Welty, Eudora

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Welty, Eudora

Eudora Welty, 1909–2001, American author, b. Jackson, Miss., grad. Univ. of Wisconsin, 1929. One of the important American regional writers of the 20th cent. and one of the finest short-story writers of any time or place, Welty usually wrote about the inhabitants of rural Mississippi. Her characters are comic, eccentric, often grotesque, but nonetheless charming; their reality is augmented by Welty's fierce wit and her skill at capturing their dialect and speech patterns. Among her collections of short stories are A Curtain of Green (1941), The Wide Net (1943), and The Bride of Innisfallen (1955). Her collected stories were published in 1980, the same year she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Welty's novels include Delta Wedding (1946), The Ponder Heart (1954; dramatized 1956), Losing Battles (1970), and The Optimist's Daughter (1972; Pulitzer Prize), about the contemporary loosening of home and family ties and its effect on grief, love, and the acknowledgment of loss. Her complete novels appeared in 1998. She also published a novella, The Robber Bridegroom (1942); a collection of her photographs of Mississippi in the 1930s, One Time: One Place (1972); and numerous essays and reviews.

See her autobiographical One Writer's Beginnings (1984); P. W. Prenshaw, ed., Conversations with Eudora Welty (1984); biographies by A. Waldron (1998) and S. Marrs (2005); studies by E. Evans (1981), A. J. Devlin (1983, 1987), R. M. Vande Kieft (1962, rev. ed. 1987), C. S. Manning (1985), W. C. Turner and L. E. Harding, ed. (1989), L. Westling (1989), P. Schmidt (1991), G. L. Mortimer (1994), C. A. Johnston (1997), M. Kreyling (1999), and S. Marrs (2002); P. A. McHenry, ed., Eudora Welty as Photographer (2009); bibliography by N. Polk (1994).

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