Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Doris Betts is the author of several novels: Tall Houses in Winter (1957), The Scarlet Thread (1964), Heading West (1981), a February, 1982, Book-of-the-Month Club selection, Souls Raised from the Dead (1994), and The Sharp Teeth of Love (1997).


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Doris Betts won the 1954 University of North Carolina G. P. Putnam Award for her first short-story collection, The Gentle Insurrection, and Other Stories, and her third collection, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Other Stories, was a National Book Award finalist. The state of North Carolina presented her with its Medal for Literature in 1975. She won a John Dos Passos Award in 1983 and a Medal of Merit from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 1989.


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Brown, W. Dale. “Interview with Doris Betts.” The Southern Quarterly 34 (Winter, 1996): 91-104. In this detailed interview, Betts discusses her Christian faith and how it relates to her fiction.

Evans, Elizabeth. “Another Mule in the Yard: Doris Betts’s Durable Humor.” Notes on Contemporary Literature 11 (March, 1981): 5-6. Evans’s thesis is that “Doris Betts produces durable humor which often turns funny lines and situations into dark melancholy where humor remains, but overrun with pessimism and despair.” This creates an incongruity that “frequently emphasizes the bitterness that undergirds the characters’ lives.” The article focuses on the story “The Dead Mule.”

Evans, Elizabeth. Doris Betts. New York: Twayne, 1997. An authoritative critical interpretation of Betts’s long and short fiction.

Holman, David Marion. “Faith and the Unanswerable Questions: The Fiction of Doris Betts.” The Southern Literary Journal 15 (Fall, 1982): 15-22. This article contains analyses of Betts’s characterization, treatment of faith, and use of the grotesque in her short fiction. The discussion centers on three short stories: “The Ugliest Pilgrim,” “The Astronomer,” and “The Mandarin,” although the longer fiction is also discussed briefly.

Lang, John....

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