Thacker, Robert 1951–

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Thacker, Robert 1951–

PERSONAL:

Born 1951. Education: Bowling Green State University, B.A.; University of Waterloo, M.A.; University of Manitoba, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

Office—St. Lawrence University, Canadian Studies Program, 688 Judson St. Rd., Canton, NY 13617. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY, professor of Canadian studies and English, 1983—, Molson Research Fellow, 2003, associate dean of academic advising.

WRITINGS:

The Great Prairie Fact and Literary Imagination, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1989.

English-Canadian Literature, Michigan State University Press (East Lansing, MI), 1996.

(Editor, with Michael A. Peterman) Willa Cather's Canadian and Old World Connections, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1999.

(Editor) The Rest of the Story: Critical Essays on Alice Munro, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1999.

(Editor, with C.L. Higham) One West, Two Myths: A Comparative Reader, University of Calgary Press (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2004.

Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives: A Biography, M & S (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2005.

(Editor, with C.L. Higham) One West, Two Myths II: Essays on Comparison, University of Calgary Press (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2006.

Former editor, American Review of Canadian Studies.

SIDELIGHTS:

Robert Thacker is a scholar of Canadian literature and noted authority on the works of author Alice Munro. He first discovered Munro's writings in 1973, when he read her story ‘Material.’ It convinced him to pursue an academic career focusing on Canadian literature. He wrote his master's thesis on Munro, and as a doctoral student began writing criticism of her works. Later, in 1999, he edited The Rest of the Story: Critical Essays on Alice Munro, and in 2005 he released Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives: A Biography, the result of thirty years of research. The book is a comprehensive exploration of the author's life, assembled with the help of Munro herself. Thacker even explores Munro's parents' and ancestors' lives before delving into her impoverished childhood, failed marriage, her life as a mother of three daughters, her new relationship with Gerry Fremlin, and, of course, her literary successes.

In addition, Thacker has drawn attention for his publications as an editor, such as One West, Two Myths: A Comparative Reader and One West, Two Myths II: Essays on Comparison, both collaborations with C.L. Higham. Reviewing the former for the American Review and Canadian Studies, critic Michael Childers explained that it ‘is not meant to be a comprehensive analysis of comparative United States and Canadian history. Rather it is to be ‘an appetizer’’ that ‘provides a framework for future scholars in comparing the American and Canadian West in new and interesting ways.’ One theme that runs through many of the essays collected here is that it is a mistake to consider the frontier history of North America separately, dividing it into Canadian and U.S. history; contributors to the book also explore such topics as the effects of artificial political borders on the lives and cultures of Native Americans. Childers concluded that One West, Two Myths ‘provides an excellent start in broadening the histories of both … Canada and the United States. One hopes to see a widening of comparative topics such as tourism, urban development, and law enforcement not covered in the book, as well as the inclusion of more Native tribes as mentioned before. As the editors and authors of the reader show, the potential for comparative work is wide open. As Higham suggests in concluding the introduction, One West, Two Myths raises many questions. These are not completely answered in the book, but left for future scholars to answer, and build upon."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, December, 2005, Doug Owram, review of One West, Two Myths: A Comparative Reader, p. 1516.

American Literature, June, 1990, James H. Maguire, review of The Great Prairie Fact and Literary Imagination, p. 323.

American Review of Canadian Studies, winter, 1990, review of The Great Prairie Fact and Literary Imagination, p. 520; winter, 2005, Michael Childers, review of One West, Two Myths, p. 739.

American Studies, fall, 1990, Diane D. Quantic, review of The Great Prairie Fact and Literary Imagination, p. 154.

Canadian Book Review Annual, January, 2004, John R. Abbott, review of One West, Two Myths, p. 294; January, 2006, Janet Arnett, review of Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives: A Biography, p. 81.

Canadian Historical Review, June, 2006, Andy Den Otter, review of One West, Two Myths, p. 337.

Canadian Literature, spring, 1991, Dick Harrison, review of The Great Prairie Fact and Literary Imagination, p. 171; winter, 2006, Heliane Ventura, ‘Biographing Alice Munro,’ p. 128.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, May, 2005, R.B. Way, review of One West, Two Myths, p. 1658.

Christian Century, October 25, 1989, review of The Great Prairie Fact and Literary Imagination, p. 966.

Essays on Canadian Writing, fall, 1993, Dennis Cooley, review of The Great Prairie Fact and Literary Imagination, p. 75.

Reference & Research Book News, November, 2004, review of One West, Two Myths, p. 57; May, 2007, review of One West, Two Myths II: Essays on Comparison.

Southwestern Historical Quarterly, April, 1991, William Kittredge, review of The Great Prairie Fact and Literary Imagination, p. 633.

Western Historical Quarterly, spring, 2006, Catherine Cavanaugh, review of One West, Two Myths, p. 88.

ONLINE

St. Lawrence University Web site,http://www.stlawu.edu/ (October 31, 2007), faculty profile of Robert Thacker.