What There Is to Say We Have Said: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell (Paperback)
Eavesdrop on one of the most celebrated literary friendships in American letters
"An epistolary feast for literary fans and] a confidence booster for aspiring writers everywhere. A " Entertainment Weekly
"If friendship is an art, this volume is its masterpiece." Lee Smith
"A remarkable testimony to friendship, literature, and an abiding love of life." Richmond Times-Dispatch
What There Is to Say We Have Said bears witness to Welty and Maxwell's more than fifty years of friendship and their lives as writers and readers. It serves as a chronicle of their literary world, their talk of Katherine Anne Porter, Salinger, Dinesen, Updike, Percy, Cheever, and more. Through more than three hundred letters, Marrs brings us the story of a true, deep friendship and an homage to the forgotten art of letter writing.
"A vivid picture of twentieth-century intellectual life and a record of a remarkable friendship... Glorious." Houston Chronicle
"Full of great tidbits about The New Yorker back in the day ... Charming." The New Yorker
"These letters evoke a lost world when events moved a bit more slowly, and friends could take the time to be both eloquently witty and generous with each other, and letters were unobtrusively artful about daily life. Welty and Maxwell are like two birds of the same species, calling to each other across the distances." Charles Baxter.
About the Author
SUZANNE MARRS is the author of Eudora Welty: A Biography and One Writer's Imagination: The Fiction of Eudora Welty and a recipient of the Phoenix Award for Distinguished Welty Scholarship. She is a professor of English at Millsaps College.
"A map into the very heart of friendship and creativity. Every page is a privilege to read."
"An epistolary feast for literary fans [and] a confidence booster for aspiring writers everywhere. A–"
"If friendship is an art, this volume is its masterpiece."
"A remarkable testimony to friendship, literature, and an abiding love of life...An invitation to draw up a chair and enjoy two good friends as interested in their rose gardens as their writing."
"A vivid picture of twentieth-century intellectual life and a record of a remarkable friendship... Glorious."
"Full of great tidbits about The New Yorker back in the day ... Charming."
—The New Yorker
"A raft of tender, day-to-day details ... Like eavesdroppers on a party line, we’re privy to everything ... In today’s world of texting, Twitter and Facebook, where our empathy for others is often reduced to a ‘like’ button, coming across such a sustained account of a friendship is like shining a flashlight on the cave walls at Lascaux ... How fortunate we are that their kinship endured long enough for them to say everything there was to say."
"Beautifully expressive ... [Marrs] has performed an important service here ... A valuable record of the authors’ writing process ... Maxwell and Welty, of course, loved to write, and writers and readers will be awed to learn of both the macro and the micro."
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
"[Maxwell and Welty’s] love, a source of sustenance and strength between two great writers, is also a bright tonic for the readers of this volume, which affirms Welty’s belief that to read someone’s letters ‘is in some way to admit him to our friendship.’"
—Christian Science Monitor
"These loving and revealing letters guide us back to the fiction of both authors."
—Wall Street Journal
"A valuable portrait of a unique and lasting friendship, and a celebration of a certain kind of joy that is rapidly disappearing—the joy of writing and sending, receiving and reading personal letters."
"This collection of letters takes us into the world of Eudora and William. We get to see how their friendship deepened over time and became something special."
—San Francisco Book Review
"To read What There Is to Say We Have Said is to feel the noise and speed of the present era fall away, to sense the natural world reasserting itself. Time slows, and you arrive in a more pastoral moment."
—The Progressive Reader
"For 50 years, Welty and Maxwell communicated in full detail, with deep and genuine affection, serving up revelations about themselves that give these literary figures a greatly wonderful human dimension . . . This is one of the richest and most riveting collections of famous-people letters to emerge in some time." —Booklist
"Inspiring . . . A vivid snapshot of 20th-century intellectual life and an informative glimpse of the author-editor relationship, as well a tender portrait of devoted friendship."
"The correspondence of this volume [is] gracefully edited and annotated by Welty’s biographer Marrs . . . Both correspondents were blessed with personality-plus, mirrored in these letters."
"How rewarding to become the third person present in the discoveries of life and literature between Eudora Welty and William Maxwell. I have always believed the only ‘knowing’ one can have of a fiction writers is through the fiction itself; but here, in the personal medium of to-and-fro wit and vitality, is to be had further experience of the writer Eudora Welty, whose stories, in particular, have opened my vision of human relations."
"Something truly special happened each time Eudora Welty and William Maxwell wrote a letter to the other. Suzanne Marrs has collected more than 300 of those letters and set them into a time and context. Anyone who relishes and celebrates the magic use of words, storytelling and friendship will treasure the end result forever."
"This book lets us in on the happy fact that two splendid writers, who did not sacrifice humanity to career, were warmly admitted to each other’s lives. Its generosity of tone is such that the readers feels not a trespasser but a guest. Suzanne Marrs’s editing is worthy of a delightful text."
"A complex improvisation carried on for years by two artists for whom nothing in the realm of literature or feeling was remote."
"A literary revelation. Suzanne Marrs’s editing of this rich collection is superlative."
—Roger Mudd, journalist and broadcaster