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The Robber Bridegroom Paperback – November 8, 1978


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Product Details

  • Series: Harvest/HBJ Book
  • Paperback: 185 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; 1st edition (November 8, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156768070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156768078
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #780,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

EUDORA WELTY (1909-2001) was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and attended the Mississippi State College for Women, the University of Wisconsin, and Columbia University (where she studied advertising). In addition to short fiction, Welty wrote novels, novellas, essays, and reviews, and was the winner of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeronimo on April 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
Eudora Welty borrowed from the old Brothers Grimm fairy tale 'The Robber Bridegroom' to create this story that is part fairy tale, part historical fantasy, and very strange. Instead of old Europe, the action takes place in the southern United States. The old characters are all there: the innocent daughter, the merchant father, the irascible thief who becomes the 'bridegroom', and some new people have been added. A wicked stepmother, a boy named Goat, and an Indian tribe are just a few of the extras.
Apparently some of the characters, like Mike Fink and the Harp brothers, were real people, or at least were part of American folklore. Welty combines old world and new world fairy tales to create something completely unique. If you know the story of the Robber Bridgroom, you'll see how Welty has slyly snuck in very subtle similarities (the bird in the cage), and you'll be astonished at how much the ending was changed from the original story.
The book moves with rapid speed through larger than life situations. The Indians cooked and ate the merchant's family and he and his daughter escaped, THEN he married the evil Salome, THEN some guy tried to kill him while he slept with his bag of gold, THEN Lockhart carried his daughter away naked, THEN... It becomes almost too frantic, and you might need to go back a few pages now and again to make sure you didn't miss something. It's probably not the best introduction to Welty, but it's one of her most colorful works. For an elegantly written, surrealist fairy tale, you can't do much better than this.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
A beautifully written blend of fairy tale imagery, evocative prose, and Southern folklore. Welty's mastery of colloquial speech and her rich descriptions of the Natchez wilderness are the high points in my mind. A short novel with a somewhat lively plot, diligent readers shouldn't have a problem finishing this one off in one or two sittings. Overall, I found it to be a very promising first novel by the Pulitzer Prize winning author.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on October 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
He has long blond hair, carries a talking raven on his shoulder, and both outwits and outfights stupid but wily giants. Who is he? If you guessed "Odin", you've been reading the same sagas and folk tales I have -- and specifically the Twice-Told Tales of Nathaniel Hawthorne -- but the answer this time is Jamie Lockhart the Robber Bridegroom, the abductor of Rosamond, beautiful princess-like daughter of the rich planter Clement Musgrove, hated by her wicked-witch step-mother Salome. Others have recognized the folk-tale roots of Eudora Welty's first published novel, most recently the voracious reader and reviewer Herr Schneider; whether those roots are German or Norse makes little difference, though I'd argue that the secondary characters in this narrative - Little Harp, Goat, and Mike Fink - are trolls pure and simple. Younger readers, if there are any, might put the cart before the horse and compare this 1942 fantasy with the Coen Brothers Southern Gothic film "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" In fact, there are plenty of homegrown 19th C American antecedents for The Robber Bridegroom, especially the almost-forgotten "Flush Times in Alabama and Mississippi" by Baldwin.

This is a rollickingly funny book, no matter what else one might claim to find in it. It's a comic antidote to all the dead-serious mythification of William Faulkner, an intentional (I think) counterweight to the exaggerated self-reverence of Southern culture. And it's short! About the length of a good viking romance.

Clement Musgrove, the planter father, is a curiously honorable man in a world where the only dishonor is getting thwarted in your rascality.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gypsi Phillips Bates VINE VOICE on May 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
Welty's first published novel is a retelling of Psyche and Cupid, with a decidedly American twist. Instead of turning the Greek myth into a fairy tale, she's created a delightfully unbelievable, far-fetched and bizarre "tall tale".
Many of the elements of a fairy tale are there--the wicked stepmother, the beautiful heroine, the naive and loving father, the handsome hero--but these are overshadowed by tall tale traits such as the superb stretching-of-the-truth skills by nearly everyone encountered from the mail rider who was swallowed by a crocodile to our heroine, Rosamond, who can't tell a truth to save her life.
The story takes place along the Natchez Trace in Mississippi with "Red Indians", robbers and a few famous American tall tale characters filling up the bad guy roster--with the hero, Jamie, switching sides regularly. Rosamond's father Clement Musgrove is a wealthy planter who meets Jamie at an inn and unwittingly brings his disruptive presence into Musgrove family.
Many deaths, lies, misunderstandings and berry stains later, Rosamond and Jamie do live happily ever after. . . and Rosamond even starts telling the truth. . . well mostly the truth, "it was all true but the blue canopy".
This fanciful tale is a well-executed, superbly written, pleasant read and it's only afterwards that one realizes that Welty added a bit of acid to this pleasurable brew.
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