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Pamela K. JensenPamela K. Jensen, Kenyon College
With this lucid, compelling, and important book, Henry T. Edmondson III reveals Flannery O'Connor's prophetic poetry and explains her moral vision. He leads us into the heart of her fiction and exhibits a profound understanding of her intentions and of her theological sources. Moving adroitly among her stories, letters, and speeches--intrepidly tracking her every literary move--Edmondson makes it as hard for us, as it is for O'Connor's characters, to remain in "some halfway position" on moral questions. He demonstrates, moreover, that O'Connor's "Christian realism" is not for the faint of heart. She offers shock therapy for the morally obtuse and hard-edged truths to alarm the easygoing and sentimental. As Edmondson explains, O'Connor's stories show why the Nietzchean effort to expel good and evil, and God and the Devil, is doomed to fail--but she further shows that when this misadventure is abandoned, self-knowledge will return through grace.