Eudora Welty Additional Biography

Various

Biography

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Eudora Alice Welty was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on April 13, 1909. She would spend most of her life in Jackson. She was the only daughter of Christian Webb Welty and Mary Chestina Andrews Welty; she had two younger brothers. Soon after their marriage in 1904, Welty’s parents moved to Jackson. Her father, who came from Ohio, where his father owned a farm, was president of the well-established Lamar Life Insurance Company. Her mother, a West Virginian, was descended from pre-Revolutionary War Virginia stock, engendered by country preachers, teachers, and lawyers. Welty, who claimed that she would feel “shy, and discouraged at the very thought” of a biography about her, felt that a “private life should be kept private.” Still, though she insisted that it is the writer’s work, not his or her life, that is important, she did finally write a memoir of her family history and her early years, One Writer’s Beginnings, which was published in 1984 and received positive critical comment.

Perhaps one reason she suggested that her own biography would not “particularly interest anybody” is that she lived for the most part in the mainstream of American society. As Porter aptly observes in her introduction to A Curtain of Green, Welty was not the “spiritual and intellectual exile” that typifies the modern artist. She attended Central High School in Jackson, then was at Mississippi State College for Women, in Columbus, for two years before transferring to the University of Wisconsin in 1927. After graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in English in 1929, she enrolled in the School of Business at Columbia University, where she studied advertising for one year. By then, the United States was in the throes of the Depression, and she returned to Jackson to seek work.

During the next several years, Welty held a variety of jobs in advertising, radio scriptwriting, and part-time newspaper work. She also began writing stories. Possibly the most important of those early jobs was the position of junior publicity agent with the U.S. Works Progress Administration (WPA) from 1933 to 1936. In this position, Welty was required to travel extensively through Mississippi doing newspaper stories on various WPA projects. Her work involved taking photographs, talking with a great variety of people, and, perhaps most important, listening to them. As Welty herself confessed, she had a “good ear” and a visual imagination, qualities that enabled her to hear and observe things and people during those three years that she would use in her...

(The entire section is 1052 words.)

Biography

(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

Eudora Welty attended Jackson State College for Women and the University of Wisconsin, where she was graduated in 1929. After a year at Columbia University’s school of advertising, she went back to Jackson, Mississippi, and worked for several newspapers and radio stations as well as the Works Progress Administration as a publicity agent. It was during this time that she began writing the magical short stories that have made her loved and respected.

Welty was not a feminist writer in the ideological sense, but an important writer who often focused on women’s efforts to assert their identity. From “A Memory,” which deals with a young woman’s introduction into a reality she insists on changing to fit her own aesthetic vision; to “A Worn Path,” in which a proud old matriarch makes a mythic journey to save someone dear to her, many of Welty’s stories are about women who insist on their independence in a society that does not understand them.

Welty’s fiction is often compared to William Faulkner’s, with the stipulation that whereas Faulkner focused on the male world in the South, Welty focused on the role of Southern women—whether it be as center of family unity or as curator of the communal myth. Her comic epic novel of family ties, Losing Battles, features a number of memorable women from different generations, while her subtle exploration of morals and manners, The Optimist’s Daughter, focuses primarily on how one woman deals with the death of her father, In her small book of memoirs, One Writer’s Beginnings, which remained on the best-seller list for several months in 1984, Welty describes in lyrical detail how she learned to tell stories by listening to the stories told by women around her.

The women in Welty’s short stories do not face overt conflicts with their external social roles; rather they reveal what Welty sees as their essential selves as individual human beings. Welty’s narrative technique avoids direct social criticism. Instead, it explores the inner world of the symbolic and the metaphysical.

Biography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Eudora Alice Welty is one of the greatest writers of Southern fiction. She was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on April 13, 1909, the daughter of Mary Chestina Andrews Welty, a teacher originally from West Virginia, and Christian Webb Welty, originally from Ohio. Soon after marrying, the young couple moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where Welty’s father eventually became president of a life insurance company. After she left Jackson High School, Welty attended Mississippi State College for Women for two years and then transferred to the University of Wisconsin, where she received her bachelor of arts degree in 1929. By this time, Welty had decided to become an author, but her father considered writing a risky career and persuaded her...

(The entire section is 1048 words.)

Biography

(Short Stories for Students)

Welty was born on April 13, 1909, in Jackson, Mississippi. Her father, an insurance executive, and her mother, a teacher, offered a stable...

(The entire section is 402 words.)

Biography

(Short Stories for Students)

Eudora Welty was born on April 13, 1909, in Jackson, Mississippi, to Christian Webb and Chestina Andrews Welty. Her father was an insurance...

(The entire section is 316 words.)

Biography

(Novels for Students)

F Scott Fitzgerald Published by Gale Cengage

Eudora Alice Welty was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on April 13, 1909, to Chestina and Christian Welty. With her two younger brothers, she...

(The entire section is 476 words.)

Biography

(Novels for Students)

Eudora Alice Welty was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on April 13, 1909, to Chestina and Christian Welty. With her two younger brothers, she...

(The entire section is 464 words.)