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Bishop, Elizabeth

(US, 1911–79)

Bishop is best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry, but she did write some short stories, which are available in her Collected Prose (1984). Her stories are often rooted in some event in her own life; memories of a drunken uncle, or of a childhood friend who died. They are beautifully and precisely narrated, with a complete lack of sentimentality, and yet without bleakness. The most striking, ‘In the Village’, describes a young girl whose mentally unstable mother has come to stay with the girl and her grandparents. Methodically, the girl runs through her days, with their specific pleasures—walking the cow to pasture past the village shoe-shop, listening to the clang of the blacksmith's anvil, taking a parcel to post—as if these routines can shield her from the horror of her mother's scream, her mother's disorder.

Alice Munro, Katherine Mansfield  JR

Additional topics

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionBooks & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (A-Bo)