The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor

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Overview

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Special Award

"I have come to think that the true likeness of Flannery O'Connor will be painted by herself, a self-portrait in words, to be found in her letters . . . There she stands, a phoenix risen from her own words: calm, slow, funny, courteous, both modest and very sure of herself, intense, sharply penetrating, devout but never pietistic, downright, occasionally fierce, and honest in a way that restores honor to the word."—Sally ...

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Overview

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Special Award

"I have come to think that the true likeness of Flannery O'Connor will be painted by herself, a self-portrait in words, to be found in her letters . . . There she stands, a phoenix risen from her own words: calm, slow, funny, courteous, both modest and very sure of herself, intense, sharply penetrating, devout but never pietistic, downright, occasionally fierce, and honest in a way that restores honor to the word."—Sally Fitzgerald, from the Introduction

A collection of letters that reveal a personality continually ascending in its aliveness, strenght, humor and generosity --acquiring the habit of art with the habit of being.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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

Library Journal
Readers who become enamored with O’Connor and Lowell through their doppelganger correspondents may want to delve into the actual letters of each (some to each other) in these collections. Fans of Carlene Bauer’s Frances and Bernard can measure how well she did evoking the spirit of both and gain greater perspective on their style, interests, and concerns. O’Connor’s letters sparkle with her personality and focus of mind and reflect greatly on religion and writing. Lowell’s letters are equally rich, full of insightful comments on his times, reverberating in the wake of his illness, and resonant with his concerns about writing. He exchanged letters with a wide circle, including Elizabeth Bishop, Randall Jarrell, John Berryman, T.S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound (as well as O’Connor) and the way he sees literature and his place within it makes for fascinating reading.

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394742595
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/12/1980
  • Edition description: 1st Vintage Books ed
  • Pages: 617

Meet 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.

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Table of Contents

Introduction by Sally Fitzgerald

Part I: Up North and Getting Home

1948-1952

Part II: Day In and Day Out

1953-1958

Part III: "The Violent Bear It Away"

1959-1963

Part IV: The Last Year

1964

Index

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Customer Reviews

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