Flannery O'connor's Witness to the Gospel of Life. - Modern Age

Flannery O'connor's Witness to the Gospel of Life.

By Modern Age

  • Release Date - Published: 2005-09-22
  • Book Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
  • Author: Modern Age
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Flannery O'connor's Witness to the Gospel of Life. Modern Age read online review & book description:

MORE THAN FORTY WORKS have been devoted to Flannery O'Connor's life and art--I myself having recently contributed to this latest weariness in the making of many books on O'Connor. Yet we have not yet begun to fathom the depth of her literary and theological witness. Which is to say: we have not yet comprehended the real power of her art. O'Connor did not write chiefly to entertain and to edify, the two aims of fiction famously set forth by Samuel Johnson. Art was not, for her, a pleasingly imaginative way to re-enforce existing societial norms and mores. Nor was she a modernist devoted to the making of autotelic works of art that have no ideological or doctrinal referents. Though much influenced by the New Critics of the 1950s, O'Connor did not believe that a novel or short story could stand like Keats's well-wrought urn, a wondrously self-referential whole, dwelling completely unto itself, in splendid isolation from historical, social, and personal implication. Far from being a reactionary writer, O'Connor was a post-modernist avant la lettre. Well in advance of her time, she knew that we are free at last, and blessedly so, of the Englightenment chimera called "time-less and placeless truth," as if we could view the world sub specie aeternitatis--standing above time and space like Greek deities, determining the truth autonomously for ourselves and thus controlling it for our own (usually selfish) purposes. Truth is indeed universal because every single truth is related to all others, but we do not determine truth, much less control it, for our individual selves. We know and speak and write the Truth only as we are sustained by convictional communities and shared narratives. Not for O'Connor, therefore, the fantasy of authorial neutrality, as if the artist could pare her fingernails while letting her work takes its own inexorable course.

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