Flannery O’Connor

19 11 2009

From Wikipedia

In my great writing pursuits this month, I find myself needed to take a break from time to time in order to refuel my word bank. For inspiration, I’m turning to the greats – Dostoevsky, Miller, O’Connor.

So, as promised, it’s about time we featured one of the great American writers of all time — Flannery O’Connor, especially as she happens to be from our beloved South.

(If you’ve never read anything by Ms. O’Connor, fall is the perfect time to pick some up. She’s rather dark and deep. My recommendation is to start with her short stories collection – The Complete Stories, published in 1971.)

Mary Flannery O’Connor was born in 1925 to a staunch Catholic family. This Roman Catholic faith, coupled with a childhood in the South, influenced her life and writings profoundly. She wrote two novels and more than thirty short stories in her short life.

Most of these revolved around life in the South. Usually described as Southern Gothic, O’Connor’s characters were often grotesque, flawed, and disturbing. She was greatly affected by her father’s death when she was only 15. He died of lupus, and she was subsequent diagnosed with the same disease. She lived out her days on her farm in Georgia, raising all sorts of exotic birds, including peacocks.

Ms. O’Connor was the first fiction writer born in the twentieth century to have her works published by the Library of America, and now the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction is given each year by the University of Georgia Press to an outstanding collection of short stories. Her stories often reflected her Southern upbringing, deescribing Southern characters and elements in a usually ironic and backward way — but always with a sense of humor.

One of my favorite comments related to our Southern atmosphere she made was, “anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic.”

Who are some of your favorite Southern classic writers?




3 responses

9 12 2009
Fr. J.

So glad to see you have posted on Flannery. I am Flannery haunted myself. If you are interested I have a slowly growing blog series on her short stories from a Catholic point of view. You are more than welcome at theblackcordelias.wordpress.com

21 04 2010
20 08 2010
Growing Up in the South « Sweet Iced Tea

[…] of stories from some of the Southern fiction greats such as William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty (and 21 others) this collection focuses on an experience we’ve all had […]

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