Eudora Welty on Virginia Woolf

Eudora Welty on Virginia Woolf: “She was the one who opened the door. When I read To the Lighthouse, I felt, Heavens, what is this? I was so excited by the experience I couldn’t sleep or eat. I’ve read it many times since, though more often these days I go back to her diary. Any day you open it to will be tragic, and yet all the marvelous things she says about her work, about working, leave you filled with joy that’s stronger than your misery for her.” Read More of the Paris Review Interview with Eudora Welty

On a tangent: Naming of the Eudora email program

Opening Lines of To the Lighthouse:

“Yes, of course, if it’s fine tomorrow,” said Mrs Ramsay. “But you’ll have to be up with the lark,” she added.

To her son these words conveyed an extraordinary joy, as if it were settled, the expedition were bound to take place, and the wonder to which he had looked forward, for years and years it seemed, was, after a night’s darkness and a day’s sail, within touch. Since he belonged, even at the age of six, to that great clan which cannot keep this feeling separate from that, but must let future prospects, with their joys and sorrows, cloud what is actually at hand, since to such people even in earliest childhood any turn in the wheel of sensation has the power to crystallise and transfix the moment upon which its gloom or radiance rests, James Ramsay, sitting on the floor cutting out pictures from the illustrated catalogue of the Army and Navy stores, endowed the picture of a refrigerator, as his mother spoke, with heavenly bliss. It was fringed with joy. The wheelbarrow, the lawnmower, the sound of poplar trees, leaves whitening before rain, rooks cawing, brooms knocking, dresses rustling — all these were so coloured and distinguished in his mind that he had already his private code, his secret language, though he appeared the image of stark and uncompromising severity, with his high forehead and his fierce blue eyes, impeccably candid and pure, frowning slightly at the sight of human frailty, so that his mother, watching him guide his scissors neatly round the refrigerator, imagined him all red and ermine on the Bench or directing a stern and momentous enterprise in some crisis of public affairs.Photo of Virginia Woolf

4 thoughts on “Eudora Welty on Virginia Woolf

  1. Once again, you’ve brightened my morning by surprising me with old friends when I stopped by to visit you.

    Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” still speaks to me from tucked away places in my heart when someone questions why I “waste” time to write. I just think of “Shakespeare’s sister,” smile, and keep writing.

    Welty is another Southern writer who gives so much information in her stories about what it means to be a Southerner, but her style of writing can be frustrating for readers who want to be entertained with action. Many times, not much happens in Welty’s fiction but then again, that’s the point. One needs to dig deeper than the superficial layer.

    I’m looking forward to returning here this evening to read the links you posted. Time to go to work! (Sigh)

    • I also love the deep nature of Welty’s prose! That’s an excellent way to put it. Her works holds up to re-reading so well.

      That Virginia Woolf’s words still speak to and motivate us in an age that is, in some ways, so very different from hers (but maybe not so much?) continues to amaze and hearten me. Ah, the power of writing.

      We are kindred spirits, Elle Marie. 🙂

  2. Woolf+Welty+The Paris Review? How wonderful!
    Welty’s “Why I Live at the P.O.” is one of my favorite short stories and it’s so nice to know that she felt the exact same as I did when she first read “Lighthouse”.

    Thanks for the lovely break from homework.

    • What a pleasure to provide this kind of homework break! 😀 I’m going to re-read “Why I Live at the P.O.” this weekend.

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