The Letters of Flannery O'Connor and Caroline Gordon

Edited by Christine Flanagan

Title Details

Pages: 272

Formats

Hardcover

Pub Date: 10/01/2018

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5408-8

List Price: $32.95

eBook

Pub Date: 10/01/2018

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5407-1

List Price: $32.95

Subsidies and Partnerships

Published with the generous support of Friends Fund

The Letters of Flannery O'Connor and Caroline Gordon

Edited by Christine Flanagan

Newly published correspondence that sheds light on two literary luminaries

Skip to

  • Description
  • Reviews

"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."

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 strong-willed 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

While O'Connor's status as the preeminent author of Southern Catholic literature won't be changing anytime soon, Flanagan has given us many reasons to believe that Gordon helped get her there. Indeed, Flanagan makes a sensible case that Gordon's own fiction-long considered second fiddle to the works of O'Connor, Walker Percy, and other Southern Catholic mavens-deserves a fresh valuation.

—National Review

About the Author/Editor

CHRISTINE FLANAGAN is an associate professor of English at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.