Uncollected early prose of Katherine Anne Porter

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University of Texas Press, 1993 - Fiction - 282 pages
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As critical and popular interest in Katherine Anne Porter's writing grows, readers naturally wish to see more of her work. This volume brings together twenty-nine pieces dating from before 1932, none of which appeared in her collected works and many of which are published here for the first time. Both fiction and essays are covered. The fiction includes the published stories "The Shattered Star," "The Faithful Princess," "The Magic Ear Ring," "The Adventures of Hadji," and the first version of "Hacienda," along with six previously unpublished stories drawn from Porter's papers. The essays include her monograph Outline of Mexican Popular Arts and Crafts, her first two essays on Mexican politics, her first two book reviews, and several literary sketches with Mexican themes. All these pieces belong to Porter's apprenticeship as a creative writer. Thus, they offer new insights into her artistic development and her relationship with Mexico, a place that, as she later said, "influenced everything I did afterward."

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Contents

THREE CHILDRENS STORIES
11
Blasco Ibanez on Mexico in Revolution 1920
28
The Funeral of General Benjam1n Hill 1920
43
Copyright

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About the author (1993)

Katherine Anne Porter is known for her subtle and delicate perception; her careful, disciplined technique; and her precision of word and phrase. She wrote slowly and with restraint but achieved an impression of ease and naturalness that is close to perfection. She was born in Texas, schooled in Louisiana convents, and, working as a newspaper reporter and freelance journalist, traveled to such places as Paris, Majorca, Berlin, Vienna, and Mexico. Her Collected Stories (1965), which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1966, was written over a long lifetime. It includes works that have been a standard part of high school and college literature courses for a half-century. Among the best are "Noon Wine," "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall," and "Flowering Judas." "Pale Horse, Pale Rider," long enough to be considered a novelette, is one of several stories about a character named Miranda who as a girl and young woman undergoes experiences not unlike those of Porter. Other Miranda stories are "Old Mortality" and a group of seven gathered under the title "The Old Order" that deal with her childhood. Her one and only full-length novel, Ship of Fools (1962), 20 years in the writing, "is the story of a voyage... . A novel of character rather than of action, it has as its main purpose a study of the German ethos shortly before Hitler's coming to power in Germany... ."Ship of Fools' is also a human comedy and a moral allegory" (New Yorker). To some critics, the book was a disappointment, but all recognized its importance and it appeared on the bestseller list for 28 weeks in 1962. "In my view," wrote Robert Penn Warren in a tribute published in Saturday Review after Porter's death in 1980, "the final importance of Katherine Anne Porter is not merely that she has written a number of fictions which have enlarged and deepened the nature of the story, both short and long, in our time, but that she has created an oeuvre---a body of work including fiction, essays, letters, and journals---that bears the stamp of a personality, distinctive, delicately perceptive, keenly aware of the depth and darkness of human experience, delighted by the beauty of the world and the triumphs of human kindness and warmth, and thoroughly committed to a quest for meaning in the midst of the ironic complexities of man's lot." Much of the nonfictional part of that body of work was gathered into The Collected Essays and Occasional Writings of Katherine Anne Porter.

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