Discovering Flannery O'Connor: The Grace through the Limit

A Presentation on Flannery O'Connor's Life and Her Leading Concerns

with Ralph C. WOOD, University Professor of Theology and Literature, Baylor University

Presented by Crossroads Cultural Center in collaboration with The Center for Religion and Culture, St. Edward's University

Christianity reveals the method in which Christ reaches us, namely, in the mystery of the Incarnation, the Word becomes Flesh. The stories of Flannery O'Connor reveal this same method because people encounter grace through very concrete fragile realities. For example, in the story Revelation, Ruby Turpin encounters grace through the act of a young girl throwing a book at her. In the novel Wise Blood, O'Connor shows that the integrity of Hazel Motes lies in what he is not able to do; namely, he is not able to get rid of the ragged figure who moves from tree to tree in the back of his mind.

Why does O'Connor insist so much on the limits of people who are so unwillingly the instrument of grace?

Also striking, in Mystery and Manners, we find O'Connor's understanding that "the meaning of fiction is not abstract meaning but experienced meaning, and the purpose of making statements about the meaning of a story is only to help you to experience that meaning more fully."

If fiction is to be experienced and not reduced to entertainment or analysis, how does O'Connor help us, the readers, to experience meaning? If the role of the storyteller is to help the audience see, how does O'Connor enable the reader to have vision?

To discover the life and leading concerns of Flannery O'Connor, we have invited Ralph C. Wood, University Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. In addition to his scholarship, Professor Wood serves on the editorial board of the Flannery O’Connor Review and his works include The Comedy of Redemption: Christian Faith and Comic Vision in Four American Novelists [Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, John Updike and Peter De Vries] (Notre Dame, 1988) and Flannery O’Connor and the Christ-Haunted South (Eerdmans, 2004).

The event is open to the public and free of charge.

About this Event

Date: Thursday, May 15, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Carter Auditorium, St. Edward's University
3001 South Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78704
Click here for map

About the Speaker

Ralph C. Wood
Professor of Theology and Literature, Baylor University


Download the Invitation here


Part I
Part II

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