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March 28, 2022

Flannery O'Connor

Close your eyes. Visualize a man waving around a pistol and quoting the Bible. It's not a Quentin Tarantino movie. It’s the world of renowned Catholic author Flannery O’Connor, who set her works in the American South in the 1930s and 40s.

O’Connor filled her works with startling allusions and retellings of Bible stories. This was often done with an unusual and humorous combination of the mundane and the scandalous.

Her style has been termed "gothic" and her stories are populated by the likes of misfits, murderers, and mean-spirited children—an unlikely cast for biblical storytelling.

She published two novels, but O’Connor was better known for her many short stories. A compilation of her short stories called Complete Stories won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1972. Her works and their biblical influences are now the subject of extensive study.

One scholar writes, “For O’Connor, the Bible is not an inspiration for her fiction; it is the reason for it.”

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