Losing Battles by Eudora Welty (1970)

losing battles by eudora welty

From the 1970 Random House edition of Losing Battles by Eudora Welty: Losing Battles by Eudora Welty is a story of rural Mississippi in the 1930s that will immediately be recognized as a classic in the seriocomic tradition in American fiction.

On the hot, dry first Sunday of August, three generations of Granny Vaughn’s descendants gather at her home in celebration of her ninetieth birthday.

The action covers two days, but since many members of this enormous family are great tale-tellers, the reader experiences much of the past as well. Dialogue and action are often marvelously funny, wildly so at times, but underneath are serious, even somber tones.

From a neighboring town, word comes to the reunion of the death of Miss Julia Mortimer, for years the local schoolteacher, and the teacher of practically everyone present over the age of twenty.

One of the many lost battles related here was Miss Julia’s crusade to educate the inhabitants of Banner. Though she never appears on the scene, she is nevertheless one of the dominant figures, and her own story is a deeply touching one.

Eudora Welty’s artistry at presenting her scene and characters has never been more evident than here. The reader is in the action and sees and feels with the characters, who, in spite of their great number, all come vibrant and individually to life.


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