Monday, November 18, 2013

Flannery O'Connor's Inspiration

Marilynne Robinson reviews Flannery O'Connor's recently published journal and, as usual, makes connections that cross time and space, pointing out how the patterns of thought that gave us the Muses as literal inspiration have been lost, evoking some of Barfield's comments to my ear:

"O’Connor’s awareness of her gifts gives her a special kind of interest in them. Having concluded one early entry by asking the Lord to help her “with this life that seems so treacherous, so disappointing,” she begins the next entry: “Dear God, tonight it is not disappointing because you have given me a story. Don’t let me ever think, dear God, that I was anything but the instrument for Your story — just like the typewriter was mine.”
      
"... I would be curious to know what story or part of a story by O’Connor should be attributed to the Lord. It can seem self-aggrandizing or simply bizarre to ascribe any thought or work to a seemingly external source, named or unnamed. Nevertheless, ­Hesiod, Pindar and any number of poets and prophets before and after them have declared indebtedness of this kind. If they, and O’Connor, were na├»ve, sophistication has made language poorer."

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