Flannery O'Connor

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O'Connor, Flannery

(Mary Flannery O'Connor), 1925–64, American author, b. Savannah, Ga., grad. Women's College of Georgia (A.B., 1945), Iowa State Univ. (M.F.A., 1947). As a writer, O'Connor is highly regarded for her bizarre imagination, uncompromising moral vision, and superb literary style. Combining the grotesque and the gothic and touched by mordant wit, her fiction treats 20th-century Southern life in terms of stark, brutal comedy and violent tragedy. Her characters, although often deformed in both body and spirit, are impelled toward redemption. All of O'Connor's fiction reflects her strong Roman Catholic faith. Wise Blood (1952) and The Violent Bear It Away (1960) are novels focusing on religious fanaticism; A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1955) and Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965) are short-story collections. Her Collected Stories was published in 1971. O'Connor had a form of lupus and spent the last ten years of her life as an invalid, writing and raising peacocks on her mother's farm near Milledgeville, Ga.


See her Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose, ed. by S. and R. Fitzgerald (1969) and A Prayer Journal (1946–47, first pub. 2013); her letters, ed. by S. Fitzgerald (1979); biography by B. Gooch (2009); studies by J. Hendin (1970) and K. Feeley (2d ed. 1982), S. Paulsen (1988), R. Giannone (1989), and B. Ragen (1989).

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O'Connor, (Mary) Flannery

(1925–64) writer; born in Savannah, Ga. She studied at the Women's College of Georgia (now Georgia College; B.A. 1945), and the State University of Iowa (M.F.A. 1947). She lived in Milledgeville, Ga., and suffered from lupus, a disease of the connective tissues, the cause of her father's death (1941) and her own premature death. She was a devout Catholic and her work is infused with visions of powerful spiritual struggles. She is considered a master of the short story form, as seen in her collection, A Good Man is Hard to Find (1955). Her acclaimed Gothic Southern novels include Wise Blood (1952) and The Violent Bear It Away (1960).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.