Occasions: Selected Writings

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Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2009 - Literary Collections - 350 pages
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Occasions is a celebration of the short works of one of America's most beloved writers. To mark the centennial of Eudora Welty's birth, Pearl Amelia McHaney has collected more than sixty pieces by Welty (1909-2001) that are largely unknown and have not been reprinted since their first appearances in magazines, journals, newsletters, and newspapers.

The gathering includes one of Welty's earliest stories, "Acrobats in the Park"; a self-analysis of her art printed in the Twenty Photographs portfolio; a recipe for Aunt Beck's Chicken Pie served up in the novel Losing Battles; and a parody of Edmund Wilson's scurrilous New Yorker review of one of William Faulkner's late novels. These occasional essays, tributes, stories, and comments will delight readers and reveal more of the genius of a favorite author deeply engaged with her people and their customs.

In these pieces Welty put pen to paper for just causes: electing honorable officials, selling war bonds, promoting reading and the arts. Her sophistication and insight resonate in tributes to Isak Dinesen, Flannery O'Connor, and Walker Percy as well as in reviews of sculpture, painting, dance, and photography, and in her candid remarks about her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Optimist's Daughter. Her sly humor emerges in "Women!! Make Turban in Own Home!," a delightful parody of projects suggested in Popular Mechanics. Written between the 1930s and the 1990s, these fictions, essays, commemorations, reviews, and salutes reveal the sparkling imagination of a celebrated writer who continues her hold on a wide audience through these newfound pleasures.

 

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Occasions: Selected Writings

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Welty's signature trait of establishing a sense of place is displayed in this collection-compiled by McHaney, who has edited collections of Welty's book reviews (A Writer's Eye) and photographs ... Read full review

Contents

Acrobats in a Park 1935
3
Introduction to Acrobats in a Park 1980
14
Magic 1936
24
Retreat 1937
34
Song of the Times 1948
41
Women Make Turban in Own Home 1941
57
Letters to Charles Shattuck Regarding Ida MToy 1942
64
Literature and the Lens 1944
71
Nash K Burger Jr of Jackson Mississippi 1974
193
Foreword The Capers Papers by Charlotte Capers 1982
201
Tribute to Walker Percy 1991
208
Voice of the People Letter against Gerald L K Smith 1945
223
What Stevenson Started 1953
229
English from the Inside 1966
235
From Where I Live 1969
243
Letter to the Editor of the New York Times Book Review
250

Jose de Creeft 1944
89
John Rood 1958
103
The Fight between Governor Johnson Fred
127
Books for Hospitals Institutions and Prisons 1961
136
Aunt Becks Chicken Pie 1980
143
The Bride of the Innisfallen and Other Stories 1955
144
A Note about New Stage 1983
151
The Southern Writers Inheritance 1954
161
Ross Macdonald 1981
174
Prologue Inauguration of Governor Raymond Mabus 1988
257
A Sketching Trip 1945
263
Hello and GoodBye 1947
287
LOOKING BACK
299
One Time One Place 1971
308
Index
339
Photographs 1989
346
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Eudora Welty, April 13, 1909 - July 23, 2001 One of the most admired American writers, Eudora Welty has steadily gone on writing short stories and novels that are entirely original, sometimes melodramatic, occasionally fantastic, and often concerned with psychological aberration. She has a fine ear for dialogue and a sense of style that elevates her fiction above the ordinary. Born in Jackson, Mississippi, she attended the Mississippi State College for Women before going north to the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University. She worked for a while in advertising, then returned to Jackson to take a government publicity job. She has remained in Jackson since then, living quietly with her family and pursuing a literary career that has brought her several awards and much critical attention. Some of her better-known short stories, frequently anthologized and thus widely taught and studied in classrooms, are "Why I Live at the P.O.," "Death of a Traveling Salesman," "Petrified Man," and "A Worn Path." Although Welty's critical reputation remains largely dependent upon her excellent short stories, she has also written four full-length novels, which have been well received. Delta Wedding (1946) is a densely plotted novel with many characters told from multiple points of view. It explores with intelligence and subtlety problems of domestic relationships and the mixing of social classes. The Ponder Heart (1954), a more simply told story, centers on the murder trial of a man unjustly accused of killing his young wife. With Losing Battles (1970), Welty deals again with the complexities of a large family gathering. The Optimist's Daughter (1972) is the story of tangled relationships between a 71-year-old judge undergoing a critical eye operation in a New Orleans hospital, his daughter, a withdrawn widow summoned from Chicago, and the judge's second wife of "coarse breeding," younger than his daughter. Gradually, this subtle story of father-daughter and husband-wives begins to reverberate with further complications. Howard Moss called the book "a miracle of compression. . . . The best book Eudora Welty has ever written" (N.Y. Times). One Writer's Beginnings (1984), an engaging volume of reminiscences originally given as lectures at Harvard University, had the unusual distinction (for a serious work of literary nonfiction published by a university press) of climbing high on the bestseller lists during 1984. Her other nonfiction includes One Time, One Place: Mississippi in the Depression (1972), A Snapshot Album (1971), and The Eye of the Storm: Selected Essays and Reviews (1977). Welty will perhaps be best remembered for her highly eclectic and original voice, her brilliant style and revealing dialogue, her humane celebration of characters, and her visionary outlook and playful exuberance.

Pearl Amelia McHaney is associate professor of English at Georgia State University and editor of several books on Eudora Welty, including Eudora Welty: Contemporary Reviews, Eudora Welty: Writers' Reflections upon First Reading Welty, and A Writer's Eye: Collected Book Reviews by Eudora Welty.

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