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Southern Literature, Cold War Culture, and the Making of Modern America$
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Jordan J. Dominy

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496826404

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496826404.001.0001

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Eudora Welty and the Problem of Crusading

Eudora Welty and the Problem of Crusading

(p.75) 4 Eudora Welty and the Problem of Crusading
Southern Literature, Cold War Culture, and the Making of Modern America

Jordan J. Dominy

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter considers Eudora Welty’s essay, “Must the Novelist Crusade?” and her story “Where Is the Voice Coming From?” together. In the former, Welty claims that writers cannot and should not through their work get involved in political activism, such as the Civil Rights Movement. Yet the latter is a quickly written and published fictional account of the assassination of Medgar Evers told from the first-person perspective of the killer, which has unavoidable political content. The chapter contextualizes Welty’s story with details regarding Evers’s mandated Jackson, Mississippi television appearance to show the immediate, real world sociopolitical engagement of literature. Hence, Welty’s story marks a return of racial politics to southern literature that are no longer avoidable, despite Welty’s own pleas to refrain from political crusading.

Keywords:   Welty, Eudora, Evers, Medgar, Civil Rights Movement, Southern literature, Political literature

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