Thursday June 4th, 2009

Still Considering Flannery

I’ve rarely seen a book get reviewed over such a long period of time as Brad Gooch’s recent biography of Flannery O’Connor. (I’d put Carlene Bauer’s review of it for this site up against anybody.) Now comes a look from The New Republic, including this, which made me smile:

Perhaps she shared the skepticism of Zola, whose novel Lourdes she was given on the trip, and who famously quipped that he saw a lot of abandoned crutches on the road from Lourdes but no artificial legs. Or perhaps she disliked the vulgarity of miracles on demand. In any case, it was not physical health that O’Connor was after, at Lourdes or anywhere else. “I prayed there for the novel I was working on, not for my bones, which I care about less,” she wrote.

And this, about O’Connor’s religion:

Like others before him, Gooch overestimates O’Connor’s theological sophistication. . . . The truth is that O’Connor liked the Catholic Church because she didn’t have to think about it. Just as she once claimed that she wanted to remain twelve forever, with none of the complications of puberty, she thought the Church was most trustworthy around the thirteenth century.