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Katherine Anne Porter’s Manuscript of “The Grave,” 1935


ISSUE:  Fall 2015

In our Spring 1935 issue, VQR published Katherine Anne Porter’s “The Grave,” a work of short fiction that has been anthologized often since it first appeared in our pages. Solicited by VQR Editor Lambert Davis for the tenth-anniversary issue on “Southern letters,” Porter submitted a manuscript of autobiographical fiction from which Davis selected a section with, in his words, “more movement than the other parts, and a certain symbolism which completes it artistically and allows it to stand on its own feet.” While the editor and writer were still considering potential excerpts, Porter must have become concerned that she might be left out of the special issue, for she wrote him: “I have never insisted violently on my Southernness, as writer, because being a Southerner is for me quite literally as natural as breathing. But just the same if there is going to be an all-Southern number I almost feel like insisting that I must be in it.” She was, indeed, in the issue—and in the canon, too. Her manuscripts are in the VQR archives in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia.

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