By Eudora Welty
Complied and Edited by Patti Carr Black
128 pp., 5 b&w photographs, 30 illustrations, introduction
Poems, sketches, profiles, and satires that clearly predict one of the South's comic geniuses
Eudora Welty (1909-2001), in her writing and in her conversation, had a dazzling and ironic wit. Many friends remember the laughter she provoked through her sense of the absurd. Early Escapades explores the initial manifestations of her comic and creative energy, from the poems of her adolescence to the promising parodies and caricatures she wrote and drew as a young adult. The compilation includes pen-and-ink drawings as well as caricatures, lim-ericks, poems, essays, editorial pieces, and society notes written by the young Welty. The earliest example of her work here is a reproduction of a small handmade book she wrote and illustrated to entertain her brother Edward. Titled "The Glorious Apology," the book is a collage of parodied newspaper and magazine clippings that tell the rollicking story of one Fitzhugh Green, son of the "whispering saxophonist" Artimus H. Green.
Early Escapades offers a prelude to Welty's mature fiction where her sharp comic sensibilities focused on deeply rooted issues: the ambiguity of relationships, the complex struggles for power in families and communities, the duality of people's perceptions. Her comedic work is a trenchant commentary on the way we lead our lives. Whether through her writings or drawings, Welty created laughter from the painful condition of being human. Early Escapades shows how Welty's art, even in its nascent stages, embraced the world's marvels, chaos, and mystery with passionate sympathy.
Eudora Welty is the author of many novels and story collections, including The Optimist's Daughter (Pulitzer Prize), Losing Battles, The Ponder Heart, The Robber Bridegroom, and A Curtain of Green and Other Stories. Patti Carr Black is a museum consultant and independent scholar in Jackson, Mississippi. She is the author of Art in Mississippi, 1720-1980 and The Southern Writers Quiz Book and coauthor with Marion Barnwell of Touring Literary Mississippi, all published by University Press of Mississippi.
Line drawing--William Faulkner by Eudora Welty, courtesy Mississippi Department of Archives and History128 pp., 5 b&w photographs, 30 illustrations, introduction