Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Flannery O'Connor and The Christ-Haunted South Lecture

Bedford/St. Martin's
For those of you who are not familiar with Flannery O'Connor or her work, let me take a moment to share a little. Flannery O'Connor was a writer born in Savannah, Georgia in the Twenties. She lived most of her life in a town called Milledgeville, also in Georgia. O'Connor's work is categorized as Southern Gothicism. Her wit is legendary, and her stories are characterized by their rural southern settings, grotesque characters, and the strong influence of her Catholicism (rare in the South at the time) on her work. To those of you who have not read anything from this lady, do (and comment with your opinions)! They are accessible online. Here is a link to "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," which is the first short story I read from her.

Monday evening after class, my boyfriend and I attended a brilliant lecture at Emory University-- an opportunity  that I hope comes around again. The lecturer was a man named Dr. Ralph Wood. He and William Sessions, a legend at Georgia State who also spoke, dedicated their careers to this woman's work.

O'Connor's self portrait next the Christ Pantocrator

The lecture was titled "Straightforward as a Gunshot," which everyone agreed was aptly named. It covered O'Connor's faith as an integral part of her work, Dostoevsky's influence on her writing, and the likeness of her self-portrait to the Christ Pantocrator icon. I enjoyed Dr. Wood's personal experiences he shared growing up in rural Texas, as his "redneck" South was the sort written about in O'Conner's stories. For those of you who are interested in further information, which you most certainly should be, here is the link to the lecture summary blog post from Emory University's Religion and Ethics blog. "Spirited Thinking." Also, click this link to purchase Dr. Ralph Wood's book, Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South.

And with that, I leave you all with a quote from Ms. O'Connor:

“I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.” -Flannery O'Connor


  1. I love Flannery O'Connor! My Southern Lit class in grad school was one of my absolute favorites :)

    1. Great! I'd love to take a Southern Lit Class. That sounds marvelous.

  2. That was a very unusual story. I've added her Collected Works onto my Amazon Wishlist. Thanks for this post and the introduction to a new (to me) author! :o)

    1. I'm glad I was able to make the introduction!