Lee Smith Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Lee Smith’s first published work was a novel, The Last Day the Dogbushes Bloomed. It was followed by the novels Something in the Wind and Fancy Strut (1973). After a seven-year hiatus, Smith brought out what has been called the first work of her second career, Black Mountain Breakdown (1980), which was followed by additional novels, including Saving Grace (1995) and The Christmas Letters (1996).


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Lee Smith received a Book-of-the-Month Club fellowship in 1967, O. Henry Awards in 1979 and 1981, a Sir Walter Raleigh Award in 1984, a North Carolina Award for Literature in 1985, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award in 1995 and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1999.


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Buchanan, Harriette C. “Lee Smith: The Storyteller’s Voice.” In Southern Women Writers: The New Generation, edited by Tonette Bond Inge. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1990. An introduction to Smith’s life and art, focusing primarily on her novels. Claims that the irony that shows the difference between Smith’s humanism and the narrow, judgmental views of her characters can best be seen in her short stories.

Canin, Ethan. “The Courage of Their Foolishness.” Review of Me and My Baby View the Eclipse, by Lee Smith. The New York Times Book Review (February 11, 1990): 11. A brief but perceptive summary of Smith’s themes, her strengths, and her weaknesses. Although it deals specifically with the short-story collection cited, this essay is an excellent introduction to Smith’s fiction as a whole.

Guralnick, Peter. “The Storyteller’s Tale.” Los Angeles Times Magazine (May 21, 1995): 15. Biographical sketch of Smith’s childhood in West Virginia and her college career at Hollins College; includes quotations from Smith about the influences on her literary career, what motivates her writing, and what most fascinates her about the South.

Hill, Dorothy Combs. Lee Smith. New York: Twayne, 1992. A critical study which includes a bibliography and an index.

Jones, Anne Goodwyn. “The World of Lee Smith.” In Women Writers of the Contemporary South, edited by Peggy Whitman Prenshaw. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1984. An...

(The entire section is 677 words.)