SuperTalk Mississippi

Purely Mississippi: Eudora Welty, Capturing The Spirit and Speech of Mississippi

JACKSON, Mississippi– Describing what makes something Purely Mississippi is made to look quite easy in the works of Eudora Welty. 

Eudora Welty was born in Jackson in 1925 and like any typical girl, went to school, developed hobbies and interests, and had friends. But what sets Welty apart is that her interests, her schooling, and even her friends are immortalized in the pages of her works, all which have ties to the South, and mostly inspired by Mississippi.

“She would get familiar with a story,” says Bridget Edwards, Director of the Eudora Welty House, “she would say that she knew and loved her characters, and in writing could hear their voices.”

Welty’s characters were largely derived from the people she met in her journeys all over the state and the country.

“She says it is when she went to college, her first two year at the W,” says Edwards, “that with all those women she realized there were different accents from all over the state.”

Those accents were demonstrated in her writing. The Eudora Welty House is shown as a museum today. Walking into the living room, the first thing you’ll notice is books.

“When we got the house,” says Edwards, “there were about five thousand books here.”

The books are still there, in stacks all throughout the house, in every room. In her upstairs bedroom, where she wrote a majority of her fiction work, Welty wanted to keep the world with her while writing.

“She never faced the window or faced away from it,” says Edwards, “she always said she wanted the world with her, at her side. Not in front of or behind her.”

From the sibling bickering between Stella-Rondo and Sister, to the extravagance of southern matrimony in Delta Wedding, Welty not only captured but celebrated all that made the Magnolia State purely Mississippi.

To see the Eudora Welty House and Museum, a museum of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, contact them by phone or online to set an appointment.

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