View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


Acclaimed author and Catholic thinker Flannery O'Connor (1925—1964) penned two novels, two collections of short stories, various essays, and numerous book reviews over the course of her life. Her work continues to fascinate, perplex, and inspire new generations of readers and poses important questions about human nature, ethics, social change, equality, and justice. Although political philosophy was not O'Connor's pursuit, her writings frequently address themes that are not only crucial to American life and culture, but also offer valuable insight into the interplay between fiction and politics.

A Political Companion to Flannery O'Connor explores the author's fiction, prose, and correspondence to reveal her central ideas about political thought in America. The contributors address topics such as O'Connor's affinity with writers and philosophers including Eric Voegelin, Edith Stein, Russell Kirk, and the Agrarians; her attitudes toward the civil rights movement; and her thoughts on controversies over eugenics. Other essays in the volume focus on O'Connor's influences, the principles underlying her fiction, and the value of her work for understanding contemporary intellectual life and culture.

Examining the political context of O'Connor's life and her responses to the critical events and controversies of her time, this collection offers meaningful interpretations of the political significance of this influential writer's work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813169408
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 07/21/2017
Series: Political Companions to Great American Authors Series
Pages: 398
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Henry T. Edmondson III is Carl Vinson Endowed Chair of Political Science and Public Administration at Georgia College, Flannery O'Connor's alma mater. He is the editor of The Moral of the Story: Literature and Public Ethics and the author of Return to Good and Evil: Flannery O'Connor's Response to Nihilism.

Table of Contents

Series Foreword vii

Introduction Henry T. Edmondson III 1

Part I O'Connor's Politics

1 Flannery O'Connor and the Agrarians: Authentic Religion and Southern Identity John D. Sykes Jr. 21

2 "These Jesuits Work Fast": O'Connor's Elusive Polities Benjamin B. Alexander 45

3 Desegregation and the Silent Character in O'Connor's "Everything That Rises Must Converge" Michael L. Schroeder 68

4 The Pivotal Year, 1963: Flannery O'Connor and the Civil Rights Movement Margaret Earley Whitt 79

Part II Kindred Spirits

5 Flannery O'Connor, Friedrich von Hügel, and "This Modernist Business" George Piggford, C.S.C. 101

6 Flannery O'Connor, the Left-Wing Mystic, and the German Jew: A Reconsideration Sarah Gordon 126

7 Sacramental Suffering: The Friendship of Flannery O'Connor and Elizabeth Hester Ralph C. Wood 145

8 Flannery O'Connor as Baroque Artist: Theological and Literary Strategies Mark Bosco, S.J. 176

Part III O'Connor and Modernity

9 O'Connor and the Rhetoric of Eugenics: Misfits, the "Unfit," and Us Farrell O'Gorman 199

10 "School for Sanctity": O'Connor, Illich, and the Politics of Benevolence Gary M. Ciuba 222

11 "He Thinks He's Jesus Christ!": Flannery O'Connor, Russell Kirk, and the Problem of Misguided Humanitarianism Henry T. Edmondson III 251

12 Flannery O'Connor and Political Community in "The Displaced Person" John Roos 278

13 Future Flannery, or, How a Hillbilly Thomist Can Help Us Navigate the Politics of Personhood in the Twenty-First Century Christina Bieber Lake 303

IV Beyond Politics

14 In Defense of Being: Flannery O'Connor and the Politics of Art John F. Desmond 327

15 Flannery O'Connor, Eric Voegelin, and the Question That Lies between Them Marion Monigomery 349

Acknowledgments 367

Selected Bibliography 369

List of Contributors 373

Index 377

Customer Reviews