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Remembering Elizabeth Spencer

Allan Gurganus
p. 265-266

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Elizabeth Spencer

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Ce document sera publié en ligne en texte intégral en juin 2021.

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This tribute was initially featured on the Paris Review blog and is used here with the author’s permission.


When she died last December at the age of 98, the novelist Elizabeth Spencer was described as “a national treasure.” Author of nine novels, eight story collections, a memoir and a play, she had mastered every mode of literary fiction. Her first novel appeared in 1948 and her most recent book in 2016. On the page, Spencer makes what’s technically difficult seem unusually clear and then psychologically inevitable. From the start, her voice was praised for its tonal nuance, its stratospheric empathy. Spencer had the gift for infusing social situations with a bullfight’s fatality.

Born in 1921 to the waning plantation culture of Carrollton, Mississippi, Spencer spent her childhood in a racial interdependency both fragile and absolute. She grew up owning a horse and believing in ghosts. Everyone, of course, needs a healthy sense of humor. And, maybe American Southerners stand in g...

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Référence papier

Allan Gurganus, « Remembering Elizabeth Spencer », Journal of the Short Story in English, 72 | 2019, 265-266.

Référence électronique

Allan Gurganus, « Remembering Elizabeth Spencer », Journal of the Short Story in English [En ligne], 72 | Spring 2019, mis en ligne le 01 juin 2021, consulté le 28 novembre 2020. URL :


Allan Gurganus

Allan Gurganus’s fiction has been translated into sixteen languages. His books include Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, White People, Plays Well with Others, The Practical Heart and Local Souls. Gurganus’s essays are seen on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times and in The New York Review of Books. His forthcoming work is The Uncollected Stories of Allan Gurganus. He has been awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the American Academy’s Sue Kaufman Prize for best first novel, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lambda Literary Award and the National Magazine Prize. Film adaptations of Gurganus’s work have won four Emmys. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Gurganus co-founded Writers Against Jesse Helms. His novel in progress is The Erotic History of a Country Baptist Church.

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