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August 02, 2004


Gerard E.

She is THE American Catholic novelist. The one shining entry we can point to with pride from the WW I- Vietnam War Era of Literature who can sit at the same table with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, etc. Tough to swallow at first- makes the reader wonder if she was just the ultimate cynic. Then the discovery that she had bigger fish to fry.

Sean Gallagher

When I took a foundational theology class once, we were assigned to read "Revelation" in the course to help us better understand the nature of divine revelation.


There's a blog of quotes from Ms. O'Connor at



Here's another page on O'Connor:



What was the 1961 class' interpretation of "A good man is Hard to Find"?



Dig the "Saint of the Day" today... :)


"Good Country People" is wickedly funny, with its take on a godless Northeast-educated intellectual gal stuck on the farm among those naive Christians.

Karen Howard

There's also the John Huston film of "Wise Blood".

Maclin Horton


This is not a disagreement with your choices, but "Good Country People" and "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" would be in my top half-dozen or so. I think of these probably at least once a week, the latter especially in connection with the not-infrequent moments when I notice myself wanting to call down fire from heaven on the heads of various sinners other than myself, the former whenever I encounter a blowhard nihilist intellectual. (And all during the Clinton administration I kept seeing Bill as Manley Pointer to said intellectual's Hulga.)

Gerard E.,

No argument about O'Connor's quality, but I don't think she's the one: I think Walker Percy is just as good, and just as Catholic but in a very different way.


Oh yes, Maclin, I was just offering my suggestions, which are just mine - and yours are just as good if not better!

Rich Leonardi

Barnes & Noble Books put out a handsome collection of her short stories that's cheap ($10) and pretty easy to find.


I've always had a special attachment to "The Lame Shall Enter First". To me it is heartbreaking rather than melodramatic. Anyone have any thoughts?


"The Habit of Being" and "Mystery and Manners" are certainly must reading for anyone trying to grasp the meanings behind O'Connor's writings. Even then she is still difficult for many. Here are some books that were a help to me. Even then aggravation still sets in while rereading O'Connor because I know I am missing some of her intent.

Flannery O'Connor: The Woman, The Thinker, The Visionary – by Ted Spivey
Flannery O'Connor: A Proper Scaring - by Jill Pelaez Baumgaertner
Flannery O'Connor: An Introduction – by Miles Orvell
Flannery O'Connor: The Imagination of Extremity - by Frederick Asals
The Art and Vision of Flannery O'Connor - by Robert Brinkmeyer
Flannery O'Connor: In Celebration of Genius – 20 essays, edited by Sarah Gordon
Conversations with Flannery O'Connor – 16 essays, edited by Rosemary M. Magee
Flannery O'Connor: New Perspectives - 10 essays, edited by Sura Rath and Mary Neff Shaw
Flannery O'Connor: A Study of the Short Fiction - Suzanne Morrow Paulson
Flannery O'Connor: A life - biography by Jean W. Cash


And check out "Flannery O'Connor and the Christ Haunted South" by Ralph Woods. It's a tremendous cultural critique and examination through the pen and lens of O'Connor. I'm saying this as one having been raised and still living in the "terribly and wonderfully" Christ-haunted South, which I love.

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