THE OPTIMIST'S DAUGHTER
by EUDORA WELTY 180 pages. Random House. $5.95.
Too often Eudora Welty has been thought of as a Southern lady and a spinster who wrote genteel something-or-others while her fellow Mississippian William Faulkner manfully immortalized the state. The truth is that ever since she published A Curtain of Green in 1941 she has been producing stories and novels of wonderful proportion and symmetry, written with a high sense of comedy, immense tenderness and no sentimentality at all. Their collective qualities this month won her the prestigious Gold Medal for Fiction from the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
Now, two years...