From the start of her career, Eudora Welty was praised and plagued by the dichotomies of being from the South but having a universal point of view, of being a woman yet writing short fiction comparable with the best of her day, of keeping her own literary circles without being unduly swayed by publishers or fashion. Nearly always, her work was admired for the individual, dense, rich style, yet, nearly as often, it was criticized for lack of plot and for complex, abstruse description.
Remarkably, the reviews of Welty's A Curtain of Green and Other Stories (1941) identified the strengths and weaknesses of this first collection and of the writing that was to follow, stereotyped her writing for good and for bad, and found kinship with great writers and painters, American and foreign. Rose Feld, writing for the New York Herald Tribune, linked Welty's writing with that of Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Elizabeth Bowen, Kay Boyle, and Katherine Anne Porter, calling the short stories by these writers a “peculiarly feminine genre” with a “quality of mood which surrounds and gives meaning to the incident.” For the next forty years, reviewers congratulated Welty on the mood she created in her fiction while counseling her to build more plot. Louise Bogan praised A Curtain of Green for Gothic elements as fine as Poe's and for the details that recalled the writings of Gogol before concluding that Welty's success was limited to the Southern region.