Research Papers for Eudora Welty

4544 Words Mar 30th, 2011 19 Pages
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Greater than scene … is situation. Greater than situation is implication. Greater than all of these is a single, entire human being, who will never be confined in any form. —Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginnings I owe a special debt to Jan Nordby Gretlund for his Eudora Welty’s Aesthetics of Place (Odense, Denmark: Odense University Press; Newark: University of Delaware Press, ¡994). Given his extensive and intensive analysis of Welty’s fiction, which he makes in response not only to that fiction but also to the considerable body of historical and critical work that has been done on it, Professor Gretlund establishes both a scholarly and a critical context upon which my speculative concerns depend. It is in the light of his study that I
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S. Eliot in his flight, who asserts in concluding the body of his own poetry that the whole journey has as its end that we return to the place from which we set out and “know the place for the first time.” Or remember that other Southern writer, Walker Percy, who after much wandering returns to place, settles into it, and is only with di‡culty lured away from his settled place in Louisiana to New York or Washington, D.C. Eudora Welty was blessed in knowing at once the importance of the proximate to her as person and artist. She remarks the point in One Writer’s Beginnings, and elaborates that fundamental recognition through her memory, summoning her childhood. Her art, she says, constitutes a recovery of the “discoveries” she has made, which “all begin with the particular, never with the general,” with local circumstances and situations which persons willy-nilly must respond to as proximate locality— in this place at this present moment. The witness of her fiction and of her talks and essays carries the humor of acceptance of her own limit as person, the “self ” as only allowed existence in locus. The person experiences the proximate circumstantial world of place as current to consciousness itself in a figurative sense that at last may prove more actual than the figurative. It is by the acceptance of these conditions to her own nature as person that she celebrates existence out of lessons learned in her

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