Eudora Welty and Surrealism/ Take 2

Last week I took a tiny foray into the effect of Surrealism on the writing of Eudora Welty.  After the post was published, Bridget Edwards, Director of The Eudora Welty House and Garden Museum, contacted me to let me know about a book devoted to the subject.  Stephen Fuller’s Eudora Welty and Surrealism, published last year, will lead to a new look into both the writings and life of Eudora Welty…

Eudora Welty and Surrealism

Fuller is assistant professor of English at Middle Georgia College…

Eudora Welty and Surrealism

He begins with an excerpt from the short story ” Memory” which he says “plainly illuminates the flood of images that typically swell to form Benjamin’s dream wave in her fiction, breaking over her unsuspecting reader.”

Indeed, he is spot on!

The description of the female character fairly screams out to me – start tearing paper for a collage!

Here is a brief description from the story, how does it affect you?

“She was unnaturally white and fatly aware, in a bathing suit which had no relation to the shape of her body.  Fat hung upon her upper arms like an arrested earth slide on a hill.  With the first  motion she might make, I was afraid that she would slide down upon herself into a terrifying heap.  Her breasts hung heavy and widening like pears into her bathing suit.”

Um, I really did start looking in magazines for some pears to cut out!!

With the 1930s being such a productive time in Miss Welty’s career, there is no doubt that the movement had a far reaching influence on her writing.  During these years we know that her reading list included Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines.  She enjoyed drawing and created sketches of personalities such as Mae West and Edward, Prince of Wales.

I have to think that she was enthralled with the 1937 Lobster Dress designed by Elsa Sciaparelli with a large lobster painted by Salvador Dali onto the skirt…

Sciaparelli Lobster dress

The dress was a collaboration that grew out of Dali’s artwork featuring lobsters.  The lobster on the skirt was placed amid parsley sprigs and lore has it that he was greatly disappointed when Schiaparelli refused to allow him to spread real mayonnaise on the finished gown!

Most famously, the gown was worn by Wallis Simpson for a series of photographs that were taken by Cecil Beaton shortly before her she married Edward VIII…

Sciaparelli Lobster dress

Sciaparelli Lobster dress

It seems as if the influence of Surrealism is still alive and well – Anna Wintour reprised the gown and the lobster continues to appear in fashion…

Sciaparelli Lobster dress

oh, and others continue to create artistic interpretations, witness the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas Duchess of Windsor Doll in Lobster Dress…

The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas


I quickly read through the first chapter of Fuller’s book and look forward to the rest.

He has me digging for more…

dog digging

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  1. Leslie Dement Cox says:

    I love this! More goodies to explore…..(Yesterday at Home Goods I saw a pack of charming little thank you notes with the most adorable little peacocks on the front -displayed in their true deep blues and greens – with pale, pale, blue-green and off-white floral envelopes to accompany. Wanted to pick them up for you because of your love of the peacock, but was afraid you’d think me a whacko since we’ve never met!) You know the old saying, “It’s the thought that counts.” Thanks as always for a wonderful post!

    • says:

      Well I love that thought! It is so funny, I am planning a trip to my Home Goods following that baby shower where the delicious sparkling lemon water was bought at HG! I will look for the peacocks here and I do NOT think you a whacko! We need to connect the next time you are in Jax!