Double For She

“He travels fastest who travels alone, and that goes double for she.”

Florence King, from Reflections in a Jaundiced Eye (1989)

Florence King_portrait_nyc

Portrait of Florence King via New York Times

Florence Virginia King (January 5, 1936 – January 6, 2016) was an American novelist, essayist, and columnist, famous for her wit and keen reflections on the American South. King was born in Washington, D.C. to an American mother and a British father. She grew up in the District with her parents, maternal grandmother, and her grandmother’s maid.  In 1957, King received her BA in history from American University in Washington D.C., where she was inducted into Phi Alpha Theta. She attended the University of Mississippi as a graduate student, but did not complete her M.A. degree after discovering she could make a living as a writer. Before this discovery, she worked several jobs including being a history teacher and a file clerk. From 1964 to 1967, King nabbed a job as a feature writer for the Raleigh News and Observer. There she made her mark and received the North Carolina Press Woman Award for reporting, cementing her future. In 1985 she wrote and published (possibly) her most renown work Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady and went on to publish six more volumes of her esteemed essays. Politically, King was mostly conservative, though often expressed left-leanings, objecting to much of the populist direction of the contemporary American Right. She was an open bi-sexual, an Episcopalian (though she often referred to her agnosticism), and a monarchist.

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