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Evelyn Scott (writer)

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Evelyn Scott
BornElise Dunn
(1893-01-17)January 17, 1893
DiedAugust 3, 1963(1963-08-03) (aged 70)
SpouseFrederick Creighton Wellman

Evelyn Scott (born as Elsie Dunn January 17, 1893 – died August 3, 1963) was an American novelist, playwright and poet. A modernist and experimental writer, Scott "was a significant literary figure in the 1920s and 1930s, but she eventually sank into critical oblivion."[1]

Personal life


She was born in Clarksville, Tennessee and spent her younger years in New Orleans, Louisiana.[2] She later wrote about her childhood in Tennessee in her autobiographical Background in Tennessee.[3]

Her first husband was Frederick Creighton Wellman. He was a married man when they met and dean of the School of Tropical Medicine at Tulane.[2] Both Evelyn and her husband took on pseudonyms when they ran away to Brazil together in 1913.[2] Frederick changed his name to Cyril Kay-Scott and Evelyn also took Scott as her surname. The two had a son together, Creighton, but were divorced in 1928.[4][2] She also had an affair with Owen Merton, father of Thomas Merton.[3]

Scott later married the English writer John Metcalfe in 1930.[5][4]

Literary career


She sometimes wrote under the pseudonym Ernest Souza, and under her birth name, Elsie Dunn.




  • The Narrow House. New York: Boni & Liveright, 1921
  • Narcissus. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1922 (U.K. edition: Bewilderment. London: Duckworth, 1922)
  • The Golden Door. New York: Thomas Seltzer, 1925
  • Ideals: a Book of Farce and Comedy. New York: Boni & Liveright, 1927
  • Migrations: an Arabesque in Histories. New York: Boni & Liveright, 1927
  • The Wave. New York: Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith, 1929
  • Blue Rum (written under the pseudonym "Ernest Souza"). New York: Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith, 1930
  • A Calendar of Sin: American Melodramas. New York: Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith, 1931
  • Eva Gay. New York: Harrison Smith & Robert Haas, 1933
  • Breathe Upon These Slain. New York: Scribners, 1934
  • Bread and a Sword. New York: Scribners, 1937
  • The Shadow of the Hawk. New York: Scribners, 1941


  • Precipitations. New York: Nicholas L. Brown, 1920
  • The Winter Alone. New York: Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith, 1930
  • The Collected Poems of Evelyn Scott (ed. Caroline C. Maun). Orono: National Poetry Foundation, University of Maine, 2005


  • Escapade. New York: Thomas Seltzer, 1923
  • Background in Tennessee. New York: R. M. McBride, 1937

For children

  • In the Endless Sands: a Christmas Book for Boys and Girls (with C. Kay-Scott). New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1925
  • Witch Perkins: a Story of the Kentucky Hills. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1929
  • Billy the Maverick. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1934

Further reading

  • Callard, D. A. Pretty Good for a Woman: The Enigmas of Evelyn Scott. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1985
  • White, Mary Wheeling. Fighting the Current: The Life and Work of Evelyn Scott. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998
  • Scura, Dorothy McInnis and Jones, Paul C., eds. Evelyn Scott: Recovering a Lost Modernist. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2001
  • Tyrer, Pat. Evelyn Scott's Contribution to American Literary Modernism, 1920-1940: A Study of Her Trilogy: The New Woman in the Narrow House, Narcissus, and The Golden Door. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2013


  1. ^ Scura, Dorothy M.; Jones, Paul C., eds. (2001). Evelyn Scott: Recovering a Lost Modernist. Univ. of Tennessee Press. p. xiii. ISBN 9781572331167.
  2. ^ a b c d Petersen, Robert C. "Evelyn Scott". Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.
  3. ^ a b Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center. "Evelyn Scott". Texas Archival Resources Online.
  4. ^ a b "Finding Aid for the Evelyn Scott Letters (MS-2300)". Special Collections Online at the University of Tennessee. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  5. ^ "Metcalfe, John" by Brian Stableford in David Pringle, St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers. London : St. James Press, 1998, ISBN 1558622063 (pp. 405-6).