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A Prayer Journal Hardcover – November 12, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-0374236915 ISBN-10: 0374236917 Edition: 1ST

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A Prayer Journal + The Complete Stories + The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1ST edition (November 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374236917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374236915
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Those familiar with O’Connor’s oeuvre know that her strong Roman Catholic faith informs all her work. This is one reason that her recently discovered prayer journal, penned while she attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1947 and 1948, is such a significant find. Although extremely brief, this series of heartfelt prayers and musings offered up by one of the most gifted writers of her generation provides a uniquely intimate glimpse into the heart, soul, and mind of a deeply religious genius. Guaranteed to excite American-literature buffs and O’Connor scholars, this slim volume also includes photocopies of the original handwritten texts. --Margaret Flanagan

From Bookforum

There's an intimacy and rawness here that's rare even in O'Connor's outwardly autobiographical pieces […] These devotional writings are imprinted with the same humor, brilliance, and attention to life that one finds in her fiction. […] Because the circuitous map of her religious thinking isn't obvious in her stories, secular readers may feel free to ignore it. Nevertheless, as A Prayer Journal suggests, O'Connor might never have come to write any of this fiction had she not been so fiercely direct about her desire to confront, in words, 'that supernatural grace that does whatever it does.' —René Steinke

More About the Author

Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1925, the only child of Catholic parents. In 1945 she enrolled at the Georgia State College for Women. After earning her degree she continued her studies on the University of Iowa's writing program, and her first published story, 'The Geranium', was written while she was still a student. Her writing is best-known for its explorations of religious themes and southern racial issues, and for combining the comic with the tragic. After university, she moved to New York where she continued to write. In 1952 she learned that she was dying of lupus, a disease which had afflicted her father. For the rest of her life, she and her mother lived on the family dairy farm, Andalusia, outside Millidgeville, Georgia. For pleasure she raised peacocks, pheasants, swans, geese, chickens and Muscovy ducks. She was a good amateur painter. She died in the summer of 1964.

Customer Reviews

You will cherish it.
Clint Schnekloth
This is definitely one of those books that I will read again and again, each time knowing that something new will jump off the page at me and knock me flat.
J. Beck
Like a snapshot of the depth that underlay her most original writing.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Clint Schnekloth on November 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Yes, this is a short book. It includes a transcription of Flannery O'Connors prayer journal from her time at the University of Iowa writer's school. But the quality of a book should never be judged by its length.

It should be judged by its texture and depth. And for this reason I consider the book to be essential. The prayers O'Connor has written create a landscape for prayer utterly original in the Christian tradition, if also deeply embedded in it.

I am reading one prayer per night, sometimes two. They are leading me into new spiritual insights each time. I see myself in new ways through her prayers.

The book also includes a facsimile of the journal itself. It's really a pleasure to be able to see her hand-writing first hand, to imagine her as a young student writing each day in this journal.

I guarantee if you buy this book, when it arrives, you will do more than read it. You will cherish it.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By James E. O'Leary on November 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What the prayer journal did for me was to drive me back to my Flannery library and start all over again. I now can read her with a new insight. In Brad Gooch's marvelous biography, I had learned how much her Catholic faith meant to her in that far off place in Iowa, where she was homesick and far from her Savannah roots, where she had, in the words of William Sessions, received from her southern and Catholic world, the view of a coherent universe. Gooch tells us that Flannery told a friend that she was able to go to Mass every single morning while at the Iowa Writers workshop. She went there to Mass for three years and never met a soul, she said, nor any of the priests, but it was not necessary. "As soon as I went in the door I was at home." What I didn't know was how willing she was to take a deep plunge into the depths of Catholicism. It is fitting that William Sessions was the one who brought this hidden journal to us. In the index of "The Habit of Being," the collected letters of Flannery O'Connor, Sessions turns up 28 times. He was a trusted friend and has turned out to be O'Connor's leading expert, among hundreds of scholarly admirers. I will bet you anything Flannery never thought her personal, private journal would see the light of day. I don't think she wore her religion on her sleeve and said one time she didn't even want to be known as a Catholic writer but hoped that she would just be known as a good writer, an honest writer and a real artist. I will bet you also that she would not like to be known as a mystic but she darned sure was. Like Dorothy Day (and they were very much aware of each other), she would have scoffed at the idea of being canonized a saint.Read more ›
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. Schutz on November 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
O'Connor's words, spirit, and even her struggle here are deeply Catholic. She speaks my own mind for me, saying words that I would have said if I had the gift that she had. Her form of prayer, her approach to it, her persistence in it, her discouragement with her own progress, all reveal a very quintessentially Catholic spirituality. I bought this book for my literary daughter, but it has now inspired me to undertake reading O'Connor's body of literature.

Requiescat in pace, Miss O'Connor.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Wallace Alcorn on November 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Publishers didn’t present her to the literary world with her prayers. In point of fact, these weren't even known until Bill Sessions found them among other papers in 2002. She had written them in a cheap spiral notebook in 1946, six years prior to the publication of her first novel, Wise Blood. At the time she was a student in the Iowa Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa. However much she read from her Roman Catholic prayer book, hers are decidedly non-liturgical and intensely personal. She, like us, prayed she would manage to get something published. Some don’t even sound like prayers, yet they evidence a spirit of prayer. Like many of the biblical psalms, she addresses God and then slips into talking to herself.

Arguably, these prayers might never have been published now if she hadn’t produced a wealth of other very fine literature. But, then, those other works also express her strong desire for God, although not as explicitly as these.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mary M. Kraus on November 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I very much admire O'Connor's earnest desire for closer union with God so evident on each page.

Her entry on love, divine, human, and perverted, is a classic analysis of man's deepest need. This work was for me as she says Leon Bloy was for her, like an iceberg smashing her titanic in its inspirational value.
Thank you for making this accessible.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sander Zulauf on December 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A Prayer Journal is intensely personal, a loving attempt by this extraordinary genius to ask God to use her as his Christian "instrument" the same way she uses her typewriter as her "instrument." After reading the print section with its silent corrections of this "innocent speller," the facsimile in her handwriting reveals all the warmth and humanity of this fledgling writer with an immediacy that changes the experience of the book. In places humbling in its honesty, in other places laugh-out-loud funny as she confesses she is being "clever," this book is a gem, a wonderful addition to our understanding of the works of this amazing American original.
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