Mary's Library

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Eudora's Living Room

One of my favorite writers is Eudora Welty, a local colorist of sorts from Jackson, Mississippi. She is most famous for her novel, Delta Wedding (©1946), but her best work is thought to be her short stories. My favorite of her novels is The Optimist’s Daughter (©1969), which makes me weep every time I read it, though it isn’t a particularly sad story, really.

Now I have another reason for liking Welty. Just look at that living room! It looks a lot like mine – all those books scattered everywhere.

Her house, which was built at the same time as our bungalow, has been renovated and opened to the public. The old wiring, like ours, badly needed updating and air conditioning was installed, though we are told Welty refused to have it during her lifetime. She liked to work in the heat.

Having lived in southwestern Georgia I can tell you the heat down there is truly oppressive. When it’s that hot the phone doesn’t ring because it’s too hot to dial, Welty said. The heat insulated her from interruption when she was writing.

Roger Mudd has written a little piece for the NY Times about a visit he and wife made to Welty in 1986. His words capture, for me, the informality and charm of Welty and her work.


At 8:16 AM PDT , Blogger dovegreyreader said...

Eudora would feel right at home in my library then, every so often I try and clear the decks but it's pointless.
I read The Ponder Heart last year and fell in love with the book and the writer.
Have you seen At Home With Books: How booklovers live with and care for their libraries by Estelle Ellis? Somehow I think it's your sort of book Mary!

At 1:34 PM PDT , Blogger Mary said...

I have that book, and as it happens I was looking at it only yesterday. Great minds, etc . . .


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