New Essays on Eudora Welty, Class, and Race
A groundbreaking work on race and class in the remarkable writer’s fiction and photography
Contributions by Jacob Agner, Susan V. Donaldson, Sarah Gilbreath Ford, Stephen M. Fuller, Jean C. Griffith, Ebony Lumumba, Rebecca Mark, Donnie McMahand, Kevin Murphy, Harriet Pollack, Christin Marie Taylor, Annette Trefzer, and Adrienne Akins Warfield
The year 2013 saw the publication of Eudora Welty, Whiteness, and Race, a collection in which twelve critics changed the conversation on Welty’s fiction and photography by mining and deciphering the complexity of her responses to the Jim Crow South. The thirteen diverse voices in New Essays on Eudora Welty, Class, and Race deepen, reflect on, and respond to those seminal discussions. These essays freshly consider such topics as Welty’s uses of African American signifying in her short stories and her attention to public street performances interacting with Jim Crow rules in her unpublished photographs. Contributors discuss her adaptations of gothic plots, haunted houses, Civil War stories, and film noir. And they frame Welty’s work with such subjects as Bob Dylan’s songwriting, the idea and history of the orphan in America, and standup comedy. They compare her handling of whiteness and race to other works by such contemporary writers as William Faulkner, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, Chester Himes, and Alice Walker. Discussions of race and class here also bring her masterwork The Golden Apples and her novel Losing Battles, underrepresented in earlier conversations, into new focus.
Moreover, as a group these essays provide insight into Welty as an innovative craftswoman and modernist technician, busily altering literary form with her frequent, pointed makeovers of familiar story patterns, plots, and genres.
The essays in New Essays on Eudora Welty, Class, and Race, edited by Harriet Pollack, clear fresh and surprising paths into the author’s complexly nuanced attentiveness to issues of race, class, and gender. This is a collection deeply steeped in the physical embodiments and spatial dimensions of Welty’s stories and their richly associative powers; and like the southern landscape, both natural and socially constructed, these essays are as textured and generative as the author’s work itself: high praise indeed!- Minrose Gwin, author of Remembering Medgar Evers: Writing the Civil Rights Movement and The Accidentals: A Novel
New Essays on Eudora Welty, Class, and Race promises to be a major asset for not only Welty scholars, but readers, teachers, and researchers in southern literature, ethnic studies, gender studies, southern history, African American studies, whiteness studies, and musicology. One could not ask for a better editor than Harriet Pollack, whose recent work on Welty has vaulted her into the forefront of Welty studies. She knows this great writer's oeuvre better than anyone and is well connected with the other prominent Welty scholars—and most of them are in this collection.- John Wharton Lowe, Barbara Methvin Distinguished Professor of Southern, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies at University of Georgia