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Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Daring Life, A Biography of Eudora Welty by Carolyn J. Brown

A Daring Life
is an engaging biography of this famous short story and novel writer from the Deep South.  I must admit to not having read any of Welty's stories or novels but I will certainly be looking them up now!

Although the Pulitzer Prize-winning author lived a relatively quiet life, she also lived an interesting one which encompassed the civil rights era. She spent her time mainly writing and travelling - she met other writers on her travels.  Welty was also a talented photographer and held photography exhibitions in New York. Her paintings also look wonderful.  Amazingly, these were only discovered after she died.

The much-loved Southern author had a large circle of friends.  They enjoyed listening to jazz, playing literary games and discussing fascinating topics.  Welty went out with one of these friends for a long time - a handsome young man called John Robinson.  However, she never married.

The Eudora Welty House

The most interesting part of the book, I thought, described how Welty used her personal experiences in her work.  For example, she stayed on a farm and saw the crops covered with sheets, blankets and towels when she woke up. This was to protect the crops from the frost.  She never forgot this unusual sight, an indication of the great poverty in the South, and used it in one of her short stories.

Welty was a courageous supporter of the battle for civil rights.  One example of her courage was her story, "Where Is The Voice Coming From?", inspired by the assassination of the secretary of the Mississippi NAACP.  The publication of this story in The New Yorker could have affected her safety.  However, Welty was mostly concerned that any hostility might affect her ability to find caregivers for her sick mother.

Welty wrote that  she lived a 'sheltered life' but that 'a sheltered life can be a daring life as well.  For all serious daring starts from within'.  This book is an enjoyable biography of Eudora Welty's daring life.

1 comment:

KarenG said...

I need to read this one too!! I love Eudora Welty. Going to put it on my tbr list while it's still fresh in my mind!