Monday, March 16, 2009

Flannery O'Connor

She never knew for certain whether she would survive a flare-up from her disease. And her while faith undoubtedly soothed and buoyed her against massive anxiety on the matter, she writes like a person pursued. Her writing is violently good. --Jessica Ferri, review, Bookslut, May 2009, Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor, by Brad Gooch

Hey I read the new biography of Flannery O'Connor and made some comics while I read it hoping a good comic would come out but nothing did and here they are anyway: --Stereotypist, Brad Gooch's Biography of Flannery O'Connor (via Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor)

Then came the dramatic turning point of her life: the diagnosis that she, like her deceased father, suffered from lupus, which compelled her to return home to Andalusia, the family farm outside Milledgeville. There she lived with her mother, raising peacocks and other rare birds as she moved about on crutches. In those 15 years, she shaped the stellar short fiction and two novels, Wise Blood (1952) and The Violent Bear It Away (1960), that have led many critics to declare her the greatest Southern woman writer of the 20th century. --Carlin Romano, Virginia, Jean, and Flannery: A Good Role Model Is Easy to Find, The Chronicle Review, March 13, 2009 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Robert Giroux sent a copy of Wise Blood to Evelyn Waugh hoping for a blurb, and Waugh replied, “The best I can say is: ‘If this really is the unaided work of a young lady, it is a remarkable product.’ ” --Joy Williams, Stranger Than Paradise, The New York Times, March 1, 2009, review of Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor, by Brad Gooch

O'Connor did not travel widely, socialize (as such) or date, and she spent most of her life in the company of her mother and her beloved menagerie of birds, yet her fierce insight, imagination, faith and craft create a universe that fairly burns through geographical or cultural boundaries. --Joanna Brichetto, Southern charmer, Book Page, March 2009, review of Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor, by Brad Gooch

Sheltered, plain, shy, she preferred feathered creatures to people and identified with them; underneath she was all beak and claws. Her father was diagnosed with lupus when she was 12 and in many respects she remained stuck at that age, looking out at the world with a childlike detachment and not letting anyone in, except God. A Roman Catholic, she wrote about grotesques, she explained, to convey the shocking Christian vision of original sin. --The Economist, All beak and claws, February 26, 2009, review of Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor, by Brad Gooch

She was very concerned with the intellectual life of American Catholics and indeed saw what she was doing for the papers as in some way an act of charity in which readers might be encouraged to read beyond the pieties. --Amy Welborn, Under Flannery’s eye, Charlotte was Both, December 29, 2008. Review of The Presence of Grace and Other Book Reviews (1983), by Flannery O'Connor

...there are at least three main reasons for the continuing fascination with O’Connor. First, readers are intrigued by the sense of humor and the hard yet radiant wit evident in nearly all of her productions; second, they are attracted by the Christian vision illuminated in her essays, letters, and incarnational art; and third, they are astonished by her gifts as storyteller, gifts which are evident in the depth of her especially unsentimental realism, in her eye for the absurd and the grotesque (for freaks and sinners like you and me), and in the shocking plots and violent characters in her fiction. --Michael M. Jordan, Flannery O’Connor’s Writing: A Guide for the Perplexed, Modern Age, Winter 2005

Her gotham sojourn included her famous encounter with
Mary McCarthy, who "departed the Church at the age of 15 and is a Big Intellectual." O'Connor and Lowell arrived at a literary soiree at eight o'clock, and by 1:00 a.m. the Georgian "hadn't opened my mouth once, there being nothing for me in such company to say." Finally conversation turned to "the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend." McCarthy condescendingly allowed that it was a lovely symbol. O'Connor immediately piped up, "Well, if it's a symbol, to hell with it." --Scott Walter, The Strange Case of a Hillbilly Thomist, Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2004, review of Flannery O'Connor: A Life, by Jean W. Cash, Flannery O'Connor: Spiritual Writings, edited by Robert Ellsberg, and Return to Good and Evil: Flannery O'Connor's Response to Nihilism, by Henry T. Edmondson III

O’Connor’s talent was recognized during her lifetime, although critics sometimes mischaracterized her work as nothing more than Tobacco Road meets Edgar Allen Poe. --Amy Welborn, Stalking Pride, Our Sunday Visitor, August 8, 1999

The Way of Distortion, by Christopher Benfey, The New Republic, June 3, 2009, review of Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor, by Brad Gooch (via Arts & Letters Daily)

The Way of Distortion, by Christopher Benfey, The New Republic, at Powell's Review-a-Day, May 28, 2009, review of Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor, by Brad Gooch

Flannery O'Connor's Vision of Faith, Church and Modern Consciousness, by Most Reverend George H. Niederauer, Archbishop of San Francisco, Lane Center Lecture Series, September 28, 2007

In Search of Flannery O’Connor, by Lawrence Downes, The New York Times, February 4, 2007

A Proper Scaring, by Kathleen Lundquist, posted 8:00 PM August 29, 2006, Mystagogia

A Good War Is Hard to Find: Abu Ghraib, Flannery O'Connor, and the Problem of American Innocence, by David Griffith, Godspy June 28, 2004

A Dog Named Spot, by Paul Mankowski, First Things, March 2003, review of Flannery O’Connor: A Life, by Jean W. Cash

Flannery O'Connor, weblog in Spanish (via Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor)

The Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home, weblog (via Flannery O'Connor)

Andalusia, Home of Flannery O'Connor, weblog (via The Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home)

If Flannery had a blog, by Thomas Smith


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