Jordan Cofer examines the influence of the Bible upon Flannery O'Connor's fiction. While there are many studies exploring how her Catholicism affected her fiction, this book argues that O'Connor is heavily influenced by the Bible itself. Specifically, it explicates the largely undocumented ways in which she used the Bible as source material for her work. It also shows that, rhetorically, many of O'Connor's stories (and/or characters) are based upon biblical models. Furthermore, Cofer explains how O'Connor's stories engage their biblical analogues in unusual, unexpected, and sometimes grotesque ways, as her stories manage to convey essentially the same message as their biblical counterparts.
Throughout O'Connor's work there are significant biblical allusions which have been neglected or previously undiscovered. This book acknowledges her biblical source material so readers can understand the impact it had on her fiction. Cofer argues that readers can better appreciate her work by examining how her stories are often grounded in specific biblical texts, which she similarly distorts, exaggerates, and subverts, in order to shock and teach readers. Simply put, O'Connor doesn't merely reference these biblical stories, she rewrites them.
The story of four modern American Catholics who made literature out of their search for God
In the mid-twentieth century four American Catholics came to believe that the best way to explore the questions of religious faith was to write about them-in works that readers of all kinds could admire. The Life You Save May Be Your Own is their story-a vivid and enthralling account of great writers and their power over us.
Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk in Kentucky; Dorothy Day the founder of the Catholic Worker in New York; Flannery O'Connor a "Christ-haunted" literary prodigy in Georgia; Walker Percy a doctor in New Orleans who quit medicine to write fiction and philosophy. A friend came up with a name for them-the School of the Holy Ghost-and for three decades they exchanged letters, ardently read one another's books, and grappled with what one of them called a "predicament shared in common."
A pilgrimage is a journey taken in light of a story; and in The Life You Save May Be Your Own Paul Elie tells these writers' story as a pilgrimage from the God-obsessed literary past of Dante and Dostoevsky out into the thrilling chaos of postwar American life. It is a story of how the Catholic faith, in their vision of things, took on forms the faithful could not have anticipated. And it is a story about the ways we look to great books and writers to help us make sense of our experience, about the power of literature to change-to save-our lives.
These new critical essays on Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor's explosive first novel, not only question our understanding of the "Southern Gothic," but launch a new inquiry into the nature and history of O'Connor's critical reputation. Perceived as a "classic" American writer despite the double setbacks of being a woman and a twentieth-century author, O'Connor continues to speak with striking clarity and disturbing vision to successive generations.
In her short life, the prolific Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964) authored two novels, thirty-two stories, and numerous essays and articles. Although her importance as a twentieth-century southern writer is unquestionable, mainstream feminist criticism has generally neglected O'Connor's work.
In Revising Flannery O'Connor, Katherine Hemple Prown addresses the conflicts O'Connor experienced as a "southern lady" and professional author. Placing gender at the center of her analytical framework, Prown considers the reasons for feminist critical neglect of the writer and traces the cultural origins of the complicated aesthetic that informs O'Connor's fiction, both published and unpublished.
O'Connor's relationship with her mentor Caroline Gordon, and its eventual disintegration, played a significant role in her development. As Prown shows, it underlines the shift from the relatively "feminine" authorial voice of O'Connor's earliest drafts toward the decidedly masculinized tone of her final, published works. Incorporating an insightful examination of the author in relation to the Fugitive/Agrarian and New Critical movements, Prown provides an original exploration of O'Connor's changing gender perspectives.
"Many of my ardent admirers would be roundly shocked and disturbed if they realized that everything I believe is thoroughly moral, thoroughly Catholic, and that it is these beliefs that give my work its chief characteristics."
Flannery O'Connor's work has been described as "profane, blasphemous, and outrageous." Her stories are peopled by a sordid caravan of murderers and thieves, prostitutes and bigots whose lives are punctuated by horror and sudden violence. But perhaps the most shocking thing about Flannery O'Connor's fiction is the fact that it is shaped by a thoroughly Christian vision. If the world she depicts is dark and terrifying, it is also the place where grace makes itself known. Her world--our world--is the stage whereon the divine comedy plays out; the freakishness and violence in O'Connor's stories, so often mistaken for a kind of misanthropy or even nihilism, turn out to be a call to mercy.
In this biography, Jonathan Rogers gets at the heart of O'Connor's work. He follows the roots of her fervent Catholicism and traces the outlines of a life marked by illness and suffering, but ultimately defined by an irrepressible joy and even hilarity. In her stories, and in her life story, Flannery O'Connor extends a hand in the dark, warning and reassuring us of the terrible speed of mercy.
Describing Flannery O'Connor's fiction as violent, grotesque and horribly funny, with a twist, Margaret Earley Whitt explores the canon of the Georgia writer whose work has long haunted and harassed its readers. In a comprehensive survey that encompasses O'Connor's short stories, novels, essays and letters, as well as the body of criticism that has proliferated since her death in 1964, Whitt illumines the religious themes and bizarre characters that make O'Connor's prose so different from that of other American writers.