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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 & Letters (Library of America) Hardcover – September 1, 1988
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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another collection of short stories, Everything That Rises Must Converge, was published (1965), as well as a volume of unpublished lectures and essays and various critical articles, Mystery and Manners (1969).
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The stories are not presented in the temporal order in which she wrote them. Allowing for that, though, not only did the volume allow me to see the progression in her writing style and skill, but it allowed me to see how she reworked some of her earlier stories into her later ones and also to see how she revisits and reuses ideas and settings.
The Notes are sparse but helpful. They are near the end of the volume and do not interrupt the text. The Chronology is a brief outline of her life which can help place her writings in context. The ribbon that allows the reader to mark progress in the book is a very nice touch, eliminating the need for a bookmark. There is no Introduction to the volume.
Of interest is PJ Harvey's musical take on the story "Good Country People" (the song "Joy") as an example of O'Connor's wide range of affect.
There are many reasons to read her work, but to me this is her stand out achievement that firmly places her in the pantheon of great short story writing.
Worth a read by any aspiring writer, or anyone interested in seeing a well drawn character meet a bit of O' Connor justice.
Another aspect of my enjoyments is the quality of the book itself. Nicely bound and a well made book built for the ages. Similar in some respects to the stories it contains.
young people. Her understanding of human nature and her spot- on ear for capturing southern
dialect is, imho, unsurpassed. Her humor, her descriptions, and the pacing of each story makes
the reader forget time, space, his own problems.