Friday, September 16, 2011

Katherine Anne Porter

Kathrine Anne Porter
April 1965, Spring Vally, Washington D.C.
By Paul Porter.

Parlor Figure Name:Katherine Anne Porter
Born Callie Russell Porter

Birth-Death:May 15, 1890 – September 18, 1980

Residence:Born in Indian Creek, TX
She has also lived in Louisiana, Colorado, Mexico, and throughout parts of Europe.

Occupation: Singer, Actress, Writer

What’s this person best known for? Katherine Anne Porter is best known for her Pulitzer Prize winning fiction writing.

Race/Ethnicity/Religion (if important): Converted to Catholicism to appease an abusive husband.1

Politics: Porters earliest political activities were feminism and socialism. Reportedly she published a defense of women’s suffrage at age 14, converted to socialism at 15, and took on all social and political problems when she was 18. 2
Porter continually switch sides throughout her life at a very young age she spoke out for women's suffrage rights despising the term "feminist" and preferring to be called h a "modernist". During the twenties and early thirties Porter aligned herself with leftist radicals and communist, and then late thirties she choose to affiliate herself with more rightest radicals wishing to restore herself to more southern traditional ways in religion, economics, and values. 5

Beliefs about relation between art and politics (if applicable): Quote: “I look forward to a world in which the artist has his place as useful being, not for political purposes, but in his true function, which is that of a finder, a bringer, giver of new forms of expression based on life, but seen with imagination and creativeness.” 2

Major Activities in the 1930s: During the most part of 1930s Porter lived in Mexico and Europe there she witnessed many of the atrocities of It wasn’t until the summer of 1936 did she accept her first writers retreat in the United States it was during this time that Porter began her work on Pale Horse, Pale Rider. Porter then moved to New Orleans and married her fifth husband. 1

Major Works (include dates and place of publication where applicable): The Flowering Judas, New York, Hound and Horn, 1930; novel
Pale Horse Pale Rider, New York, 1939, novellas

Places where figure’s work often appears (magazines, radio, nightclubs, galleries): Her literary works have been published in news papers, magazines, as well as in a variety of short story and novel collections.

Organizations s/he belongs to, causes s/he supports: While in Mexico Porter was a card carrying member of the PCM or Communist Party of Mexico, although it is not quite known how involved she was with the party.5
Upon her return to States in 1936 Porter became affiliated with a group of fellow southern writers known as the Agrarians.5

Best sound bites by or about this figure, including source (if this person is a writer, you must include a quote by him or her): "I have a great deal of religious symbolism in my stories because I have a very deep sense of religion and also I have a religious training. And I suppose you don't say, 'I'm going to have the flowering judas tree stand for betrayal,' but of course it does." 3

Was this person a popular or critical success? No, she is mostly overlooked in comparison to other writers of her day.

Any Gossip? Multiple failed marriages, miscarriages, and stillbirths.4

Fun Facts to Know and Tell:Porter was married over five times with men as young 20 years her junior. It was rumored that Porter was briefly married American poet Hart Crane who ultimately committed suicide.4

Titles of the 1-3 “texts” (writing, photos, songs, etc.) by this person you’ll discuss in your paper (include date and place of publication, if applicable):
1. The Flowering Judas; New York: Modern Library, 1930
2. Pale Horse, Pale Rider; New York, Harcourt, Brace and Co. 1939

What primary research have you done?I have delved into the many critical reviews and articles written about Porters personal life and professional career. As well as reviewing correspondent between Porter and friends.

Connections with other parlor figures:
Porter was a contributor to The New Republic at the time Malcolm Cowley was editor, she was also close friends with his wife Peggy Cowley.
During her stay in Mexico Porter became close friends with Diego Rivera and attempted to sell some of his work in the United States before he was known outside of Mexico.5

1. Janis P. Stout. "Porter, Katherine Anne";; American National Biography Online Feb. 2000.
2. Unrue, D. (1993). Katherine Anne Porter, politics, and another reading of `Theft'. Studies in Short Fiction, 30(2), 119. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
3. Reuben, Paul P. "Chapter 7: Early Twentieth Century - Katherine Anne Porter." PAL: Perspectives in American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide. URL: ( 9 September 2011 ).

5.Stout, J.P. (1995) Katherine Anne Porter: A Sense of the Times. Virginia: University Press of Virginia.

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