader . . . .

message 8: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (new)

Anastasia Kinderman | 670 comments Mod
Mizzou wrote: "I was introduced to Lawrence in 1987, when The Diviners was one of the titles on the syllabus for the first World Literature course to be offered in the English Dept. at Wright State University in ..."

That is so interesting and sounds like a great way to expose students to literature outside what is thought of as "traditional".

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