O'Connor, Flannery

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

O'Connor, Flannery

Flannery O'Connor (Mary Flannery O'Connor), 1925–64, American author, b. Savannah, Ga., grad. Women's College of Georgia (A.B., 1945), Iowa State Univ. (M.F.A., 1947). As a writer, O'Connor is highly regarded for her bizarre imagination, uncompromising moral vision, and superb literary style. Combining the grotesque and the gothic and touched by mordant wit, her fiction treats 20th-century Southern life in terms of stark, brutal comedy and violent tragedy. Her characters, although often deformed in both body and spirit, are impelled toward redemption. All of O'Connor's fiction reflects her strong Roman Catholic faith. Wise Blood (1952) and The Violent Bear It Away (1960) are novels focusing on religious fanaticism; A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1955) and Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965) are short-story collections. Her Collected Stories was published in 1971. O'Connor had a form of lupus and spent the last ten years of her life as an invalid, writing and raising peacocks on her mother's farm near Milledgeville, Ga.

See her Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose, ed. by S. and R. Fitzgerald (1969) and A Prayer Journal (1946–47, first pub. 2013); her letters, ed. by S. Fitzgerald (1979); biography by B. Gooch (2009); studies by J. Hendin (1970) and K. Feeley (2d ed. 1982), S. Paulsen (1988), R. Giannone (1989), and B. Ragen (1989).

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