Eudora Welty’s Fiction and Photography
The Body of the Other Woman

Harriet Pollack

A reading of the body as a site of symbolic meaning in the works of Eudora Welty


“With this book, Harriet Pollack has not just published a capstone for her career, but may have produced the finest study yet of Eudora Welty… Accessible and lively, her writing will interest not just specialists but also a wide range of potential readers, including undergraduates.”
—Peter Schmidt, The European Journal of American Culture

“This work will be of special interest to scholars of women’s studies, Southern studies, and American studies.”
American Literature


Drawing on the context in which the protection of the white female body is symbolically linked with guarding the U.S. southern body politic, Harriet Pollack traces a pattern in Eudora Welty’s fiction in which a sheltered middle-class daughter is disturbed or delighted by an other-class woman who takes pleasure in “making a spectacle” of her corporeal self.

Welty herself seeks a parallel self-exposure both through these stories that pair protected girls with at-risk flashers and through her photography’s innovating representations of the black female body. Welty’s escape from sheltering continues when, after finding herself in love with a man unwilling to acknowledge his homosexuality and so sharing the silence of his closet, she varies the plot of the other woman in a series of midcareer fictions.

Additionally, Pollack addresses several critical controversies spawned by Welty’s handling of other women’s bodies. These concern the comic woman writer’s relationship to issues of class and feminism, her puzzled-over and sometimes joyful rape plots, and her handling of race in fictions written when her region was immersed in its Jim Crow regulation of the black body. Two special features of the book are its significant reading of sixty-two visual images and its extensive work with Welty’s unpublished manuscripts, in particular those begun during the turmoil of the civil rights struggle in the 1960s and continuing through the 1980s.

The New Southern Studies

Page count: 344 pp.
62 b&w images
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $49.95

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Harriet Pollack is professor of English at Bucknell University. She is an editor and coeditor of four collections: Eudora Welty, Whiteness, and Race (Georgia), Emmett Till in Literary Memory and Imagination, Eudora Welty and Politics: Did the Writer Crusade?, and Having Our Way: Women Rewriting Tradition in Twentieth-Century America.