The Letters of Flannery O’Connor and Caroline Gordon

Edited by Christine Flanagan

Newly published correspondence that sheds light on two literary luminaries

Reviews

“Readers knowledgeable about the strong friendship between Flannery O’Connor and Caroline Gordon will applaud Christine Flanagan’s gathering of this instructive and compelling collection. The often imperious and strongwilled Gordon was certainly a force in O’Connor’s development as a writer; this carefully annotated exchange underscores both O’Connor’s acquiescence and her frequent resistance to Gordon’s rigorous ideas. This volume will certainly be an important source for scholars for years to come.”
—Sarah Gordon, author of Flannery O’Connor: The Obedient Imagination and A Literary Guide to Flannery O’Connor’s Georgia


Description

“This girl is a real novelist,” wrote Caroline Gordon about Flannery O’Connor upon being asked to review a manuscript of O’Connor’s first novel, Wise Blood. “She is already a rare phenomenon: a Catholic novelist with a real dramatic sense, one who relies more on her technique than her piety.”

This collection of letters and other documents offers the most complete portrait of the relationship between two of the American South’s most acclaimed twentieth-century writers: Flannery O’Connor and Caroline Gordon. Gordon (1895–1981) had herself been a protégée of an important novelist, Ford Madox Ford, before publishing nine novels and three short story collections of her own, most notably, The Forest of the South and Old Red and Other Stories, and she would offer insights and friendship to O’Connor during almost all of O’Connor’s career.

As revealed in this collection of correspondence, Gordon’s thirteen-year friendship with O’Connor (1925–64) and the critiques of O’Connor’s fiction that she wrote during this time not only fostered each writer’s career but occasioned a remarkable series of letters full of insights about the craft of writing. Gordon, a more established writer at the start of their correspondence, acted as a mentor to the younger O’Connor, and their letters reveal Gordon’s strong hand in shaping some of O’Connor’s most acclaimed work, including Wise Blood, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” and “The Displaced Person.”

Page count: 272 pp.
2 b&w images
Trim size: 6 x 9

 



Hardcover
List price: $32.95
978-0-8203-5408-8
10/1/2018

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Ebook
List price: $32.95
978-0-8203-5407-1
10/1/2018
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CHRISTINE FLANAGAN is an associate professor of English at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.