The Robber Bridegroom
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The Robber Bridegroom

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  682 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Legendary figures of Mississippi's past - flatboatman Mike Fink and the dreaded Harp brothers - mingle with characters from Eudora Welty's own imagination in an exuberant fantasy set along the Natchez Trace. Berry-stained bandit of the woods Jamie Lockhart steals Rosamond, the beautiful daughter of pioneer planter Clement Musgrove, to set in motion this frontier fairy tale...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 8th 1978 by Mariner Books (first published 1942)
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Based on a Brothers Grimm fairy tale of the same name, the novella evinces masterful use of narrative compression which gives it the ring of parable. Set before the American Revolution, Clement, a Southern planter who has done quite well for himself, returns home from selling his tobacco to the British and must spend a night in town before traveling to his rural farm the next day. Sharing a bed with two other men, Clement finds himself beholden to one, Jamie Lockhart--a bandit though Clement doe...more
3 stars for the story and 5 for the writing

Eudora Welty has been on my TBR list for a while because of her reputation for writing gripping stories about the American South, so when I learned recently that she is the first living writer (at the time...sadly she is now deceased) to have her works published by the Library of America (of which I am a huge fan) it only piqued my interest further.

The Robber Bridegroom happens to be the first story in a Library of America publication of her complete no...more
I heard of this book through the DVD commentary of the film "Candy," with Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish. The writer planted The Robber Bridegroom on Ledger's character's nightstand, which I never would have noticed on my own. The film mention piqued my curiosity, and honestly I'm amazed that I hadn't read any Eudora Welty up till now.

The novel is loosely inspired by the German fairytale collected by the Brothers Grimm and contains all the classic elements of great storytelling - mistaken identi...more
Brent Legault
I am often bored by fairy tales and especially modern (I consider 1942 to be modern)books or stories that desire to be fairy tales but this particular tale did not bore me in the least. It might have been its sense of humor or its garishness (like a literary Uncle Pecos Bunyan). But most probably it was because of its many wonderful turns of phrase, like Welty wished to drop our lovely tongue down a rabbit hole or shove it through a mirror.
Isaac Blevins
Mar 21, 2008 Isaac Blevins rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: southerners, southern lit fans, folklorists
Shelves: classics
Taking plot lines and characters from the best of folktales and southern literature, Eudora Welty creates an enchanting novel. I had never read any Welty before I read this novel as a senior in high school. I quickly found that she truly captures the strange and often unbelievable qualities of the south.
While it is certainly not her most famous work, I think that this is a good starting point for anyone who wants to begin reading one of the queens of southern literature.
Literary Relish
What a treat this little book is! An adult fairy tale with a twist, Welty, inspired (I assume) somewhat not only by her homeland, but by the Brothers Grimm themselves, tells the tale of Jamie Lockhart; a charismatic outlaw terrorising the population of deepest darkest Mississpi with his band of thieves, and Rosamund Musgrow; a completely innocent and utterly stupid young woman who wanders the countryside in her expensive silk gown, blissfully unaware of her evil stepmothers' burning desire to ge...more
I have to admit - I enjoyed this novel more than I thought I would! It's a slim volume, with very easy to read prose, witty asides and interesting turns of phrases. It reads like a fairy tale, tall tale and parable all rolled up in one. The plot this story follows is very fanciful, full of mis-communications, unlikely coincidences, and meaningful imagery. While the story is inspired by The Robber Bridegroom, I feel there are also influences of the Greek myth Psyche and Eros and Beauty and the Be...more
Based on the fairytale of the same name, Eudora Welty evokes the American Frontier for her adaptation. The story follows Rosamund, a farmer's daughter, and Jamie, a robber/gentleman, who fall in love with each other (without even knowing it). Keeping with the fairytale-vibe, the characters often feel very two-dimensional, as though the goals and emotions set at the start of the story are a constant for the entire story. The Frontier setting allows Welty to use Native Americans as both a magical...more
Kristen Smith
Someone put "3 stars for the story and 5 for the writing" and I would have to agree. It's hard to accept a man who robs women of their virtue and men of their riches as a hero. However, the writing lulls you in and you want things to work out at least for the father and daughter. So for their sakes, the villain, who is mild compared to the other villains, is acceptable as a hero.
I'd been meaning to cover this gap in my Southern writer reading for a while. I meant to pick up Welty's short stories, but I couldn't find her complete works, and a Grimm's fairy tale retold with a southern folklore twist was too tempting to pass up.
The book surprised me with how well the folkloric southern setting worked; there is no incongruity with the fairy-tale tone of the characters or plot: castle's and princesses work just as well as plantations and plantation heiresses (though the non...more
Hmmmm, not a fan of this one. I didn't like the undercurrent of rape, and on top of that to suggest the woman liked it. NO!!! A thousand times NO!!!
Dec 20, 2007 Katy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of re-worked fairytales & southern gothic ficiton.
Shelves: the-south
A re-working of the classic Grimms Bros fairytale of the same name, this novella is classic Welty. Full of heavy, lush scenery and human relationships, The Robber Bridegroom pulls all of the stops of Southern Gothic literature. Southern folk heroes, such as famed river-boatman Mike Fink, rub elbows with gorgeous belles and dastardly bandits. The characters are rather one-dimensional, but this seems to be intentional on the authors part - they are allegorical throughout. A fun, quick read with cl...more
Sep 13, 2008 Alison rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: interested in Welty
I love Welty's descriptions of the people and places of the South of her generation, but I couldn't make much of this.

Supposedly a re-telling of Grimm's fairy tale "The Robber Bridegroon" (relocated along Mississippi's Natchez Trace), this tale is fantastical, dark (including rape and torture), and for me, a bit difficult to follow.

Someone also adapted this one into a Broadway musical in the 70's. If you want to see what Welty's all about, try "The Optimist's Daughter", "Delta Wedding", or some...more
This is very much an American folk tale version of a fairy tale. Apparently it was a Grimm fairy tale, but it has chose of Cupid and Psyche. It is good, but strange. Fairy tales generally take disturbing content and wrap it in a palatable package, but it was not able to completely still my sensibilities about this one. The love story is so twisted that it was hard to enjoy. Rape and Stockholm syndrome can be glossed over, but never truly sanitized. I did really like the voice and storytelling cr...more
I read all the Grimm fairytales as a child, but did not remember this one, so I just found it and read it. I love the good gruesome ones; so many people do not know that the original fairy tales are bloody and dark. At any rate, the Welty version was interesting, but I have little else to say about it. It has been a long while since I have read this author, but while browsing through the public library, I found this and checked it out. You can read the original tale at
Janis Kay
Very original version of Cinderella. I personally like this better:) I had to read it for AP English and the stark contrast between this and the Disney version strikes me funny and makes the tale more enjoyable.

My college recently put up a theatrical version (musical actually). I regret not seeing it, but I was told that it was only loosely based on the book, so I didn't feel so bad after that hehe.

I heartily recommend this book for those looking for "fairy tales" with a little less "fairy" in...more
Sandra Willey
Nearly in a class by itself, strangely reminiscent of The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, with an aura of real magic, the flavor of superstition that has strayed across into the land of archetypes and ancient wisdom. If it were not a book (you see, even now I cannot call it a novel or fiction), it would be one of those dreams that stay with you for days to disturb the pedestrian day waking often confused with reality.
Jean C
It's definitely a fairy-tale-ish book, and a super quick read. Welty has many beautifully crafted sentences within it, but they couldn't make up for the silliness of the book. There were laugh-out-loud moments for sure with puns and witty humor, but I'm not a fan of the story overall, and would not read it again. I did skim A LOT of the book, so maybe I missed some important points.
Jun 04, 2008 Louise added it
I did my grad thesis on Eudora Welty, but hadn't read this. What a delight! If you're expecting vintage Welty, forget it; but if you want Welty on a romp, you'll go along for the ride -- a delightful retelling that fleshes out the original and widens your appreciation of that "southern maiden lady" who lived her whole life in Oxford and the human heart.
Honestly, this book wasn’t all that great. It was almost written as if for young children. Ridiculous, hardly descriptive, and weak characters set in a hardly described world of the early 19th century. This book should have been written as poetry, it seems. There were some good elements to this book, such as the humor. My rating: Two Stars
Karenbike Patterson
Not your typical Eudora Welty novel. This is a fairy tale based on the epic about Odin. There is a beautiful damsel-Rosamond- kidnapped by a bandit in disguise- Jammie Lockhart- from her father and evil stepmother. Other colorful characters like Little Harp and Goat feature in this adventure. The book reads like a story for children.
Feb 07, 2011 Jimmy added it
Well, this is brilliant. It's a real fairytale because it believes in itself. It's not the postmodern "take" on the fairytale, it's not someone's horseshit thesis on the "role of myth in our lives," none of that tertiary garbage. It's just an honest-to-god true tale, full of beauty and wonder and adventure. i love it.
Bridget R. Wilson
A delightful mix of Mississippi folk heroes and borrowings from the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales. The tales Welty borrows from are "The Robber Bridegroom," "The Goose Girl," "Little Snow-white," "Cinderella,"Rumplestiltskin,” “The Fisherman and His Wife,” and “Rapunzel.” A must read for fairy tale lovers.
The Robber Bridegroom is more farce and fantasy than I expected from Welty. Once I got passed the initial "Huh?" it was a fun read with death and destruction handled in a carefree, matter of fact tone. It's better than her Losing Battles, but not as good as Delta Wedding. It's a quick read.
Short and sweet. I wish I could read it from the point of view of someone living when it was first published (1942); it must have been a bit of pure escape from the terrors of WWII. It's a fable that will seem familiar, but yet its unique qualities will stick with the reader for a long time.
Aug 16, 2008 Jessica rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Classic Literature Fans :-)
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
This book isn't exactly...normal. (I guess that would be the right word *grin*) A mixture of Louisiana Cajuns, fairy-tale and adventure.
It's not what I'd call thrilling, but it is well-written and interesting. :-)

"The Robber Bridegroom" certainly has a special place in classic literature.
I'm teaching a course on the fairy tale this fall & was looking for a modern book that uses fairy tale motifs or re-works fairy tales. Welty's Robber Bridegroom is a terrific amalgam of fairy tale, myth, and Southern history. It was a real surprise and I greatly enjoyed it.
I went back and forth between three and four stars and decided on three stars. I liked it just fine, but wasn't blown away. While I loved the melding of all sorts of different "fairy tales" I think this would have been stronger had it focused on one. But, that might just be me.
Stephanie Ricker
This short novel is a Southern American retelling of the Grimm’s fairy tale. Welty’s tone is very in keeping with Grimm, and though she changes the tale a good deal, you’ll feel like you’re reading a hundreds-of-years-old story. Beautiful and bizarre and perfect.
I can't believe it took me so long to read this, and I loved it. I love the way she writes, and she is so adept at witty sentences. The fairytale, bigger-than-life characters appealed to me, and I am going to read more of her works now.
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Eudora Alice Welty was an award-winning American author who wrote short stories and novels about the American South. Her book The Optimist's Daughter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 and she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among numerous awards. She was the first living author to have her works published by the Library of America.

Welty was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and lived a sig...more
More about Eudora Welty...
The Collected Stories The Optimist's Daughter One Writer's Beginnings (William E.Massey Senior Lectures in the History of American Civilization) (The William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization) Delta Wedding The Ponder Heart

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