Flannery to Walker

As requested by Angelico (ask and ye shall receive):

Letter from Flannery O’Connor to Walker Percy, dated 29 March 1962, from The Walker Percy Papers, UNC Chapel Hill Libraries.


  1. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OPL says


    Maybe not a first-class relic, but a first-rate find nonetheless. Thank you, Mr Potter, for the surprize.

  2. I didn’t know people said ‘regards’ in 1962.

  3. Jonathan Webb says

    That relic would be lost if they had email back then.

    More here:


    Give me William Shakespeare.

  4. Very cool, indeed.

    • Not that anyone was asking, but I seem to think there were at least two pieces of correspondence between O’Connor and J.F. Powers.


      • Matthew Lickona says

        Always with the one-upmanship, aren’t you, Mr. Midwest?

      • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OPL says

        Haven’t gotten around to reading J.F. Powers yet myself, but TIM Powers should write a novel filling in the gaps in 20th-century Catholic writers’ biographies with paranormal secret history, connecting them all in one master plot. If it involves doppelgangers (maybe like O’Connor’s ‘The Crop’, but in reverse?), or alternate selves from time travel or divergent timelines (e.g., a Col. Walker Percy from a 20th century where the South had won the war and didn’t produce good literature), it could cast a new light on the phrase ‘the life you save may be your own’.

      • Well, this made me have to look up and see what the letters were. The first was an unsolicited review of The Presence of Grace in which she said that she like his stories better than any others she knew. I would very much like to get a letter like that from MFOC, but since I haven’t ever written any stories, I guess I won’t–that and the other obvious difficulties.

        The other was just about stuff, but she mentioned the library at U. of Michigan–Lansing, which, she had been told by the English faculty was “brand new and specialized in the second volumes of trilogies…,” which was a good enough laugh for the day.

        She also said that he wrote two kinds of stories, “those that deal with Catholic clergy and those that don’t. Those that deal with the clergy are as good as any stories being written by anybody; those that don’t are not so good . . . .” I think this is pretty much true, although the stories about families, while very dreary, my pretty well reflect the lives of families in the current economy. I heard a reviewer say that people don’t read Powers anymore because the kind of priestly life that he describes no longer exists. I still like them very much, though.

        Well, that is probably more than anyone wanted to read, but since you incited me to spend all this time doing things other than those which I ought to be doing, I thought I might return the favor.


        • Matthew Lickona says

          “More than anybody wanted to read” is the secret motto of the Korrektiv. The shift in priestly life may hasn’t done too much damage to Powers, I don’t think – people still read about all sorts of things that are no more. And not that many people read him when he was alive, or when priests really did live like that. A writer’s writer, they called him.

  5. Jonathan Webb says

    I think it’s Mr. New Jersey. A true midwesterner would have too much good sense to care.

  6. Jonathan Webb says

    No good midwesterner would post on Korrektiv. No “mids” here.

    • I don’t have the Midwesterner cred yet: three generations laying six feet under and adjacent to a cornfield/dairy pasture.

      I’m working on it, though. I’m working on it…



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