Strange Lands: Re-Imagining the Contributions of Flannery O’Connor in a New South



Petrisek, Justin

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This thesis describes the tendency to resort to anagogical interpretations when analyzing the work of Flannery O’Connor and the need to introduce new categories and language in O’Connor studies amid changing understandings of southern culture. Following work begun by Patricia Yaeger in women’s southern fiction, this thesis plumbs several aspects of O’Connor’s work sometimes overlooked and deemed “strange,” “weird,” or “monstrous,” namely her bizarre treatment of particular places, objects, and bodies. These areas serve as a three-pronged approach to draw out strange details and offer new ways of reading O’Connor without overemphasizing potentially religious or anagogical aspects. In the process of researching and writing this thesis, the author conducted a search of reviews, literary criticism, and literary analysis related to O’Connor, pairing it with his own textual analysis. This thesis is intended as a culmination of the author’s studies, an in depth analysis of O’Connor’s overall work, and a personal tribute to O’Connor’s influence in the art of short story writing.



O'Connor, South, Strange, Trauma, Monstrosity