Flannery O'Connor: Collected Works: Wise Blood, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, The Violent Bear It Away, Everything That Rises Must Converge, Essays and Letters (Library of America)

Flannery O'Connor: Collected Works: Wise Blood, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, The Violent Bear It Away, Everything That Rises Must Converge, Essays and Letters (Library of America)

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Overview

In her short lifetime, Flannery O’Connor became one of the most distinctive American writers of the twentieth century. By birth a native of Georgia and a Roman Catholic, O’Connor depicts, in all its comic and horrendous incongruity, the limits of worldly wisdom and the mysteries of divine grace in the “Christ-haunted” Protestant South. This Library of America collection, the most comprehensive ever published, contains all of her novels and short-story collections, as well as nine other stories, eight of her most important essays, and a selection of 259 witty, spirited, and revealing letters, twenty-one published here for the first time.

Her fiction brilliantly explores the human obsession with seemingly banal things. It might be a new hat or clean hogs or, for Hazel Motes, hero of Wise Blood (1952), an automobile. “Nobody with a good car needs to be justified,” Hazel assures himself while using its hood for a pulpit to preach his “Church Without Christ.” As in O’Connor’s subsequent work, the characters in this novel are driven to violence, even murder, and their strong vernacular endows them with the discomforting reality of next-door neighbors. “In order to recognize a freak,” she remarks in one of her essays, “you have to have a conception of the whole man.”

In the title story of her first, dazzling collection of stories, A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1955), the old grandmother discovers the comic irrelevance of good manners when she and her family meet up with the sinister Misfit, who claims there is “no pleasure but meanness.” The terror of urban dislocation in “The Artificial Nigger,” the bizarre baptism in “The River,” or one-legged Hulga Hopewell’s encounter with a Bible salesman in “Good Country People”—these startling events give readers the uneasy sense of mysteries about to be revealed.

Her second novel, The Violent Bear It Away (1960), casts the shadow of the Old Testament across a landscape of backwoods shacks, modern towns, and empty highways. Caught between the prophetic fury of his great-uncle and the unrelenting rationalism of his uncle, fourteen-year-old Francis Tarwater undergoes a terrifying trial of faith when he is commanded to baptize his idiot cousin.

The nine stories in Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965) show O’Connor’s powers at their height. The title story is a terrifying, heart-rending drama of familial and racial misunderstanding. “Revelation” and “The Enduring Chill” probe further into conflicts between parental figures and recalcitrant offspring, where as much tension is generated from quiet conversation as from the physical violence of gangsters and fanatics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780940450370
Publisher: Library of America
Publication date: 09/28/1988
Series: Library of America Series , #39
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 1300
Sales rank: 186,298
Product dimensions: 5.08(w) x 8.12(h) x 1.48(d)

About the Author

Flannery O’Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, on March 25, 1925, and was raised as a devout Roman Catholic in Milledgeville, Georgia. Upon graduation from the Graduate Program of the Women’s College of Georgia, O’Connor attended the writing program at the State University of Iowa, receiving her MFA in 1947. Among the strongest influences on O’Connor’s work were the writings of William Faulkner and Nathanael West, from whom she derived her conception of the grotesque in literature. Following the publication of numerous short stories in literary journals, O’Connor’s first novel, Wise Blood, was published in 1952. Suffering from a hereditary rheumatic ailment, she spent the next twelve years writing at the family farm in Milledgeville under the care of her mother, Regina, and the strictest medical super vision. A Good Man is Hard to Find, a collection of short stories, was published in 1955, and another novel, The Violent Bear It Away, appeared in 1960. Though seriously ill, O’Connor made an extensive series of lecture tours, received an honorary degree from Smith College in 1963, and that same year, won first prize in the annual O’Henry short story awards (as she had previously done in 1956). After her death on August 3, 1964, another collection of short stories, Everything That Rises Must Converge, was published (1965), as well as a volume of unpublished lectures and essays and various critical articles, Mystery and Manners (1969).

Table of Contents

Collected WorksWise Blood
A Good Man Is Hard to Find
The Violent Bear It Away
Everything That Rises Must Converge
Stories and Occasional Prose
Letters

Index of Stories and Occasional Prose
Chronology
Note on the Texts
Notes

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Flannery O'Connor: Collected Works: Wise Blood, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, The Violent Bear It Away, Everything That Rises Must Converge, Essays and 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
SeriousGrace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Good Man is Hard to Find is a compilation of ten short stories by Flannery O'Connor. In order they are "A Good Man is Hard to Find", "the River", "The Life You Save might Be Your OWn", "A Stroke of Good Fortune", "A Temple of the Holy Ghost", "The Artificial Nigger", "A Circle in the Fire", "A Late Encounter with the Enemy", "Good Country People", and "The Displaced Person." All ten stories have three things in common: a Southern twang, underlying religious tones and lots of interesting and deep characters with problems, some problems more obvious and serious than others. The title, A Good Man is Hard to Find comes from the first short story in the compilation (my favorite) and is a phrase first uttered by a restaurant owner outside of Atlanta, Georgia. He is discussing a serial killer on a rampage somewhere in Florida. The rest of the stories central mostly in the rural areas surrounding Atlanta, Georgia.
jaemaree on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
i'm telling you: flannery is going to send you off the end of a cliff! she has the knack. favorite short story: the river.
rosrut on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite writers ever. Southern gothic, dark, ugly, beautiful, redemptive are some of the words that come to mind.
jwhenderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The writing style of Flannery O'Connor awakens the reader with its felicity. Miss O'Connor imagination takes over from there and the ride is a wild one. Wise Blood, the first work in this collection, is a nightmarish take on the world of southern itenerant preachers. Hazel Motes' Church without Christ is a bleakly humorous approach to the whole god/man situation and Motes own psychology is worth studying through rereadings of this short work. The collections of short fiction underscore the ability of O'Connor to surprise and challenge the reader. I find myself returning to her work from time to time just to make sure that my previous readings were not a dream.
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JohnnytheP More than 1 year ago
O'Connor was a true original. How grand to have all four books of fiction plus the letters in one handy/classy volume. Her short stories are masterpieces. Devastating, amazing. No purveyor of 20th Century "Southern Gothic" short fiction did it better. Not Capote, not Faulkner.
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