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Understanding Carson McCullers

Virginia Spencer Carr

Published: Sep 27 2005






OA Ebook



The inclusion of this book in the Open Carolina collection is made possible by the generous funding of

The definitive introduction to the complex author of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Updated with a discussion of recent scholarship, Understanding Carson McCullers provides a balanced introductory study of the Georgia-born novelist's major fiction and the reasons for her extraordinary and lasting acclaim. Carson McCullers was deemed the "find of the decade" when she appeared on the literary scene at the age of twenty-three and is best remembered for her celebrated novels The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and The Member of the Wedding. Through Virginia Spencer Carr's insightful discussion and lucid analysis of these and lesser-known works, McCullers is shown here as more than a southern writer, more than a lesbian novelist. McCullers emerges as a complex and multifaceted artist not yet fully comprehended and deserving of more contemplative study and thoughtful understanding.

Virginia Spencer Carr was honored with the Southern Historical Association's Francis Butler Simkins Prize for her biography of Carson McCullers, The Lonely Hunter, and the Council of Authors and Journalists Nonfiction Prize for her biography of John Dos Passos, Dos Passos: A Life. Both volumes were named finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Now retired, Carr is the John B. and Elena Diaz Verson Amos Distinguished Professor Emerita of English Letters at Georgia State University in Atlanta, where she served for eight years as chair of the Department of English.

"Understanding Carson McCullers competently and concisely explicates McCullers's work and joins it to her life."—Southern Quarterly

"As she takes us through McCullers's four novels, two plays, and relatively small body of short fictions and miscellaneous pieces, Carr effectively relates each work to McCullers's bizarre and troubled life and to her dazzling shooting-star career, carefully illuminating sources, influences, creative processes, and evolution of themes and techniques."—Choice

"Carr's considerable expertise is evident on every page. . . . .Especially welcome are her discussions of such overlooked McCullers works as Reflections in a Golden Eye, Clock Without Hands, and the short stories."—Modern Fiction Studies

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