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The Robber Bridegroom

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  794 ratings  ·  97 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,591)
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William1
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
Shaun
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
Keleigh
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.
Portia
My motivation for reading The Robber Bridegroom was because my GoodsReads group was discussing it. I found I didn't warm to it. All the way through, it seemed to me that Ms. Welty was seeing if she could write a folk tale. The book seemed to me like an exercise, as though she'd given herself a class assignment. Toward the end, I got the impression that she ad forgotten to add Native Americans, so threw in a tribe for good measure. Not my favorite book.
Patrick Gibson
This is a superbly fantastic book! Ms Welty paints a really sweet picture of the old time South of Mississippi and the old Natchez Trace area by the river. An older gentleman planter wants to find a gentleman for to marry his only daughter named Rosamond. The similes are really nice and plentiful :p.63 It was so early that the green was first there, then not there in the treetops, but green seemed to beat on the air like a pulse. Rosamond has a mean stepmother who is extremely jealous of her you ...more
Jen
Feb 20, 2015 Jen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
This book started slow for me because it seemed like a book about people who do stupid things. However, it's more than that and Welty proves to have a fine sense of the absurd. Did I get belly laughs out of this? No. But I did get a few snorts out of it. The more one reads, the more nuances drift through it like mists along the Natchez Trace. A mist set with barbs. It's the sort of book where one gets to the end and suspects that rereading with what one knows now would yield new insights. And at ...more
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.
Karen S
I found this book on a list of "Books worth a Second reading". Well, since I had never read it the first time, nor had I ever heard of the author (probably ignorant, I know!) I thought I'd l give it a go. I had no idea what to expect and was a bit bothered by the story's progression until I realized that this book is a fairy tale..full of outrageous events, fantastical characters, and a story line that you would expect, well, in a fairy tale. Once I recognized that, I was quite amused as the sto ...more
Helen
I only read this story because I'm going to a musical production of The Robber Bridegroom put on by at a local college theater.

I must say I was not entranced by this Old World fairy tale set in New World Mississippi along the Natchez Trace. There's an evil stepmother, a Cinderella-type daughter, a talking dead head (really!!)in a trunk, alligators, Indians, and if you can believe it, a robber who is able to disguise himself by just applying berry juice. The only charm of the book is that of the
...more
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
Charlene
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
Katy
This is more of a novella than a novel. It is written in the style of a fairy tale with stock characters: innocent daughter, oblivious father, evil stepmother, deceitful stranger; but it also exhibits the humorous aspects of the American tall tale - in fact Mike Fink is a character. Her descriptions of the swamps and the forest are precise, but I did not find anything particularly humorous, entertaining, or remarkable. It is the first novel I have read by Welty; it may be the last.
Michelle
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
Jodie
Wildly farcical fairy tale. Talk about the reader being required to suspend disbelief -- the reader of this Eudora Welty novel needs to do that before reading even the first page. Clement Musgrove, daughter Rosamund, wicked step mom Salome, horse-riding bandit, Jamie Lockhart. The tale is so exaggerated that if the book weren't under 200 pages I may not have made it through.
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.
Lane
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
Shazia
I read this because Welty has is renowned writer in the southern style. That may be true generally (I've heard since that her short stories are quite different), but I really disliked this book. It was basically a tall tale. Fine if that is what you are looking for, but I wasn't, and I only dragged myself through to the end of this very short book.
Sarah
I read this because I am planning a trip to Mississippi. I have never read anything by this author before so I don't know if this type of freaky fairy tale is consistent with her style. I enjoyed the story -- it was colorful, well written, entertaining, and evocative of what I imagine the landscape to be -- but it was not at all what I expected.
Cherie In the Dooryard
Once I gave up trying to dig out what this was trying to *say* (an unfortunate habit us former English majors always seem to hang on to) and instead decided to simply enjoy it, it became much better. An odd, magical, strange little story with lush-yet-restrained prose.
Brent
So much fun. A number of years ago I'd seen the musical and was enchanted by it. I had forgotten it, but now that I'm doing a "Southern Gothic Summer" for Riverside Library, I actually read the book. It is charming.
Gina Whitlock
I really wanted to like this book more than I actually did. The story is based on a Grimms fairy tale of the same name. The characters seem silly and shallow. There is no moral center. Just a very forgettable story.
Liz Polding
A retelling of a classic fairy story, but with the 'victim' holding many, if not most of the cards, in spite of the assumptions of her father and 'husband' that they should take charge of her life, that she should passively acquiesce to their ideas of what is best for her.
Dorothy
there's a lot of violence and rape in this short book. I didn't know much about it going in, but I wouldn't call it a delightful fairy tale. more like a rapey nightmare.
Julia
The language was beautiful, but I found the characters to erratic to be enthralled by the story.
I think that I did not read it from a "fable" enough POV.
Ann
A more modern take on a gruesome Grim fairy tale,with romance and tall tale Americans thrown in for good measure. This was much more fun that I expected.
Carol
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!!!
Suzanne
Three stars for the writing, but This fairy tale adaptation was too dark for my liking.
Nicole
That was easily one of the strangest things I have ever read. Not in a bad way, though.
Alexandra
Beautiful, haunting little tale that I never regret revisiting.
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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
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More about Eudora Welty...
The Collected Stories The Optimist's Daughter One Writer's Beginnings Delta Wedding The Ponder Heart

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