The Freakish World of Eudora Welty: Exploring Her Depression Era South

Dr. Betsy Nies
To add a paper, Login.

The 1930s marked a period of time when the South was regarded as the nation's freak, its outcast, full of white tenant farmers and their degenerate offspring. Eudora Welty, in her short stories of the decade and in her photographs of small towns and carnival sideshows, challenged such a regional depiction, attempting to reclaim a cohesive identity for the South in the face of ongoing industrialization. She figures such a reclamation through the language of freakery, featuring several small town carnival exhibits as the site of narrative resistance in her short stories "Keela, the Outcast Indian Maiden" and "The Petrified Man". This session will explore both visual and narrative depictions of freaks, considering how Welty's images intersect with regional debates over the meaning of white Southern identity.

Keywords: Eudora Welty, Freaks, Freakery
Stream: Ethnicity, Difference, Identity
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Freakish World of Eudora Welty, The

Dr. Betsy Nies

Assistant Professor of English, Department of English, University of North Florida

Betsy Nies, Assistant Professor of English at the University of North Florida, teaches and researches topics in American literature and cultural studies. She is the author of "Eugenic Fantasies: Racial Ideologies in the Literature and Popular Culture of the 1920's" (Routledge, 2002). She is currently exploring the relationship between eugenics and white Southern identity during the Great Depression.

Ref: H05P0168