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The Presence of Grace and Other Book Reviews by Flannery O'Connor Paperback – March 1, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0820331393 ISBN-10: 0820331392

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press (March 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820331392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820331393
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #979,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The reviews range in topics from religion, homiletics, theology, biographies, fiction, literary criticism, psychology and intellectual history. Whether history or letters, they always touch on religion, one of O'Connor's central concerns. At the same time, the reviews are testimonies to her rich intellectual life, as evidenced in the variety of books treated and in the rigor to which she submitted her religious convictions. . . . This collection provides valuable material to enrich an understanding of O'Connor's fictional and personal worlds of grace."--Journal of the American Academy of Religion

About the Author

Leo Zuber began compiling and gathering this material before his death in 1980. Carter Martin, professor of English at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and author of The True Country: Themes in the Fiction of Flannery O'Connor, completed the task of editing and wrote the introduction.

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Carter Martin's Introduction summarizes the "broad range of works" that Flannery O'Connor chose to review, including biographies, saints' lives, sermons and theology, fiction, literary criticism, and works related to psychology, philosophy, science and history.

Discusses the reviews collected by Leo J. Zuber -- her longtime book review editor and friend -- and considers why O'Connor contributed reviews to the particular publications she chose and the "recurrent concerns that emerge as themes in the reviews." Emphasizes her focus on, and committment to, books "about religion."

Concludes that O'Connor's reviews confirm that her art "arose from the religious convictions that she subjected to intenses scrutiny not only in her heart but in her mind as well."

Some sections were previously published in "Reader, Look for Yourself': Recovered Book Reviews," [Georgia Review 37.2 (1983): 371-82]. Provides an author and title index.

Reviewer's Note: Carter Martin is the author of: The True Country: Themes in the Fiction of Flannery O'Connor (Nashville: Vanderbilt UP, 1994); and, contributed a number of articles to The Flannery O'Connor Bulletin and other published anthologies of criticism. His Ph.D. dissertation, completed at Vanderbilt University in 1991, is titled: "The Convergence of Actualities.'"

R. Neil Scott / Middle Tennessee State University
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Josh Goode on July 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a compilation mostly of book reviews that Flannery O'Connor wrote, largely for her diocesan newspaper The Bulletin, accompanied by a few letters to newspaper colleges (who also happened to be friends) that Flannery O'Connor wrote during the mid 50's through the mid 60's.

It is interesting to observe the way her reviews evolve structurally: in the early days she had much more freedom with her word count, then the word count was reduced, then the same word count constraints engulfed up to three book reviews in one article. For anyone interested in studying style and making the most of your words - like myself - this would make for excellent study.

Another interesting aspect of this book is the great variety of books Flannery O'Connor read. She occupied herself professionally almost exclusively with the writing of fiction, yet in her reading we see that she mostly read theological works of non-fiction.

Finally, interwoven in a great many of her reviews you find, occasionally very explicitly, her theological views and commentary on the state of the Church in America. This is particularly fascinating to read because her criticisms demonstrate, once again, the old maxim "there's nothing new under the sun" is incredibly well stated. The problems Miss O'Connor laments in the 50's and 60's are the same or very similar to those of today.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By olingerstories on September 14, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The value of having the brief, two hundred words each book reviews of Flannery O'Connor is that they show her utter devotion to the Roman Catholic Church. Writing for a local paper for the Dioiocese of Savannah, O'Connor seemingly read every new theological book related to Rome produced in the late 50s and early 60s along with a few Protestant ones. Her general style given the word limitations is to pick out a central quote from the book and comment upon it positively or negatively. Perhaps the two most revealing sympathetic reviews are of Teilhard de Chardin, who sought to reconcile evolution with the teaching of the Church. When he does journey into the realm of literature, she mainly sticks with recommending her favorites such Francois Mauriac, J.F. Powers, and Caroline Gordon.
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