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The Southern Imagination by Eudora Welty

The Southern Imagination

by Eudora Welty


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What made Southern literature distinctive? Is it distinctive still? This show starts a little slowly--Miss Welty in particular is thoughtful rather than quick--but we soon get to the heart of the matter. WP: "I think that for a hundred years Southern literature, before and after the Civil War, was not particularly distinguished. It was ingrown; it was either romantic or it was defensive.... Then along about 1920, I think the cultures began to merge and you had a kind of spark jumping, so that you had people like Faulkner coming on who began to write about their region but in such universal terms, neither romantically nor defensively, that it made itself understood to people from other parts of the country." ... EW: "I was here all that time and I felt the unreality of late-night telephone calls from strangers asking me, 'How can you stay in that place? Why don't you use all of your novelistic powers and so on and write some things against this?' And really, I assumed that my whole life I had been writing about injustice ... I was always against it, but what I was writing about was human beings."

Episode S0073, Recorded on December 12, 1972

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