Can’t resist…

…one last post before the clock strikes Lent…

The NYT has a review of Brad Gooch’s biography “Flannery” here, and the reviewer busts out this gem: “And she combined the sexual knowingness of a 12-year-old with a gender-bending fusion of Southern gothic and luridly medieval sensibilities in her mordant, theologically inspired storytelling.”

Oddly enough, JOB today reminded me of one of my very favorite O’Connor bits, one which neatly displays her 12-year-old’s sexual knowingness and luridly medieval sensibilities: “”If the average Catholic reader cold be tracked down through the swamps of letters-to-the-editor and other places where he momentarily reveals himself, he would be found to be more of a Manichean than the Church permits. By separating nature nad grace as much as possible, he has reduced his
conception of the supernatural to pious cliché and has become able to recognize nature in literature in only two forms, the sentimental and the obscene. He would seem to prefer the former, while being more of an authority on the latter, but the similarity between the two generally escapes him. HE forgets that sentimentality is an excess, a distortion of
sentiment usually in the direction of an overemphasis on innocence, and that innocence, whenever it is overemphasized in the ordinary human condition, tends by some natural law to become its opposite. We lost our innocence in the Fall, and our return to it is through the Redemption which was brought about by Christ’s death and by our slow participation in it. Sentimentality is a skipping of this process in its concrete reality and an early arrival at a mock state of innocence, which strongly suggests its opposite. Pornography, on the other hand, is essentially sentimental, for it leaves out the connection of sex with its hard purpose, and so far disconnects it from its meaning in life as to make it simply an experience for its own sake.”


  1. Rufus McCain says

    Here‘s a source for the Flannery passage.

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