Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Eudora Welty
By Tom Congalton
A well-known poet of our acquaintance used to refer to Eudora Welty as "Aunt Meatloaf." When queried about it, his justification was "Well, everyone likes meatloaf, don't they?" This may be more true of Welty than meatloaf in an increasingly vegetarian world, but he made his point. Welty's first two real books A Curtain of Green (1941), a collection of stories; and The Robber Bridegroom (1942) are both very scarce in fine condition, with the latter title, an amusing fairy tale of sorts, always in demand. Her third book, a collection of short stories, of wartime vintage The Wide Net (1943) is just as scarce, but if you can find it with the pink spine-lettering unfaded, or barely so, it jumps up to rare in our estimation. Preceding publication of A Curtain of Green, an advance excerpt from the book called The Key was issued by the publisher. It is a rarity, and expensive when found, but surprisingly not that eagerly sought. Welty has participated in the publication of a number of limited and signed editions. Our favorite, and one of the scarcest is A Sweet Devouring (1969), a short but evocative essay about her youthful obsession with books and reading.
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