Pictured above: Carson McCullers, Carl Van Vechten, photographer, July 31, 1959/Creative Americans: Portraits by Carl Van Vechten, 1932-1964/LOC
VAV!/February 21, 2014
Novelist, Carson McCullers, was born Lula Carson Smith in Columbus, Georgia, on February 19, 1917. She was notable for her research into modern American life and dilemmas in the twentieth-century South.
Her limited but insightful body of work includes five novels, two plays, twenty short stories, some two dozen nonfiction pieces, a book of children's verse, poetry, and an unfinished autobiography. She published her first novel, 1940s "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" at 23. The book takes a look into the lives of four individuals. Among them are an adolescent girl, a radical, a black physician, and a widower. Each struggling in their own ways to carve a niche in a small Southern town during the Great Depression. Other works include; "Reflections in a Golden Eye" (1941), "The Member of the Wedding" (1946). The book, adapted to stage and enjoying a Broadway run in 1950-51 takes an in-depth look into a young girl's feelings at her brother's wedding.. Other similar works by McCullers was "The Ballad of the Sad Café" (1951), "Clock Without Hands (1961), and a play, "The Square Root of Wonderful" . Her works are considered to be in the genre of the Southern gothic school of writing, joining notables such as William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, and Truman Capote.
Following a life marred by complications of cerebral strokes, attributed to rheumatic fever as a child, McCullers died at age 50 on September 29, 1967. Today, The Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians is dedicated to preserving Carson McCullers legacy; to nurturing American writers and musicians; to educating young people; and to fostering the literary and musical life of Columbus, the State of Georgia, and the American South. The Center operates a museum in McCullers' childhood home in Columbus, Georgia.