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Clytie’s Legs

Daniel Aaron, 2 May 1985

The Optimist’s Daughter 
by Eudora Welty, introduced by Helen McNeil.
Virago, 180 pp., £3.50, October 1984, 0 86068 375 3
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One Writer’s Beginnings 
by Eudora Welty.
Harvard, 136 pp., £8.80, April 1984, 0 674 63925 1
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The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty 
Penguin, 622 pp., £4.95, November 1983, 0 14 006381 1Show More
Conversations with Eudora Welty 
edited by Peggy Whitman Prenshaw.
Mississippi, 356 pp., £9.50, October 1984, 0 87805 206 2
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... Eudora Welty’s fictional territory stretches as far as the Northern States of her native America, and to Europe too, but its heartland is Jackson, Mississippi and its environs, a country more accessible and neighbourly than Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha. The dust and heat are the same, the people comparably rooted and earthy ...


Lorna Scott Fox, 22 September 1994

The Still Moment 
by Paul Binding.
Virago, 290 pp., £20, May 1994, 1 85381 441 5
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... Mississippi, in 1909, the daughter of two ‘outsider’ parents, an Ohian and a Virginian, Eudora Welty has made a life’s work of belonging. She wandered only briefly, to the University of Wisconsin and then to Columbia, NY, an episode which left no trace in her writing. Soon she was back with her mother in Jackson, where she lives to this ...


James Wood, 8 December 1994

Shadow Dance 
by Angela Carter.
Virago, 182 pp., £9.99, September 1994, 1 85381 840 2
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Flesh and the Mirror: Essays on the Art of Angela Carter 
edited by Lorna Sage.
Virago, 358 pp., £8.99, September 1994, 1 85381 760 0
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... fabric of her fiction becomes its subject: the form is both fluid and duct. In one of her essays, Eudora Welty has written wittily about symbol in fiction: ‘One way of looking at Moby Dick is that his task as a symbol was so big and strenuous that he had to be a whale.’ Thus Welty aerates form, for she seems to see ...

Lincoln, Illinois

William Fiennes, 6 March 1997

All the Days and Nights: The Collected Stories 
by William Maxwell.
Harvill, 415 pp., £10.99, January 1997, 1 86046 308 8
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So Long, See You Tomorrow 
by William Maxwell.
Harvill, 135 pp., £8.99, January 1997, 9781860463075
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... Award. For forty years, as a fiction editor on the New Yorker, he advised and goaded Nabokov, Eudora Welty, John Cheever and John Updike. Now, at nearly ninety, Maxwell’s face has a prairie gauntness, as if hollowed out by exposure to those bracing talents. But in Britain his name is almost unknown. He was born in 1908 in Lincoln, Illinois, the ...

Auld Lang Syne

Graham Hough, 1 December 1983

Sebastian or Ruling Passions 
by Lawrence Durrell.
Faber, 202 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 571 13445 9
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Woman Beware Woman 
by Emma Tennant.
Cape, 176 pp., £7.95, November 1983, 0 224 02164 8
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Queen of Stones 
by Emma Tennant.
Picador, 159 pp., £2.50, September 1983, 0 330 28074 0
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Blue Rise 
by Rebecca Hill.
Joseph, 296 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 7181 2372 7
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Here to get my baby out of jail 
by Louise Shivers.
Collins, 141 pp., £6.95, October 1983
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... with mystery that she enjoys it a little too much. Rebecca Hill is compared on her dust-jacket to Eudora Welty, and Louise Shivers’s novel comes with an endorsement from Eudora Welty herself. So we are headed for the rural South, a region that has always been richly rewarding to American writers. Blue Rise is ...

My Friend Sam

Jane Miller, 16 August 1990

The rock cried out 
by Ellen Douglas.
Virago, 303 pp., £5.99, June 1990, 1 85381 140 8
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Can’t quit you, baby 
by Ellen Douglas.
Virago, 256 pp., £12.95, June 1990, 1 85381 149 1
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... of Flannery O’Connor and as a Mississippian who might be compared with the rather older Eudora Welty, her writing expresses a proper wariness of that tradition’s tripwires as well as a preoccupation with its most haunting themes. For there is always the temptation for white people, white writers, to portray black people as neighbours who are ...

Capital W, Capital W

Michael Wood: Women writers, 19 August 1999

Women Writers at Work 
edited by George Plimpton.
Harvill, 381 pp., £9.99, February 1999, 1 86046 586 2
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Just as I Thought 
by Grace Paley.
Virago, 332 pp., £8.99, August 1999, 1 86049 696 2
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... W. Virginia Woolf certainly was one, and Katherine Mansfield was one.’ McCarthy doesn’t think Eudora Welty is one, but then changes her mind: Welty has ‘become one lately’ (the date of this interview is 1961). Elisabeth Sifton, interviewing, asks McCarthy what happens to turn a woman writer into a Woman ...

Pound & Co.

August Kleinzahler: Davenport and Kenner, 26 September 2019

Questioning Minds: Vols I-II: The Letters of Guy Davenport and Hugh Kenner 
edited by Edward Burns.
Counterpoint, 1817 pp., $95, October 2018, 978 1 61902 181 5
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... of visits to celebrated figures like Williams, Pound, Marianne Moore, Eliot, Stan Brakhage, Eudora Welty, grousing about teaching, scutwork (a term I learned from Davenport ), recalcitrant colleagues or dim reviewers. Modernism is resistant to the personal. It can seem a rather chilly realm, off-putting to writers like Larkin, with his woeful ...

Thwarted Closeness

Adam Phillips: Diane Arbus, 26 January 2006

... to suggest that her photographs at once record this impossibility and try to break it down. Eudora Welty remarked that Arbus’s work ‘totally violates human privacy, and by intention’, as though Arbus couldn’t bear, or more interestingly didn’t trust, the privacy of others. As though privacy was some kind of mystification; as though the ...

Southern Virtues

Frank Kermode, 4 May 1989

A Turn in the South 
by V.S. Naipaul.
Viking, 307 pp., £14.95, April 1989, 0 670 82415 1
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Allen Tate: A Recollection 
by Walter Sullivan.
Louisiana State, 117 pp., $16.95, November 1988, 0 8071 1481 2
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by John Updike.
Deutsch, 245 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 233 98390 2
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... I never imagined existing in the United States’. Although he also met no less an author than Eudora Welty, the artist to whom Naipaul devotes his most intimate study is Bob McDill, a writer of songs, a poet taken seriously though working in a popular medium, highly commercialised yet inseparable from that culture – to which the South hangs on ...

Lucky Brrm

John Sutherland, 12 March 1992

Brrm! Brrm! 
by Clive James.
Cape, 160 pp., £12.99, November 1991, 0 224 03226 7
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Saint Maybe 
by Anne Tyler.
Chatto, 337 pp., £14.99, October 1991, 0 7011 3787 8
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by Emma Tennant.
Faber, 140 pp., £12.99, March 1992, 9780571142637
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... The Accidental Tourist, was made into an Oscar-nominated film in 1988. Flattering comparisons with Eudora Welty are now routine. On the face of it, Tyler’s subject in Saint Maybe – what is a good life? – is as unprepossessing for a novelist as her favourite Maryland setting. Novels about inconspicuously good men – Dr Primrose, the Rev. Robert ...


Lorna Sage: Henry Green, 25 January 2001

Romancing: The Life and Work of Henry Green 
by Jeremy Treglown.
Faber, 340 pp., £25, September 2000, 0 571 16898 1
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... much of an outsider as Dahl. His literary friends and fans, too, were un-English – the Americans Eudora Welty and Terry Southern (author of The Magic Christian and the famously dirty book Candy); or the French New Novelist Nathalie Sarraute, who singled out Green and Ivy Compton-Burnett as (after the demise of Woolf) the most original and distinctive ...

You are the we of me

Joyce Carol Oates: The Autobiography of Carson McCullers, 2 September 1999

Illumination and Night Glare: The Unfinished Autobiography of Carson McCullers 
edited by Carlos Dews.
Wisconsin, 256 pp., £19.95, September 1999, 0 299 16440 3
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... a wholly realistic work, beautifully composed and nuanced; as original and haunting as any work by Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter or Virginia Woolf. According to her biographer, Virginia Spencer Carr, McCullers wrote seven drafts of The Member of the Wedding, yet there is nothing artificial or over-polished about its fluid, poetic style or its ...

Bush’s Useful Idiots

Tony Judt: Whatever happened to American liberalism?, 21 September 2006

... among them Daniel Bell, J.K. Galbraith, Felix Rohatyn, Arthur Schlesinger Jr, Irving Howe and Eudora Welty. These and other signatories – the economist Kenneth Arrow, the poet Robert Penn Warren – were the critical intellectual core, the steady moral centre of American public life. But who, now, would sign such a protest? Liberalism in the United ...


Hermione Lee: Katherine Anne Porter, 12 February 2009

Collected Stories and Other Writings 
by Katherine Anne Porter, edited by Darlene Harbour Unrue.
Library of America, 1039 pp., $40, October 2008, 978 1 59853 029 2
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... want to escape it. Porter was not a great admirer of Faulkner, but she was very sympathetic to Eudora Welty and Flannery O’Connor. Like them she paid close attention to children’s and women’s lives, to the private worlds of vulnerable figures in a strongly familial, traditional, religious and intrusive society. It would be possible to pigeonhole ...

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