Wednesday, July 03, 2024

I Don't Understand Flannery O'Connor. Help!

I was asked by someone in the Memoria Press office recently to help a lady who asked if there was a study guide on Flannery O'Connor's works. My response:

As far as I know, no such thing exists. However, there are still some resources that can help a reader appreciate her and understand what she is doing. The book Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-haunted South by Ralph Wood is excellent in that regard. Also, I would highly recommend watching the episode of PBS's American Masters on O'Connor. It is excellent and instructive. I also recommend reading at least some of her correspondence in The Habit of Being, a collection of her letters. It will help a person "get" O'Connor. Her biography is also included in the book The Life You Save May Be Your Own (taken from the title of one of her short stories), by Paul Elie. Hers is one of the four biographies in the book, which also covers the lives of Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, and Walker Percy.

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