Eudora Welty

Lorrie Moore in the New York Review of Books:

Ww_eudora_weltyThat Welty had charismatic friendliness in abundance—her combination of shyness and gregariousness won over everyone—was never in her lifetime in doubt. She was a natural storyteller, a wit, and a clown. “If this sofa could talk,” she said once to Reynolds Price, looking at the bedraggled plastic furnishings of the only rental room Price could find for them in Tuscaloosa, “we would have to burn it.” All of Welty’s endearing qualities are underscored by Suzanne Marrs’s recent biography of her, the only one ever authorized by Welty. An unauthorized one appeared in 1998, Eudora: A Writer’s Life, by Ann Waldron (who without Welty’s approval began to feel shunned by Welty’s fiercely protective friends and a bit sorry for herself, perceiving that she was rather literally disapproved of, the perennially “uninvited guest”). Welty at the time of Waldron’s completed book was eighty-nine and unable to read for long spells. (Thank goodness, suggests Jacksonian Marrs, the anointed biographer.) Still, despite the biblical saying, a prophet is not often without honor in her own country: Welty was a goddess in Jackson. What a prophet is often without is privacy, peace, and any real depth of comprehension among her fellow citizens. And although this is not the task or accomplishment of literary biography, that Suzanne Marrs has waited until after Welty’s death to publish Eudora Welty is certainly a beginning to all three.

More here.