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The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor Paperback – August 1, 1988
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“To compare her with the great letter writers in our language may seem presumptuous and would have elicited from her one of her famous steely glances, but Byron, Keats, Lawrence, Wilde and Joyce come irresistibly to mind: correspondence that gleams with consciousness.” ―The New York Times
“These hundreds of letters give O'Connor's tough, funny, careful personality to us more distinctly and movingly than any biography probably would... Remarkable and inspiring.” ―Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1925. When she died at the age of thirty-nine, America lost one of its most gifted writers at the height of her powers. O'Connor wrote two novels, Wise Blood (1952) and The Violent Bear It Away (1960), and two story collections, A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1955) and Everything That Rises Must Converge (1964). Her Complete Stories, published posthumously in 1972, won the National Book Award that year, and in a 2009 online poll it was voted as the best book to have won the award in the contest's 60-year history. Her essays were published in Mystery and Manners (1969). In 1988 the Library of America published her Collected Works; she was the first postwar writer to be so honored. O'Connor was educated at the Georgia State College for Women, studied writing at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and wrote much of Wise Blood at the Yaddo artists' colony in upstate New York. She lived most of her adult life on her family's ancestral farm, Andalusia, outside Milledgeville, Georgia.
Top Customer Reviews
If you're from the south too, you'll know what I mean.
I thought the title, "The Habit of Being" was extremely strange. But as you read it, it becomes very clear why a) it was titled that and b) O'Connor exemplified that motto.
Throughout this book you will see a thoughtful, kind, and analytical artist love on her work and her friends--in the most natural, uninhibited way. She spells words wrong. She speaks of her failing health. She talks about life on the farm. In the next letter it'll be theology and Aristotle though. It's beautiful and you will learn a lot from it.
That said...it's almost 600 pages long. BUT, I couldn't put it down.
She's witty and extremely funny too.
One of her best friends complied this set of letters to share the real Flannery with the public. That she did, and it is a blessing indeed.
O'Connor raised peacocks and lived on a farm in Georgia, but she also had lupus, an incurable disease. She's not sentimental about it (or about most things); she'd be a candidate for a Catholic realist (if there is such a category). Almost any writer or reader will find these letters fascinating for what they reveal about O'Connor and her method of working. Almost any spiritually-minded reader will find them equally intriguing for her insights on the human condition. Because Protestants don't have sacraments (Catholics have seven sacraments, Protestants have two), she once suggested, they have to make everything up as they go along. That seems to me to be the case in some post-modern churches where, it would seem, anything goes. But it would be incorrect, as Ralph Wood shows in Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-haunted South, to think she therefore held the fundamentalists who people her books in disdain, as did liberal Protestants and much of society in her time. Her generous nature is one reason so many are returning to reading O'Connor, and so many new readers are discovering her.
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life , the...