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Welty, Hawthorne, and Poe: men of the crowd and the landscape of alienation.

In its own way, "Old Mr. Marblehall" is as much a tour-de-force as William Faulkner's "Carcassonne"--richly poetical, densely imaged; cooler and more detached, but just as calmly deliberate, as totally confident in its power to shake and move and tantalize, and no less stubbornly reluctant to yield itself to us completely. Despite its manifest modernity, however, it resonates powerfully with two curious but equally enigmatic nineteenth-century short stories that may provide at least one way of getting at its riches. Like "Old Mr. Marblehall," both Edgar Allan Poe's "The Man of the Crowd" and Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Wakefield" are narrated by observers who find something anomalous in the behavior of a denizen of a crowded city, a citizen otherwise indistinguishable from those thronging around him in the streets.(1)

Poe's narrator does not pretend to be a writer, but claims merely to be an interested observer of human types. His story begins in a London coffee house, through the window of which he watches the streets while recuperating from a bout of ill health. He observes that it was "well said of a certain German book" that "it does not permit itself to be read":

There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told. Men die

nightly in their beds, wringing the hands of ghostly confessors, and looking

them piteously in the eyes--die with despair of heart and convulsion of

throat, on account of the hideousness of mysteries which will not suffer

themselves to be revealed. (p. 388)

As he watches the great blur of humanity walk past his window, this narrator arranges them into categories according to their appearance and demeanour--clerks, gamblers, jew pedlars, pickpockets. Close to nightfall he notices in the midst of the mob an old man sixty-five to seventy years old, approximately Mr. Marblehall's age, who has a

countenance which at once arrested and absorbed my whole attention, on

account of the absolute idiosyncracy of its expression. Any thing even

remotely resembling that expression I had never seen before.... As I

endeavored ... to form some analysis of the meaning conveyed, there

arose confusedly and paradoxically within my mind, the ideas of vast mental

power, of caution, of penuriousness, of avarice, of coolness, of malice, of

blood-thirstiness, of triumph, of merriment, of excessive terror, of

intense--of supreme despair. I felt singularly aroused, startled,

fascinated. "How wild a history," I said to myself, "is written within

that bosom!" (p. 392)

The narrator, wanting to "know more" of this man's life, follows him for the next twenty-four hours, in the pouring rain, in and out of London's richness and its desolation, as he seeks crowds to be among, seeming first to have a destination or a purpose, and then not to. As the next evening looms, the fatigued narrator gives up his secrecy, steps in front of the man, stops, and looks him full in the face. The man does not notice him at all; he decides he cannot "read" this character, gives up the chase, and concludes the narration by calling the old man "the man of the crowd," and invokes the nostrum with which he began, that some books, and some people, cannot be read.

Hawthorne's "Wakefield" is a more striking analogue to "Old Mr. Marblehall." Mildred Travis suggested in 1974 that it could be an actual source for Welty's story.(2) Travis is correct, I think, in ways that go considerably beyond the number of narrative and thematic parallels she draws in her modest note and which in some ways anticipate Daniele Pitavy-Souques's reading of "Old Mr. Marblehall."(3) In "The Man of the Crowd," Poe's narrator spots his hero because something in his face sets him apart; the hero of Hawthorne's story begins as a character--"let us call him Wakefield" (p. 290), the narrator says, as Melville's asks to be called Ishmael--in "some old magazine or newspaper" that the narrator "recollects" (p. 290) having read. The story was reported as truth, he claims, of a man who left his wife and home one day in London, established his own residence one block away in another street, lived there secretly for twenty years unbeknownst to his wife, who assumed he was dead, and then just as suddenly and unexpectedly returned and lived his remaining years at home as "a loving spouse" (p. 290). Poe's narrator believes that some lives cannot be read; Hawthorne's is equally sure that that fact need not deter one from the pleasures of imposing a "reading," even upon a "person" appearing as a character in a newspaper story.

Intrigued with this bare bone of an incident, Hawthorne invites readers to construct their own narratives about this curious man or to follow him as he constructs one. The substance of "Wakefield," then, is a fiction-writer's speculations on how one might build a fiction out of such putatively "factual" materials, working, as Ellen Westbrook suggests, "within the range of the probable" and, by implication, asking readers to consider where narrative truth lies (p. 4). He thus anticipates by eighty-six years Virginia Woolf s demonstration in "An Unwritten Novel" of how ceaselessly a fictive mind works to impose upon the observed world or to deduce from it such assignments of character and motive and circumstance as help explain it or make it interesting.(4)

Hawthorne's narrator then summarizes Wakefield's life during these twenty years so near to yet so far from his former life; he speculates about Wakefield's relationship with that former life, describing the times he approaches his old home, spies upon his wife in her domestic surroundings, and flees again to his own apartment. The narrator constantly sets him, like Poe's Man of the Crowd, against the busy London streets; he believes that he must "follow close at his heels" to keep up with Wakefield, were he lose his individuality" (p. 292) in the crowd, since there is nothing to distinguish this man from the crowd except the narrator's interest, and ours, which has been piqued by something very strange that Wakefield has done, not by anything special that he is. "Poor Wakefield!" he writes. "Little knowest thou thine own insignificance in this great world! No mortal eye but mine has traced thee" (p. 292). Welty's narrator similarly asserts, in a Mississippi idiom, that "nobody gives a hoot about any old Mr. Marblehall.... Nobody cares. Not an inhabitant of Natchez, Mississippi, cares if he is deceived by old Mr. Marblehall" (p. 96), but obviously the narrator, like Poe's and Hawthorne's, who may or may not be an inhabitant of Natchez, cares a great deal about him and his deception--as, thanks to the observing narrator, does the reader.

Like Old Mr. Marblehall, Wakefield enters the crowd precisely to be discovered. He becomes Poe's Man of the Crowd, but without his desire for anonymity: he imagines footsteps following him and a far-off voice calling his name. But he cannot escape his own insignificance, because he cannot force acknowledgment from someone external to himself. Indeed, after ten years' separation, one day he jostles against his wife in a crowded street; they stand face to face, but he is so much a face in the crowd that though they stare directly into each other's eyes, even she does not recognize him (p. 296).(5) The narrator makes one minor incursion into the mind of Wakefield's wife, to observe that she,

without having analyzed his character, was partly aware of a quiet

selfishness, that had rusted into his inactive mind--of a peculiar sort of

vanity, the most uneasy attribute about him--of a disposition to craft,

which had seldom produced more positive effects than the keeping of petty

secrets, hardly worth revealing--and lastly, of what she called a little

strangeness, sometimes, in the good man. (p. 291)

The narrator assumes that such a person as Wakefield would be characterized by a "certain sluggishness," by an intellect given to "long and lazy musings, that tended to no purpose"; his thoughts are "seldom so energetic as to seize hold of words. Imagination, in the proper meaning of the term, made no part of Wakefield's gifts" (p. 291). A bit later he tells us, more bluntly, that Wakefield's behavior is "characteristic of a feeble-minded man" (p. 293).

There are at least three compulsions at work in Wakefield, as the inventing narrator constructs it for us, though it is not completely clear whether these compulsions are simultaneous and so contradictory and troubling to Wakefield, or whether Hawthorne's narrator offers them simply as clearly distinct possible motives for his behavior. The first is that unlike Poe's man, but very much like Mr. Marblehall, Wakefield desperately wants to be discovered, to be observed, so that he will signify something: he is, he thinks, doing something "singular," something that lifts him out of the crowd, out of the blur of the quotidian, out of the ordinariness of domesticity. But of course in his thinking he cannot be singular unless some observer authenticates him as such; his desire to be seen as singular, then, in effect cancels itself out The second compulsion is to put himself in danger of discovery, from which situations he constantly re-enacts his escape from insignificance, ritualizing it into patterns that impose significance. The third compulsion is more perverse. He refuses to return home, because he has been "rendered obstinate" by "the inadequate sensation which he conceived to have been produced in the bosom of Mrs. Wakefield. He will not go back until she be frightened half to death" (p. 294; my emphasis), until he has seen some evidence of her mourning for him, mourning that would give him proof that he does indeed signify something in her life and therefore in his own, proof that she obviously cannot or will not give him.

He uses his absence, then, to manipulate a reaction, to force from his wife a reaction consistent with his need to have his own significance confirmed; he does not want to abandon his life, but rather to live that life at a distance from it, to construct that unlived life as a reflection of his wife's response to his absence. He wants to gain a life by a fantastic triangulation between his present life, his wife's responses, and what he imagines his former life might have been if he were there to live it, although to be sure the narrator assures us that "imagination" is not one of Wakefield's strong suits. In this way Wakefield perhaps hopes to gain some control of his life that he might not otherwise have had, to feel not so completely anonymous and helpless as a man of the crowd.

Wakefield's narrator does not position us in Wakefield's mind, but, from his observer's distance, merely speculates about his self-imposed twenty-year exile. The narrator of "Old Mr. Marblehall" moves freely and fluidly in to and out of Marblehall's mind in ways that make it difficult to determine the story's point of view, or difficult, at least, to describe it in traditional narrative terms. The narrator begins by describing Mr. Marblehall as a representative "old" person, as someone being singled out because he never did anything, never even got married until he was sixty, as someone who has a peculiar relationship with the inhabitants of Natchez, where he is both known and unknown: known in his external place, unknown in his interior life. The narrator knows, but apparently nobody else does, that Mr. Marblehall has two wives, two children, two houses, two lives that are perverse reflections of each other. But he too begins as part of a crowd; the narrator, after speaking of him, after waiting for him to make his appearance on the street, points him out: "That's Mr. Marblehall" (p. 91; my emphasis). He is "preciously... made," or thinks he is, as old, people do, who walk "like conspirators, bent over a little, filled with protection. They stand long on the comets but more impatiently than anyone, as if they expect traffic to take notice of them .... He looks quaintly secretive and prepared for anything, out walking very luxuriously on Catherine Street" (p. 91).

In successive paragraphs the narrator describes, perhaps a bit too snidely, Marblehall's wife, his smallish ancestral home on the shaling banks of the Mississippi, and his son, all of which set Marblehall firmly in a place, a social and historical context: as he walks back toward his small mansion, the narrator suggests that "you have to merge him back into his proper blur" (p. 93; my emphasis). He is so much a man of the crowd that even the narrator asks, "Why look twice at him?" (p. 93)--to which the answer is, because there are two of him. To demonstrate, the narrator follows him into his other life, his life as Mr. Bird; his double life is his claim on our attention.

However mystified and intrigued by character and by problems of fictional representation, Poe's and Hawthorne's narrators in these stories appear to take for granted some things that Welty does not. For Poe's and Hawthorne's narrators, there is a perceivable, describable world, a comfortable world, which they invoke simply by setting their stories in London, a signifier which bestows an external world--a character, a geography, a history--upon the story, and which they therefore do not feel obliged to represent.

Welty's narrator undertakes something quite different. Like London, Natchez has its own well-established signification, in some ways more potent and evocative than that of London because more particular, more historically singular. The Natchez setting is deliberate and significant precisely because of Natchez's purchase on history, because of its literary "placeness." Welty firmly fixes Marblehall in Natchez--among its antebellum houses, its Mississippi River banks, its antebellum past, and its pretentious Daughters of the American Revolution and United Daughters of the Confederacy aristocracy--partly because readers have an image of Natchez, even if they have never been there, which they impose upon this story. Welty specifically invoked Natchez's "Southernness" when in her revision of the Southern Review version for A Curtain of Green, she added the "United Daughters of the Confederacy" to the list of Mrs. Marblehall's social activities.

But after so firmly and deliberately fixing Marblehall in Natchez history and culture and geography, the narrator immediately proceeds to stress his very modem alienation from it, and the alien nature of Natchez itself. Indeed, Natchez protects itself from the ravages of its geographical constant, the Mississippi River, by a "box maze" which sits on the river's "edge like a trap" (p. 92). So that "Natchez," as historical place, as Pitavy-Souques has suggested, exists only to be deconstructed; in this story it is as illusory and problematic as Old Mr. Marblehall's double life.

Hawthorne reminds us that Wakefield is a fictional construct, and so abandons verisimilitude in the very act of making us aware of it. Wakefield and Poe's man are not attached to London, though they are in it: it is for all concerned merely a big city in which to get lost. Welty insists upon the verisimilar; she goes to lengths that Poe and Hawthorne do not to set Mr. Marblehall in a specific social and historical and geographical context. Mr. Marblehall, on the other hand, is a fixture in Natchez--his home is "ancestral"--and his people have been in Natchez since 1818, right after Mississippi became a state, when an ancestor came as an actor, to play a role on stage. Perhaps his status as a member of such a family helps account for the curious collocation of attitudes toward him, for the town's various degrees of awareness of him, and for why the narrator can claim on the one hand that "nobody gives a hoot" (p. 93) about any old Mr. Marblehall, but on the other hand everybody seems to maintain an almost preternatural consciousness of his Marblehall/Bird life.

The narrative voice is both closer to and farther away from Mr. Marblehall than that of "Wakefield," and the voice" is a disorienting composite of points of view which are never completely separable. I propose that the voices emerge from Mr. Marblehall's own highly self-conscious projections onto the town of those things he would think about himself if he were in a position to watch himself as the town is. Thus the narrative is generated out of Marblehall's desperate self-consciousness, his need to be observed, Like Wakefield, and like his Marblehall actor-ancestor, all he does is something to be viewed, something done to produce an appropriate reaction, a standing ovation, say, as if only in being an object of somebody else's gaze can he affirm his own significance.

He may double his life, but he does not make it any more eventful or significant. Indeed, he behaves the same way in each life, lying in bed reading Terror Tales and Amazing Stories. Mr. Marblehall's debilitating self-reflexivity, self-consciousness, may remind us of the man who dreams that he is a butterfly and then, waking, is not sure whether he is a human being who dreamed he was a butterfly or a butterfly now dreaming he is a man. Thus Mr. Marblehall may at one and the same time be storing up life, doubling it, and also killing time: his daring and extraordinary double life does not itself afford him any discernible pleasure, much less invest him with significance. His double life, like Wakefield's, merely gives exposure its own chance to affirm him. But Marblehall goes Wakefield one better, because he engenders a second child, creates a child precisely to follow him to his first home, discover him, and paint his singularity on a fence, for all to see. Thus Marblehall may be a "great blazing butterfly" imaginatively bursting from its cocoon and exploding magnificently upon the world, and at the same time be "stitching up a net" for his own capture; his double life does not afford him taste or pleasure or freedom from the quotidian. He hopes his double life will free him from dailiness, but in fact it merely repeats it, more firmly grounds him in it.

Welty's narrator tells us that at age sixty-six Mr. Marblehall has finally discovered the secret to life, "what people are supposed to do" (p. 96; my emphasis). They are, he thinks, supposed to "endure something inwardly--for a time secretly; they establish a past, a memory; thus they store up life" (p. 96). Mr. Marblehall has done this and more: he has "multiplied his life by deception," and having done so, he "speculates upon some glorious finish, a great explosion of revelations" (pp. 96-97) which, apparently, will reveal him to all eyes. But these glorious revelations will be in the future, and in the meantime he has to find a way "to kill time, and get through the clocking nights." Apparently he kills time by staying awake: "Otherwise he dreams that he is a great blazing butterfly stitching up a net; which doesn't make sense" (p. 97; my emphasis).

Indeed it does not "make sense." But very little in this astonishing story makes "sense," narrative or linguistic or logical. It is a story that seems not to permit itself to be read; its language seems in fact to stand in opposition to the story it is trying to tell: its sentences do not always cohere, its comparisons do not always compare, its pronouns too frequently float free of antecedents, its modifiers do not merely modify but cancel out or obstruct. Practically the only thing that makes interpretable, readable, "sense" is Mr. Marblehall's double life, and that only in its broadest outlines: the closer we get to the story's smallest component parts, the more nearly sense ravels out into a series of questions raised by verbal structures, descriptions and images, that do not quite compute, that do not yield themselves completely even after repeated readings, even after repeated attempts to impose interpretation on them. What are the "parlor-like jaws of self-consciousness" (p. 91) that Mrs. Marblehall has spent her life trying to escape? What does it mean that she has "a voice that dizzies other ladies like an organ note" but "amuses men like a halloo, down the well" (p. 92; my emphasis)? How does the clock that measures the time Mr. Marblehall kills get a "fruity bursting tick, to get through midnight" (p. 95)? Why is it that "when time is passing it's like a bug in [Mr. Marblehall's] ear" (p. 95)? And what does it signify that in Mr. Marblehall's yard there is a very curious statue which the narrator describes as the "stone figure of the pigtailed courtier mounted on the goat" (p. 96)? The narrator can not figure out what Mr. Bird is doing, bending over to stare at his odorless zinnias because it is "twilight, all amplified with locusts screaming; [and] nobody could see anything," but two sentences later, he is nevertheless "quite visible" (p. 94).

Sentences and paragraphs start in one direction, lop suddenly off, and move in another direction: before he figured things out, the narrator tells us, for example, Mr. Marblehall "didn't know what to do. Everything was for all the world like his first party. He stood about, and looked in his father's books"; we seem about to get some useful interpretive information, a pathology of family dysfunction perhaps, but almost as soon as this story gets started, the narrator disrupts it and jumps to a summary conclusion that deflects us away from Mr. Marblehall's childhood, toward something completely different, evasive: "and long ago he went to France, but he didn't like it" (p. 94). The prose is throughout opaque and fragmented; its joints do not always join. It has an oddness that keeps frustrating its own attempts to tell the story, all the while maintaining a tantalizing and evocative power that chips away at the boundaries of traditional narrative just as inexorably as the Mississippi River chips away at the base of the high bluff the Marblehall family mansion sits on.

The story's language, in all its shimmering fragmentation, operates as an objective correlative to Mr. Marblehall's constant nightmare reenactment of his life--for nightmare it is, with nightmare's own language of disruptions and evasions and substitutions, which both conceal and reveal, which both alienate one from oneself and reveal one to oneself, if one knows how to read the language. "Old Mr. Marblehall" is the most brilliant rendering in American fiction of nightmare's dreamwork that I know of save only for the original version of Faulkner's Sanctuary, which Welty of course could not have read in the late thirties.(6) Mr. Bird's life is a nightmare's crystallization of his Marblehall life to its horrific essences, which reveals to us its psychic realities.

The dreamwork begins as a simple reversal-substitution of his ancestral mansion on the river for one of the identical anonymous galleried houses at the other end of town where, after getting there, "you find yourself lost." "Nobody ever looks to see who is living in a house like that." Inhabitants of this part of town are people who in the evening "after they sit on the porch . . . go back into the house, and you hear the radio for the next two hours." The radio "seems to mourn and cry for them" (p. 94), voicing a kind of misery that becomes more intense as the dream moves to describe Mrs. Bird, a nightmarish version of his Marblehall wife. Mrs. Bird is "worse than the other one," standing on the "nightstained porch" and screaming things to a neighbor about what he does in bed, which obviously does not satisfy her. "She is more solid, fatter, shorter, and while not so ugly, funnier looking. She looks like funny furniture--an unornamented stair post in one of these little houses, with her small monotonous round stupid head." Sometimes she becomes the very picture of a woodcut of a "Bavarian witch, forefinger pointing," a picture accompanied in his vision by the telling detail of "scratches in the air all around her," which would be the artist's static rendering of her violent motion in casting spells--even though Mrs. Bird herself is "so static she scarcely moves, from her thick shoulders down past her cylindered brown dress to her short, stubby house slippers" (p. 94). From the porch, after screaming to her neighbors about his reading habits, she "rolls back into the house as if she had been on a little wheel." Their little nightmarish son has always "supposed that his mother was totally solid, down to her thick separated ankles" (p. 95).

Mr. Marblehall transfers his worst nightmare vision of his wife to this little Bird son. Mrs. Marblehall, with her "electric-looking hair" that on any occasion she dresses into a "unicorn horn," sings "O Trees in the Evening" with a voice that is "full of a hollow wind and echo, winding out through the wavery hope of her mouth." Her "untidy head trembles in the domestic dark." This neurotic, pretentious woman, with her own needs--she is "servile, undelighted, expensive, tortured" (pp. 91-92)--becomes, in the nightmare, Mrs. Bird, all of whose "devotion is combustible and goes up in despair." But the little boy's vision transmogrifies her into a hellish figure, the reductio ad absurdum of Mr. Marblehall's nightmare:

But when she stands there on the porch screaming to the neighbors, she

reminds him of those flares that charm him so, that they leave burning in

the street at night--the dark solid hall, then, tongue-like, the wicked,

yellow, continuous, enslaving blaze on the stem. (p. 95)

Hair becomes tongue becomes "enslaving blaze."

Thus Old Mr. Marblehall is also a petrified man--his very name is almost a palindrome, at the center of which is "Mr. Marble"--a man caught between two Medusas, perhaps both of them creations of his imagination. He is no Perseus to slay either of them, but clearly he fantasizes about doing so, spending his time in bed, in both lives, reading "Terror Tales and Astonishing Stories"

about horrible and fantastic things happening to nude women and scientists.

In one of them, when the characters open bureau drawers, they find a woman's

leg with a stocking and a garter on. (p. 95)

No wonder both women are unsatisfied.

Mr. Bird's son "knows what his father thinks" because Mr. Marblehall is that son, the self that the self creates, the self that is aware of the self. Mr. Marblehall believes he can have a life only if he can be observed having it; he seeks confirmation of his self through the gaze of an Other, even if he has to create that Other to do the gazing. Thus his imaginatively or biologically engendered son will, he fantasizes, follow him through the Natchez streets, like Hawthorne's and Poe's gazers, to try to read "the wild mystery" in his bosom. This modern man of the crowd, then, creates his own self-observing eye that will narrate his terrible singularity, shock the Natchez world with the dynamic mystery of his inner life, and so free him from the enslaving flames of his own despair. The great blazing butterfly of his dream may well be Welty's nightmarish genuflection to its more delicate cousin in Hawthorne's story "The Artist of the Beautiful," a fabulous, delicate mechanical reproduction of nature which a child's joyful touch destroys just as completely as the cynical hands of pragmatism have destroyed its predecessor. Marblehall's butterfly is an imaginative, wish-fulfilling explosion from his cocoon, an ecstatic release from his marble bonds, which even in his dreams he nevertheless knows he will experience some time "in the future" but not now. For now, he is John Marcher, waiting for experience, meaning, significance, to fall on him from somewhere else. For now, he is J. Alfred Prufrock, afraid to assert himself against his own meaninglessness. Thus he, the blazing butterfly, who would be free, keeps stitching up the net of his own containment. The narrative voice of "Old Mr. Marblehall," then, is Mr. Marblehall himself and the net he keeps stitching up is the net of language, which always fails him at the verge of articulation, refuses him the ecstatic release that full articulation would allow.

Welty's Southern "place" is, then, an interior place, whatever else it is, and she can get into the nooks and crannies of our most secret places with more sharpness and clarity than anybody I know. Old Mr. Marblehall may be, following Hawthorne and Poe, a man of the crowd, and he is exactly that, of course, when we see him within his "proper Natchez blur." He is not, however, merely an "everyperson," but is sharply, terrifyingly, personalized, like Poe's Man of the Crowd, Old Mr. Marblehall's breast contains "mysteries which will not suffer themselves to be read." His modernness lies in his repression of those mysteries into a nightmare narrative that simultaneously begs and refuses to be read. Welty's narrator assumes, like Poe's, that there is a "wild history" in her characters' bosoms, a history inscribed in violent fantasies of escape from the meaninglessness of his Natchez life, from the despair of his marriage. Alas, however, it will not be his lot, like Poe's man, to die soon "with despair of heart and convulsion of throat" while "wringing the hand of a ghostly confessor." That is not for this modern man, who must continue to endure what he has stored up. "Old Mr. Marblehall"'s final paragraph is a pithy and chilling, an astonishingly intimate and personal invocation of modern alienation and despair: "Old Mr. Marblehall! He may have years ahead yet in which to wake up bolt upright in bed under the naked bulb, his heart thumping, his old eyes watering, imagining that if people knew about his double life, they'd die" (p. 97).

Mr. Marblehall is both a man of and a man alienated from the Natchez crowd. His geographical and historical place grant him nothing of identity, and except for the narrator's grace in placing him in language, he would be as empty a signifier as any character in American fiction. Unlike Wakefield, he indeed does seem able to "seize hold of words," but in the problematical world of modernist fictional language, the very words he seizes are often as empty of coherent signification as he is. Like those of Poe's Man of the Crowd there are indeed wild mysteries written in his bosom; but they are written in a language emerging from the modern unconscious, which is indisputably the predominant landscape, even in old-fashioned Natchez, Mississippi, of Welty's fictional world.

(*) This is a revised version of an essay that originally appeared in Literature in Wissenchaft und Unterricht 29.4 (1996), 261-270, and is reprinted here with the permission of the editors. I am especially grateful to Peter Nicolaisen for his many editorial suggestions.

(1) Poe "The Man of the Crowd" (1840), Edgar Allen Poe: Poetry and Tales (New York. Library of America, 1984), pp. 388-396; Hawthorne, "Wakefield" (1835), Nathaniel Hawthorne. Tales and Sketches (New York. Library of America, 1982), pp. 290-298.

(2) Mildred Travis, "A Note on `Wakefield' and `Old Mr. Marblehall,'" Notes on GM Literature (1974), 9-10.

(3) Pitavy-Souques, "Blazing Butterfly: The Modernity of Eudora Welty," in Welty: A Life in Literature, ed. Albert J. Devlin (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1987), pp. 113-138.

(4) In 1944 Welty reviewed Woolf's posthumous The Haunted House, and paid particular attention to "An Unwritten Novel." See Eudora Welty: A Writer's Eye. Collected Book Reviews, ed. Pearl Amelia McHaney (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1994), pp. 25-29.

(5) An ironist might suspect that she in fact does recognize him and refuses to admit it, but there is no evidence of such irony in the text--which is a very good reason to believe that the narrator, like our author, is a male! But it is pleasant to a modernist to suggest that she may believe herself well rid of him.

(6) Originally written in 1929, Faulkner revised it heavily in proof before its publication in 1931. See Sanctuary: The Original Text, ed. Noel Polk (New York: Random House, 1981).
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Title Annotation:Special Issue: Eudora Welty
Author:Polk, Noel
Publication:The Mississippi Quarterly
Date:Sep 22, 1997
Words:5329
Previous Article:Place and time: the Southern writer's inheritance.
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