A Writer's Eye: Collected Book Reviews

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Overview

Although she is eminent primarily as the prize-winning author of classic works of fiction, Eudora Welty is notable also as an astute literary critic. Her essays on the art of fiction and on the writers who enlarged the range of the short story and the novel are definitive pieces. Her distinguished book reviews, along with her critical essays, augment her reputation for being one of the most discerning author-critics in literary America. A Writer's Eye includes all of Welty's book reviews, even one published in the New York Times Book Review under the pseudonym "Michael Ravenna." Sixteen of the reviews were collected previously in Welty's The Eye of the Story (1978). In this collection Pearl Amelia McHaney's introduction records the history of Welty's career in book reviewing and illuminates the honesty and compassion with which Welty wrote reviews. Placed beside her authoritative critical essays, this volume enhances Welty's considerable literary stature and completes the image of Eudora Welty as a consummate woman of letters.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Between 1942 and 1984, Welty ( The Robber Bridegroom ; The Optimist's Daughter , among many other works) wrote 69 book reviews, 31 during the 1940s alone. Fifty-nine were published in The New York Times Book Review . They range in length from two to seven pages. All are well written and interesting--for example, her reviews of E.B. White's Charlotte's Web and Faulkner's Intruder in the Dust --but they are recommendations to readers, not literary analysis. Even the longer ones she wrote after 1957, which are more analytical, add little to our understanding of the books and authors reviewed or of Welty's fiction. One appendix gives bibliographic information for the 16 books whose reviews were collected in Welty's The Eye of the Story ( LJ 3/15/78); another gives similar information for all 74 books reviewed. Recommended for libraries with complete Welty collections.-- Judy Mimken, Saginaw Valley State Univ., Mich.
Booknews
Welty, a prize-winning author herself, wrote 67 reviews between 1942 and 1984, all of which are included here. The reviewed books include novels, short story collections, children's books, and art and photography books by authors such as Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, Colette, S.J. Perelman and Annie Dillard. Sixteen of the reviews were collected previously in Welty's The Eye of the Story 1978. Includes a history of Welty's career as a reviewer. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878056835
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 4/1/1994
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Eudora Welty
Eudora Welty
A true Daughter of the South, short story writer and novelist Eudora Welty remains one of our most beloved and distinguished writers of regional fiction.

Biography

Although she traveled extensively and lived in various places during her extraordinary literary career, short story writer and novelist Eudora Welty seemed always to return to Jackson, Mississippi, the beloved hometown where she spent most of her adult life and where she undoubtedly drew inspiration for her pitch-perfect regional fiction.

Born into a happy, close-knit family on April 13, 1909, Welty attended Mississippi State College, graduated from the University of Wisconsin, then moved to New York in 1930 to attend Columbia's business school for advertising. A year later, her father's death brought her home. She worked locally in radio, wrote articles for a newspaper, and served as a publicity agent for the WPA throughout rural areas of the state. (A gifted photographer, Welty shot a number of remarkable candids at this time which were later published in the 1978 collection One Time, One Place: Mississippi in the Depression.) A few of her stories appeared in small literary magazines in the late 1930s, but it was not until the following decade that her career took off. Her first short fiction collection, A Curtain of Green, and a debut novella, The Robber Bridegroom, were published respectively in 1941 and 1942.

Although Welty has penned some wonderful full-length novels (The Ponder Heart, Losing Battles, The Optimist's Daughter), it is her short stories -- peopled with peculiar, colorful eccentrics who maintain an undeniable charm in spite of their grotesquerie -- that have cemented her reputation as one of our finest regional writers. During her long literary career she accrued dozens of honors, including multiple O. Henry Awards, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Pulitzer Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, France's Legion of Honor, and dozens of honorary degrees. On July, 23, 2001, she died peacefully in her home in Jackson, Mississippi. She was 92 years old.

Good To Know

  • Welty worked for a year at The New York Times Book Review, where she wrote about war-related topics under the pseudonym "Michael Ravenna."

  • In 1964, Welty published her one and only story for children, The Shoe Bird.

  • Culled from a series of lectures she delivered at Harvard, Welty's memoir, One Writer's Beginnings, was published in 1984.

  • So legendary was Welty's "niceness" that her agent Timothy Seldes told a wonderful, apocryphal story at her funeral. Supposedly, as the author lay on her deathbed, her doctor leaned over and asked "Eudora, is there anything I can do for you?" Her rumored reply? "No, but thank you so much for inviting me to the party."
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      1. Date of Birth:
        April 13, 1909
      2. Place of Birth:
        Jackson, Mississippi
      1. Date of Death:
        July 23, 2001
      2. Place of Death:
        Jackson, Mississippi
      1. Education:
        University of Wisconsin

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