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Welty, Eudora - Stories, Essays, and Memoir

Eudora Welty

Stories, Essays, and Memoir

A Curtain of GreenThe Wide NetThe Golden Apples The Bride of Innisfallen • selected essays • One Writer's Beginnings

"She is one of the great storytellers of the world."
—Los Angeles Times
Overview  |  Note on the Texts  |  Reviews  |  Table of Contents

This volume presents 41 short stories by Eudora Welty, including the complete contents of her collections A Curtain of Green and Other Stories (1941), The Wide Net and Other Stories (1943), The Golden (1949), and The Bride of the Innisfallen and Other Stories 1955), as well as her later stories "Where Is the Voice Coming From?" (1963) and "The Demonstrators" (1966). It also contains a selection of nine essays that were first published between 1943 and 1980 and the memoir One Writer's Beginnings (1984).

Welty's practice was to revise her stories for collection soon after they were first published in periodicals, and early in her career she began to consider periodical publication as an interim step in the completion of her stories. She also took care with the arrangement of her story collections, which she thought of as works in their own right, and was closely involved in the first publications of them. All four collections were later included in The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty, published by Random House in 1980, with revisions made or authorized by Welty up to forty years after the first publications of her stories.

Welty's first collection of stories was accepted by Doubleday, Doran in January 1941 and published as A Curtain of Green and Other Stories that November. The book was also published in London in 1943, without Welty's participation, by John Lane: The Bodley Head, which made numerous editorial changes to accord with British conventions and house style, and in 1947 in New York by Welty's new publisher, Harcourt, Brace, which used the British edition as setting copy. Welty did not make any revisions and apparently did not read proofs for the Harcourt edition, which includes numerous corruptions, such as dropped paragraphs and the rendering of some dialect and colloquialisms as standard English. The Harcourt edition was later used for the Modern Library's Selected Stories of Eudora Welty (1954) and Random House's The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty (1980). Although Welty made some revisions for the Random House collection, she did not rectify the corruptions in it, most of which were retained. This volume prints the text of the first 1941 Doubleday, Doran printing. Following is a list of the original publications of the 17 stories in it: "Lily Daw and the Three Ladies," Prairie Schooner, Winter 1937; "A Piece of News," Southern Review, Summer 1937; "Petrified Man," Southern Review, Spring 1939; "The Key," Harper's Bazaar, August 1941; "Keela, the Outcast Indian Maiden," New Directions in Prose and Poetry, ed. James Laughlin (Norfolk, Connecticut: New Directions Press, 1940); "Why I Live at the P.O.," Atlantic Monthly, April 1941; "The Whistle," Prairie Schooner, Fall 1938; "The Hitch-Hikers," Southern Review, Autumn 1939; "A Memory," Southern Review, Autumn 1937; "Clytie," Southern Review, Summer 1941; "Old Mr. Marblehall," Southern Review, Spring 1938, titled "Old Mr. Grenada"; "Flowers for Marjorie," Prairie Schooner, Summer 1937; "A Curtain of Green," Southern Review, Autumn 1938; "A Visit of Charity," Decision, June 1941; "Death of a Traveling Salesman," Manuscript, May-June 1936; "Powerhouse," Atlantic Monthly, June 1941; "A Worn Path," Atlantic Monthly, February 1941.

Welty's second story collection, The Wide Net and Other Stories, was published by Harcourt, Brace on September 23, 1943. It was also published in London in 1945 by John Lane: The Bodley Head, with variants made in accordance with British and house-style conventions, and it was included in Modern Library's Selected Stories of Eudora Welty (1954) and, with some late revisions by Welty, in Random House's The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty (1980). This volume prints the text of the first 1943 Harcourt printing. Following is a list of the original publications of the eight stories in it: "First Love," Harper's Bazaar, February 1942; "The Wide Net," Harper's Magazine, May 1942; "A Still Moment," American Prefaces, Spring 1942; "Asphodel," Yale Review, September 1942; "The Winds," Harper's Bazaar, August 1942; "The Purple Hat," Harper's Bazaar, November 1941; "Livvie," Atlantic Monthly, November 1942, titled "Livvie Is Back"; "At the Landing," Tomorrow, April 1943.

Welty called the seven stories in her third collection, The Golden Apples, "inter-related, but not inter-dependent" and, while preparing the stories for collection by Harcourt, Brace, changed some of the original titles and included a list of "Main Families in Morgana, Mississippi." The collection was published by Harcourt on August 18, 1949, and, with no supervision by Welty, in London in 1950 by John Lane: The Bodley Head. It was also collected, with late revisions by Welty, in The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty (1980). This volume prints the text of the first 1949 Harcourt printing. Following is a list of the original publications of the stories in it: "Shower of Gold," Atlantic Monthly, May 1948; "June Recital," Harper's Bazaar, September 1947, titled "Golden Apples"; "Sir Rabbit," Hudson Review, Spring 1949; "Moon Lake," Sewanee Review, Summer 1949; "The Whole World Knows," Harper's Bazaar, March 1947; "Music from Spain" as a separate publication (Greenville, Mississippi: The Levee Press, December 1948); "The Wanderers," Harper's Bazaar, March 1949, as "The Hummingbirds."

Although Welty promised Harcourt, Brace the manuscript of her next story collection, The Bride of the Innisfallen and Other Stories, in 1951, the composition of The Ponder Heart and its staging as a Broadway play intervened, and she was unable to complete the final typescript for the collection until the spring of 1954. Welty made further revisions to some of the stories in proofs in late 1954, and the collection was published by Harcourt on April 6, 1955. Hamish Hamilton also published the book in London in October 1955, with variants resulting from differences in British and American conventions, and the collection was included, with late revisions by Welty, in The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty (1980). This volume prints the text of the first 1955 Harcourt printing. Following is a list of the original publications of the seven stories in it: "No Place for You, My Love," The New Yorker, September 20, 1952; "The Burning," Harper's Bazaar, March 1951; "The Bride of the Innisfallen," The New Yorker, December 1, 1951; "Ladies in Spring," Sewanee Review, Winter 1954, titled "Spring"; "Circe," Accent, Autumn 1949, titled "Put Me in the Sky!"; "Kin," The New Yorker, November 15, 1952; and "Going to Naples," Harper's Bazaar, July 1954.

The present volume includes, in a section titled "Other Stories," two stories written in the 1960s. Welty wrote "Where Is the Voice Coming From?" following the murder of Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers in Jackson on June 12, 1963, and revised the story over the telephone with New Yorker editor William Maxwell after it was accepted by the magazine on June 26. "By then, an arrest had been made in Jackson," Welty later wrote, "and the fiction's outward details had to be changed where by chance they had resembled too closely those of actuality, for the story must not be found prejudicial to the case of a person who must be on trial for his life." The story was published in The New Yorker on July 6, 1963, and reprinted in Write and Rewrite: A Study of the Creative Process, ed. John Kuehl (New York: Meredith Press, 1967), along with an unrevised draft of the story titled "From the Unknown." Welty wrote "The Demonstrators" in the fall of 1965; it was published in The New Yorker on November 26, 1966. The texts of the two stories presented here are of The New Yorker printings. (Both stories were included, without change, in The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty.)

This volume also includes, under the heading "Selected Essays," eight pieces from The Eye of the Story, Welty's first essay collection, published by Random House in 1978, and the "Preface" to The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty, which was published by Random House in October 1980. Welty made minor revisions to most of the previously published essays while preparing them for collection in The Eye of the Story and had more control over the book, for which she read and corrected proofs, than the periodical publications. For only one of the essays, "Writing and Analyzing a Story," did she heavily revise and rewrite an earlier piece. This volume prints the text of the "Preface to The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty from the first 1980 Random House printing of that collection; the texts of the other eight essays are taken from the first 1978 Random House printing of The Eye of the Story. Versions of those eight essays first appeared as follows: "A Pageant of Birds" was originally published in New Republic, October 25, 1943, and "Some Notes on River Country" in Harper's Bazaar, February 1944; "Writing and Analyzing a Story" is a heavily revised version of "How I Write," which appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Spring 1955; "Place in Fiction" was prepared for a 1954 conference on American studies at Cambridge University and was first published in the Duke University paper The Archive, April 1955, and then in South Atlantic Quarterly, January 1956; "A Sweet Devouring" appeared in Mademoiselle, December 1957; "Must the Novelist Crusade?" appeared in Atlantic Monthly, October 1965, and was reprinted in Writer's Digest, February 1970; " 'Is Phoenix Jackson's Grandson Really Dead?' " was published in Critical Inquiry, September 1974, and in The New York Times Book Review, as "The Point of the Story," March 5, 1978; "The Little Store" appeared in Esquire, December 1975, as "The Corner Store" and was reprinted in Mom, the Flag, and Apple Pie: Great American Writers on Great American Things (Doubleday, 1976; compiled by editors of Esquire) as "The Neighborhood Grocery Store."

Welty's memoir, One Writer's Beginnings, originated in three lectures that she delivered at Harvard University in April 1983 to inaugurate the William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization. She revised her lectures for publication by Harvard University Press, which published the memoir on February 20, 1984; that text is reproduced here.

This volume presents the texts of the original printings chosen for inclusion here, but it does not attempt to reproduce features of their typographic design, such as display capitalization at the beginnings of pieces. The texts are printed without change, except for the correction of typographical errors. Spelling, punctuation, and capitalization are often expressive features, and they are not altered, even when inconsistent or irregular. Except for clear typographical errors, the spelling and usage of foreign words and phrases are left as they appear in the original texts.

Copyright 1995–2011 Literary Classics of the United States, Inc.
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