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With Elizabeth and Her Cats

Bobbie Ann Mason
p. 273-275

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Studied authors:

Elizabeth Spencer
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Full text document will be published online on June 2021.

First lines

I knew Elizabeth Spencer through the Fellowship of Southern Writers. A founding member of that group, she was always a congenial spirit at the biennial gatherings, and everybody wanted to hang out with her. Steve Yarbrough, one of her fellow Mississippi-born writers, remarked to me last year, a few months before she died, “If anyone asked me who was the finest contemporary writer from Mississippi, I would have to say Elizabeth.” Recently he added, “I also think she’s the most underrated Southern writer of all.”

She once wrote me an appreciative letter about a story of mine in the Southern Review. She was known for doing this—for initiating literary conversation with writers who came to her attention and for encouraging younger writers. Allan Gurganus got one of those letters, too, about his first story, when he was in his twenties. It was the world to him.

I was privileged to attend Elizabeth’s ninetieth birthday party in 2011 at Allan’s house in North Carolina. I sat next to her for ...

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Bibliographical reference

Bobbie Ann Mason, “With Elizabeth and Her Cats”Journal of the Short Story in English, 72 | 2019, 273-275.

Electronic reference

Bobbie Ann Mason, “With Elizabeth and Her Cats”Journal of the Short Story in English [Online], 72 | Spring 2019, Online since 01 June 2021, connection on 23 January 2021. URL:

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About the author

Bobbie Ann Mason

Bobbie Ann Mason is the author of several works of fiction, including Shiloh and Other Stories and the novels In Country and The Girl in the Blue Beret. Her memoir, Clear Springs, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Her new novel, Dear Ann, will appear in 2020.

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