Friday, June 02, 2006

Early Escapades by Eudora Welty

If you had asked a young Eudora Welty what she would grow up to be, she would have answered "a writer." She might have then qualified her answer to say that she was a writer already. At the age of twelve she produced a collage book for her brother that in juvenile form foretold her later talents for plot, description, and satire. Throughout her youth, at college, and in her early work years, Welty wrote stories, essays, plays, and poems to share with her friends and for publication. Early Escapades is a collection of those writings paired with her cartoons and school yearbook illustrations.

Jackson, Mississippi was a modern city in the 1920s and 1930s, with a skyscraper and a radio station, and Eudora Welty was a totally modern youth. She read magazines from New York and imagined a writer's life in Manhattan. She loved the cinema, especially the Marx Brothers, and was devoted to popular culture. With much energy, she tested her talents in many literary devices, always with an intent to have fun. Most of her early work was humorous. It must have really raised eyebrows in Jackson later when she wrote the deep and serious Delta Wedding.

Reading Early Escapades is fun. I was especially surprised by Welty's cartoons and illustrations. Her caricature of Mae West is a masterpiece of early pop art. Readers can see her visual sense, which she later used in her prose.

Early Escapades is a must read for Welty fans.

Welty, Eudora. Early Escapades. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2005. ISBN 157806774x

1 comment:

Library Lady said...

Great Review!

Keep it up! Maggie :-)