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Monday, November 25, 2013

On my Christmas Wish List..Flannery O'Connor's Prayer Journal

Flannery O'Connor's A Prayer Journal

From the New York Times book review:
While O’Connor was a student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop she was also a daily communicant at St. Mary’s Catholic Church at the edge of campus. Her journal reflects a conflict, in her mind at least, between a skeptical intellectual environment and the faith she sometimes anxiously sustains. She says: “I dread, Oh Lord, losing my faith. My mind is not strong. It is a prey to all sorts of intellectual quackery. I do not want it to be fear which keeps me in the church.” She knows all the arguments against religion. They seem to have changed little over the last 70 years, so there is no need to rehearse them here. Considering the threat she feels them to be, it is striking that atheism, in an apparently Southern, vernacular incarnation with nothing intellectual about it, is at the center of “Wise Blood,” the novel she had already begun to write and submit to be read in workshop. This is a tale in which pathos tips into pathology and violence, answered by a penance of self-mutilation and suffering. Yet the prose is absolutely brilliant, sentence by sentence, simile by simile, and so relentlessly inventive it feels comic. The young writer prays, “Please let Christian principles permeate my writing and please let there be enough of my writing (published) for Christian principles to permeate.”

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