That roar which lies on the other side of silence…

There are small moments within the letters of O’Connor and Gordon that open into larger worlds—moments I’ve been exploring without any goal or endposts. Here is one. On 29 January 1953, Flannery O’Connor wrote to her new friend Caroline Gordon about her reading of  George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Anne Evans): I got… Continue reading That roar which lies on the other side of silence…

Crowded Effects, Strange Light

I think you have crowded your effects too much here. If I were writing this passage I would emphasize its importance by breaking it up into several--perhaps three--sentences instead of crowding a lot of ideas into one sentence [. . .]  “Single block of one story brick and wooden shacks” sounds ugly. (Of course they… Continue reading Crowded Effects, Strange Light

The Violent Bear It Away: 70 years old in 2020

O'Connor's The Violent Bear It Away was published sixty-nine years ago in January, 1960. "The back jacket is devoted to a quote from Caroline's piece in Critique [on Wise Blood]," O'Connor told Betty Hester, "which will be like waving the red flag in front of several bulls." From an outsider's perspective, it was a nice blurb… Continue reading The Violent Bear It Away: 70 years old in 2020

A Peripety

I think you need in this story [“The Enduring Chill”] what Aristotle called "a peripety," the unforeseen incident which brings about a solution and yet springs out of what has gone before. Suppose that, as very well might be, one of the students in this class is a sort of Fr. Wiegel, a young priest… Continue reading A Peripety

8 January 1964: Gordon to O’Connor

"When I reached my uncle's house," Gordon wrote to O'Connor, "my cousin, Manny, warned me not to mention Kennedy's name. My aunt doesn't like him much better than she liked Roosevelt. Those members of my family have all turned Republican. I always feel like saying, 'But you haven't got enough money to turn Republican'." from… Continue reading 8 January 1964: Gordon to O’Connor