Flannery O'Connor discovered initimations of divinity not in the lives of saints, but in wickedly funny tales of human misfits who, through peculiar and often violent turns of events, run up against the limits of worldly wisdom. Her complete works are presented here for the first time in a single volume. Included are two novels, Wise Blood and The Violent Bear It Away; her short story collections, A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Everything That Rises Must Converge; and nine additional stories, selected essays, and 259 witty, spirited, and revealing letters, several never before published.
Flannery OConnor was born in Savannah, Georgia, on March 25, 1925, and was raised as a devout Roman Catholic in Milledgeville, Georgia. Upon graduation from the Graduate Program of the Womens College of Georgia, OConnor attended the writing program at the State University of Iowa, receiving her MFA in 1947. Among the strongest influences on OConnors work were the writings of William Faulkner and Nathanael West, from whom she derived her conception of the grotesque in literature. Following the publication of numerous short stories in literary journals, OConnors first novel, Wise Blood, was published in 1952. Suffering from a hereditary rheumatic ailment, she spent the next twelve years writing at the family farm in Milledgeville under the care of her mother, Regina, and the strictest medical super vision. A Good Man is Hard to Find, a collection of short stories, was published in 1955, and another novel, The Violent Bear It Away, appeared in 1960. Though seriously ill, OConnor made an extensive series of lecture tours, received an honorary degree from Smith College in 1963, and that same year, won first prize in the annual OHenry short story awards (as she had previously done in 1956). After her death on August 3, 1964, another collection of short stories, Everything That Rises Must Converge, was published (1965), as well as a volume of unpublished lectures and essays and various critical articles, Mystery and Manners (1969).