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Flannery O’Connor

Biography

Flannery O’Connor was born in Savannah in 1925. She was an only child. Her parents were devout Catholics. Her father died of lupus, when she was sixteen. She studied social sciences at the Georgia State College for Women and then got a master’s from the Iowa State University writing programme with six short stories she had written. After Iowa she stayed at the Yaddo writers’ colony in upstate New York, where she started writing her first novel, Wise Blood. After Yaddo, she lived in New York and Connecticut but, at the age of twenty-five, she had her first attack of lupus. She went to live with her mother at Andalusia, a small farm outside Milledgeville, where she lived for the rest of her life. She continued writing for the rest of her life, publishing her two novels as well as short stories and even doing some painting. She died in 1964, following an operation relating to her illness.

While her work is clearly very much influenced by her religious background, she is certainly not a religious writer in the conventional sense. She has been called Southern Gothic and she certainly used Gothic and the grotesque to make her points. Many of her characters are exaggerated to show the difficulty of religious people existing in what she condemns as a materialistic and non-spiritual world. Dark humour, strong images and satire are all part of her technique.

Books about Flannery O’Connor

Jean W. Cash: Flannery O’Connor
David Farmer: Flannery O’Connor: A Descriptive Bibliography
Melissa Simpson: Flannery O’Connor: A Biography
Ted Spivey: Flannery O’Connor: The Woman, the Thinker, the Visionary

Other links

Flannery O’Connor
Flannery O’Connor
Comforts of Home, a site dedicated to Flannery O’Connor
Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964)
Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964)
Flannery O’Connor: Facts and extensive reading list
Southern Discomfort The origins of Flannery O’Connor’s unsettling fictional world
A Good Writer Is Hard To Find: The Search For Flannery O’Connor
The Dark Side of the Cross: Flannery O’Connor’s Short Fiction
Flannery O’Connor and the Art of the Holy
Flannery O’Connor’s Religious Vision
The Flannery O’Connor-Andalusia Foundation (Andalusia is where she lived for the last thirteen years of her life)
The Flannery O’Connor Society

Bibliography

1952 Wise Blood (novel)
1955 A Good Man Is Hard to Find (UK: The Artificial Nigger) (stories)
1955 Good Country People (stories)
1960 The Violent Bear It Away (novel)
1965 Everything That Rises Must Converge (stories)
1969 Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose
1971 The Complete Short Stories (stories)
1979 The Habit of Being (letters)
1983 The Presence of Grace and Other Book Reviews
2003 Flannery O’Connor: Spiritual Writings
2013 A Prayer Journal