Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Katherine Ann Porter

I chose Katherine Ann Porter because her story, Theft, reminded me of the chick-lit that I am so fond of. The main character, an overly pampered debutante or heiress, reminded me of the recent wave of over priviliged and wealthy society women that we see on television or gossip columns. On one of the sites I found concerning Porter, http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/database/porter_k.htm lit told me that Porter actually did live the “cosmopolitan” lifestyle alluded to in Theft although she was born and raised in Texas, not New York which she eventually inhabited later in life. At the age of 15, she began her first dramatic career, marriage when she married her first of four husbands. Her life was typically plagued by vicious drama and when she contracted tuberculosis in her twenties that fueled the beginning of her fiction career. She began publishing collections of stories during the forties that were filled with themes of justice and bravery, similar to fighting a battle with illness. She also associated with a group of other Southern writers, including Allen Tate, whose poem I analyzed for the last paper. Her writing was very critical of the social changes occurring in the United States although her personal lifestyle would suggest the contrary. Although an associated Nazi and jet set New Yorker, her scathing rhetoric won her a Pulitzer Prize in 1962 even though Collected Stories came during a dry period in her writing. Porter outlived all of her writing contemporaries before passing away at the age of ninety in 1980. Katherine Ann Porter, complete with her biting repartee and rhetoric, is a staple of women in American twentieth century literature.



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