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Welty, Eudora

Welty, Eudora

Welty, Eudora, 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).

(born April 13, 1909, Jackson, Miss., U.S.—died July 23, 2001, Jackson) U.S. short-story writer and novelist. Welty focused her work on a small town that resembled her birthplace and the Delta country. Her main subject is the intricacies of human relationships. She first gained attention for the story collection A Curtain of Green (1941), containing the widely admired “Petrified Man” and “Why I Live at the P.O.” Other stories appear in The Wide Net (1943), The Golden Apples (1949), and The Bride of the Innisfallen (1955). Her novels include Delta Wedding (1946), The Ponder Heart (1954), and The Optimist's Daughter (1972, Pulitzer Prize). Her works combine humour and psychological acuity with a sharp ear for regional speech patterns. She also published books of her photographs, including those she took while working for the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.

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