Second only to Tupac Shakur, Flannery O’Connor has had a long posthumous career. Since the author’s death from Lupus in 1965, numerous additional works have been released to the public (starting with her best short story : “Everything that Rises Must Converge”). Being a huge O’Connor fan, I admit having a penchant for impulsively buying each new obscure manuscript released by her grasping publishers (still trying to make good on a franchise discontinued 48 years ago). I even bought the collection of comics Flannery drew for her college papers (unsurprisingly, not the most revelatory publication). Now there is a new series of prayer journals taken from early in the author’s life. The Atlantic has the profile:
Beneath the surface, as recorded on the 47 and a half handwritten pages to which we now have access (A Prayer Journal includes a facsimile), she was refining her vocation with the muscularity and spiritual ferocity of a young saint-in-waiting. The first page or pages of the notebook have been lost, and it begins—how poetic is this?—mid-sentence, with “effort at artistry.”
“To maintain any thread in the novel,” she muses in one of the journal’s rare moments of literary theory, “there must be a view of the world behind it & the most important single item under this view of world is conception of love—divine, natural, & perverted.”
Sounds amazing. I read through Flannery O’Connor’s letters a few years back. There is humor even in her minor observations about life. My personal favorite was her attempt to justify her own poor spelling by saying “I am an innocent speller” (I’ll remember that the next time a submit a paper). I’m sure there are more quotes like this in the new collection. So I guess it will be another transfer from me to Flannery’s estate, I hope she has some deserving descendent who stands to benefit from all my contributions.