Country churchyards

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University Press of Mississippi,
Pub. Date:
A great writer's poignant photographs of Mississippi graveyards and memorial stones

For many years Eudora Welty wished to produce a book about country churchyards. Published at long last, in her ninety-first year, this book includes ninety of her photographs along with a conversation in which Welty shares her impressions and her memories of the 1930s and 1940s when she rambled through Mississippi cemeteries taking pictures. She recalls poignant and sometimes chilling experiences that occurred.

"I took a lot of cemetery pictures in my life," she said. "For me cemeteries had a sinister appeal somehow." Her camera eye focused on distinctive funerary emblems, statuary, storied urns, and appealing folklife qualities expressed in the gravestones. Just as many pieces of Welty's fiction feature lyrical descriptions of cemeteries and graves in a way that is expressly Weltian, so too do these photographs taken in the cool, sequestered churchyards and graveyards of Jackson, Port Gibson, Churchill, Rodney, Utica, Crystal Springs, Vicksburg, Rocky Springs, and sites near the old Natchez Trace.

They not only document her rambles but also accent the images of regional cemeteries that appear in her stories and novels. This is her unique view of the southern graveyard and of its unusual artworks that arrested her attention -- chains, willows, baskets, angels, lambs, pointing hands, doves, and wreaths. "I like the tombstones showing children asleep in seashells," she says. For her, an absorbed observer, there is charm in the stone motifs and in the sentimental modes of commemorating the dead.

As a contemplative loner she called no attention to herself as she wandered quietly through small-town cemeteries with her camera. Both the country settings and the heart-felt inscriptions on decaying marble heightened her imagination and triggered her creative impulses.

Accompanying the photographs are selected passages about graveyards and funerals from her fiction -- Losing Battles , The Golden Apples and Other Stories , A Curtain of Green and Other Stories , and T he Optimist's Daughter -- and from her essay "Some Notes on River Country."

In the introduction Elizabeth Spencer, a Mississippi writer who has been a life-long friend of Welty's, explores the photographic images for the meanings they yield, for the light they throw onto Welty's fiction, and for her own memories of their home state's evocative graveyards and burial customs.

Eudora Welty, one of America's most acclaimed and honored writers, is the author of many novels and story collections, including The Optimist's Daughter (Pulitzer Prize), Losing Battles , The Ponder Heart , The Robber Bridegroom , and A Curtain of Green and Other Stories and two collections of her photographic work Photographs and One Time, One Place: Mississippi in the Depression (both from University Press of Mississippi).

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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID81d8b87a-606b-05e0-f122-2574bf210b51
Grouping Titlecountry churchyards
Grouping Authorwelty eudora
Grouping Categorybook
Last Grouping Update2018-10-10 01:06:21AM
Last Indexed2019-12-15 03:08:34AM

Solr Details

authorWelty, Eudora, 1909-2001.
author_displayWelty, Eudora
available_at_adamsAdams State University
collection_adamsMain Collection
detailed_location_adamsASU Main (3rd floor)
Bib IdItem IdShelf LocCall NumFormatFormat CategoryNum CopiesIs Order ItemIs eContenteContent SourceeContent FileeContent URLsubformatDetailed StatusLast CheckinLocationSub-location
ils:.b11914865.i23195150ASU Main (3rd floor)F342 .W44 20001falsefalseOn Shelfas
literary_formNon Fiction
literary_form_fullNon Fiction
local_callnumber_adamsF342 .W44 2000
owning_library_adamsAdams State University
owning_location_adamsAdams State University
Bib IdFormatFormat CategoryEditionLanguagePublisherPublication DatePhysical Description
ils:.b11914865BookBooksEnglishUniversity Press of Mississippi, [2000]111 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Bib IdItem IdGrouped StatusStatusLocally OwnedAvailableHoldableBookableIn Library Use OnlyLibrary OwnedHoldable PTypesBookable PTypesLocal Url
ils:.b11914865.i23195150On ShelfOn Shelffalsetruetruefalsefalsetrue56, 57, 58, 59
subject_facetCemeteries -- Mississippi -- Pictorial works
Illustrated works
Mississippi -- History, Local -- Pictorial works
title_displayCountry churchyards
title_fullCountry churchyards Welty, Eudora, 1909-2001.
title_shortCountry churchyards
History, Local