Dark Faith: New Essays on Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away is a rich study of O’Connor’s second novel by nine scholars in the fields of American literature, theology, and religious studies. Each essay is a penetrating look at the complexity of O’Connor’s religious vision, taking seriously the darker turns of faith, the meaning of violence, and the centrality of love in her work. The thematic approach to the novel makes this an excellent companion to The Violent Bear It Away. Students and general readers alike will find new insights and thoughtful analyses of O'Connor's haunting novel.
Richard Giannone’s opening essay sets the tone with a study of three of O'Connor's most memorable characters, Hazel Motes, The Misfit, and Francis Tarwater, and their spiritual struggles to find meaning amid the darkness of their unbelief. John F. Desmond and Gary M. Ciuba address the complex question of family relations. Jason Peters analyzes abstraction in the novel, and Ruthann Knechel Johansen compares O'Connor's work with essays by Simone Weil on the topic of affliction. Scott Huelin approaches the novel from the perspective of theological ethics. P. Travis Kroeker and Karl E. Martin explore its biblical themes, and Susan Srigley ends the collection with a study of the relationships between the living and the dead.
“Dark Faith: New Essays on Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away will make a welcome companion to Michael Kreyling’s collection New Essays on Wise Blood. The essays in Susan Srigley’s ‘new essays’ will assist critics and readers probing the complex terrain of violence not only in O’Connor’s second (and last) novel, but in all her fiction. Serious students of the novel or of O’Connor’s thought and artistry will find numerous rewards in its pages.” —Joseph M. Flora, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill