Sunday, December 21, 2008

Suzanne Marrs on Eudora Welty Video

Below is a YouTube copy of MPB's Gene Edwards interviewing Millsaps Professor Suzanne Marrs about her book Eudora Welty: A Biography.

This is a couple of years old and Dr Marrs may not even know it's still available on the Internet.

I have to admit that I'm not the biggest Eudora Welty fan, and it's for pretty stupid reasons. Her writer's voice and her characters are so finely aligned with my cultural background that her stories make me feel like I'm listening to gossip and not fiction and it's been that way ever since I could read.

Faulkner's writer's voice was very different for me. He was more like someone confessing things they'd really rather not talk about, which is hugely compelling by itself.

That being said, I dearly love hearing Suzanne talking about Miss Eudora. She speaks from the two very different cultures, the one she was born to and the one she adopted after twenty something years in Mississippi, which I find exciting, and she has a powerful mastery of words that's both beautiful and descriptive, but also structured and efficient. Her book reads much the same way as she speaks.

The thing that separates this book from really any other other biography I can think of is that Marrs is a fine academician and she does all the things that requires, but she's also writing about someone who was a loved friend for many years and the merger of those two points of view makes the book worth reading.

If you haven't picked it up, I recommend it.

She has a great speaking voice too. It's not an actor's voice or a radio voice but a really authentic voice, filled with humanity and personality. I love Gene Edwards, but I can tune him out pretty quickly, Suzanne's voice compels you to listen though, like you'll miss something if you don't.

Watch the video, it's great:

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