Reynolds Price: A Life in Arts & Letters

Scholar

Price was awarded an A. B. Duke scholarship to Duke and graduated summa cum laude in 1955. He kept a scrapbook documenting his university days—current students might recognize scenes of West Campus dorm life and distractions from studies.

 


 

Eudora Welty and Reynolds Price with an unidentified student, Duke Chapel. 1955.

First visit of Eudora to Duke.

Eudora Welty, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Optimist’s Daughter, would become a lifelong friend and correspondent of Price’s. 

 


 

William Blackburn, Price’s professor, mentor and friend, continued to lend encouragement to his former student when Price was at Oxford. He read drafts of Price’s thesis on Milton’s Samson Agonistes and offered advice on submitting his first short story for publication.

 


 

Price’s reputation as a teacher is unsurpassed. His Milton course was legendary and perennially in high demand. Price continued to study Milton throughout his career, and his students certainly benefited from his passion for the subject. His teaching notes were continually updated and amended, and he annotated his own volume of Milton poetry he used in class.