Risen Sons: Flannery O'Connor's Vision of History

Overview


Though stressing that Flannery O'Connor was first and foremost a writer of fiction, John Desmond maintains in Risen Sons that her orthodox Catholic theology stands at the center of her vision, providing the metaphysical base from which the fiction evolved. Given this religious context, Desmond contends that O'Connor's stated view of fiction-writing as an "incarnational act" suggests a direct connection between the practice of fiction-writing and the Incarnation of Christ--the pivotal historic event which her ...
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Overview


Though stressing that Flannery O'Connor was first and foremost a writer of fiction, John Desmond maintains in Risen Sons that her orthodox Catholic theology stands at the center of her vision, providing the metaphysical base from which the fiction evolved. Given this religious context, Desmond contends that O'Connor's stated view of fiction-writing as an "incarnational act" suggests a direct connection between the practice of fiction-writing and the Incarnation of Christ--the pivotal historic event which her fiction seeks to imitate and through which her vision is revealed.

O'Connor's attempts to create images that would connect the Incarnation with fictional incarnation, Mystery with mystery, were not immediately realized in her early works. It was only with Wise Blood that she came to recognize Christian historical vision as her particular fictional subject and the analogical method as the appropriate fictional strategy. This discovery made possible the convergence of her metaphysics, historical vision, and artistic technique, providing the thematic and structural basis for the quality of "unique wholeness" that distinguishes all her works.

Desmond suggests that O'Connor achieved the fullest development of her analogical vision and most complete identification of thought and technique in her novel The Violent Bear It Away. Her dramatic rendering of the route Tarwater takes before he can comprehend the transcendent, mysterious source of personality and the meaning of personhood in history parallels the actions of Christ, embodying O'Connor's complex and dramatic vision of the mind's engagement with history in all its ultimate extensions of meaning.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Desmond sets O'Connor's thought and work in the broad context of cultural and intellectual history. . . Combining clarity with sophistication and subtlety, this book is a rare example of wide knowledge that gives credibility to interdisciplinary work. This excellent work of scholarship is a mature book designed for mature audiences."--Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820335810
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2010
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 1,510,452
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author


John F. Desmond is Mary A. Denny Professor of English at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. He is the author of Risen Sons, Walker Percy's Search for Community (both Georgia), and At the Crossroads.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Introduction i

One
The Metaphysical Foundations of O'Connor's Art 6

Two
Beginnings: Seeing and the Search for the Incarnational Image 32

Three
Wise Blood: The Rain of History 51

Four
Community in History: Imagining the Mystical Body 63

Five
History, Memory, and Eschatology 83

Six
Risen Sons: History, Consciousness, and Personality 93

Conclusion 117

Notes 121

Bibliography 127

Index 133

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