Mar 252013
 

Flannery_O-Connor_Southern_Writer_Fiction_1

“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd.” – Flannery O’Connor

Mary Flannery O’Connor (March 25, 1925 – August 3, 1964) was born in Savannah, Georgia.  Writer of two novels and 32 short stories, O’Connor’s writing often reflected her Roman Catholic faith Southern upbringing, drawing from regional settings and grotesque characters to examine questions of morality and ethics.

When she was six years old, O’Connor had her first experience with celebrity: “When I was six I had a chicken that walked backward and was in the Pathé News. I was in it too with the chicken. I was just there to assist the chicken but it was the high point in my life. Everything since has been anticlimax.”

Regarding her emphasis of the grotesque , O’Connor said: “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.”  Her texts often take place in the South and revolve around morally flawed characters, while the issue of race frequently appears in the background.  Most of her works feature disturbing elements, though she did not like to be characterized as cynical. “I am tired of reading reviews that call A Good Man brutal and sarcastic,” she writes. “The stories are hard but they are hard because there is nothing harder or less sentimental than Christian realism… when I see these stories described as horror stories I am always amused because the reviewer always has hold of the wrong horror.”

She said: “Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.”

O’Connor died on August 3, 1964, at the age of 39, of complications from lupus, and was buried in Milledgeville, Georgia.

(Thanks to Wikipedia and The Writer’s Almanac for today’s references.)

  One Response to “Happy Birthday, Flannery O’Connor”

  1. One of my favorite authors, with one of my favorite “tells.” A person’s face “clears” or their eyes “clear” when they get but a glimpse of God’s grace. {You have more than just a “tell!” Shine on!)

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