Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Book: Tell About Night Flowers

Tell About Night Flowers: Eudora Welty's Gardening Letters, 1940-1949 just arrived in our warehouse. The book presents previously unpublished letters by Eudora Welty, selected and annotated by scholar Julia Eichelberger.

Welty published many of her best-known works in the 1940s: A Curtain of Green, The Wide Net, The Robber Bridegroom, Delta Wedding, and The Golden Apples. During this period, she also wrote hundreds of letters to two friends who shared her love of gardening. One friend, Diarmuid Russell, was her literary agent in New York; the other, John Robinson, was a high school classmate and an aspiring writer who served in the Army in WWII, and long the focus of Welty’s affection. The book also includes excerpts of the letters sent from Russell and Robinson.

Welty’s lyrical, witty, and poignant discussions of gardening and nature are delightful in themselves; they are also figurative expressions of Welty’s views of her writing and her friendships. Taken together with thirty-five illustrations, they form a poetic narrative of their own, chronicling artistic and psychic developments that were underway before Welty was fully conscious of them. By 1949 her art, like her friendships, had evolved in ways that she would never have predicted in 1940. 

Tell about Night Flowers not only lets readers glimpse Welty in her garden; it also reveals a brilliant and generous mind responding to the public events, people, art, and natural landscapes Welty encountered at home and on her travels during the 1940s. This book enhances our understanding of the life, landscape, and art of a major American writer. 

Welty’s drawing of a shell flower. Sent to Russell in a June 20, 1942 letter

Welty and Robinson during her first trip to Europe
Drawing from a letter Welty sent Robinson on September 26, 1943

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