New Essays on Wise Blood

Overview

These new critical essays on Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor's explosive first novel, not only question our understanding of the "Southern Gothic," but launch a new inquiry into the nature and history of O'Connor's critical reputation, at a time when the construction of literary history is itself conflicted. Despite being a woman and a twentieth-century author - conditions that have traditionally proved inimical to canonization - O'Connor is now perceived as a "classic" American writer and continues to speak with ...
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Overview

These new critical essays on Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor's explosive first novel, not only question our understanding of the "Southern Gothic," but launch a new inquiry into the nature and history of O'Connor's critical reputation, at a time when the construction of literary history is itself conflicted. Despite being a woman and a twentieth-century author - conditions that have traditionally proved inimical to canonization - O'Connor is now perceived as a "classic" American writer and continues to speak with striking clarity and disturbing vision to successive generations. Thus far, however, most critical interpretations of Wise Blood have been written in much the same key, focusing on the theological strength of its themes and the major character, Hazel Motes. The essays presented here break the monotony of this critical treatment by holding the novel up to the light of several new and controversial methodologies. The collection begins with Michael Kreyling's explanation of the nature and history of O'Connor's literary reputation using quotations from her letters and works and from critical reviews and articles covering the history of her presence in the canon. Four critical essays, alluded to in the general introduction, then take up the novel from four distinct and often controversial, points of view. Robert Brinkmeyer, Jr., who has written on O'Connor from a more or less traditional theological view in the past, writes a reevaluative essay from that point of view. Patricia Yaeger writes a feminist/psychoanalytical essay exploring the construction of the narrative voice in Wise Blood. James Mellard links O'Connor and Lacan, exploring territory that O'Connor herself found dangerous and irresistible: psychology and psychoanalysis. Lance Bacon, finally, writes one of the most original essays in print, placing O'Connor in the milieu of her times, American popular culture of the 1950s.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This reader is grateful to Michael Kreyling for offering a new critical collection which recognizes that Wise Blood is an even stranger novel that I had thought in 1962. This collection will be invaluable for future study of the novel and of Flannery O'Connor the novelist." The Southern Quarterly

"This collection offers a surprising array of critical assessments with many enticing concepts to explore. This series of essyas on Wise Blood certainly fulfills..." Floyd Barnett, Mississippi Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521445504
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995
  • Series: American Novel Series
  • Pages: 138
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Table of Contents

Series Editor's Preface
1 Introduction 1
2 A Fondness for Supermarkets: Wise Blood and Consumer Culture 25
3 Framed in the Gaze: Haze, Wise Blood, and Lacanian Reading 51
4 "Jesus, Stab Me in the Heart!": Wise Blood, Wounding, and Sacramental Aesthetics 71
5 The Woman without Any Bones: Anti-Angel Aggression in Wise Blood 91
Notes on Contributors 117
A Note on the Text 119
Selected Bibliography 121
Index
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