Quotations From FLANNERY O'CONNOR


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  • I preach there are all kinds of truth, your truth and somebody else's. But behind all of them there is only one truth and that is that there's no truth.
    Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964), U.S. author. The preacher Hazel Motes, in Wise Blood, ch. 10 (1952).

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  • At its best our age is an age of searchers and discoverers, and at its worst, an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily.
    Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964), U.S. fiction writer and essayist. Mystery and Manners, part 5 (1969). From "Novelist and Believer," a paper given in March 1963 at a symposium at Sweet Briar College, Virginia.

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  • ... the main concern of the fiction writer is with mystery as it is incarnated in human life.
    Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964), U.S. fiction writer and essayist. Mystery and Manners, part 5 (1969). Written in 1964.

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  • ... art transcends its limitations only by staying within them.
    Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964), U.S. fiction writer and essayist. Mystery and Manners, part 5 (1969). Written in 1964.
  • ... the writer is initially set going by literature more than by life.
    Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964), U.S. fiction writer and essayist. Mystery and Manners, part 2 (1969). Written in 1957.

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  • ... the man in the violent situation reveals those qualities least dispensable in his personality, those qualities which are all he will have to take into eternity with him.
    Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964), U.S. fiction writer and essayist. Mystery and Manners, part 3 (1969). Written in 1957. O'Connor's stories and novels often contained violence. She was a devout Roman Catholic.
  • ... good and evil appear to be joined in every culture at the spine.
    Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964), U.S. fiction writer and essayist. Mystery and Manners, part 5 (1969). Written in 1963.

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  • ... the novelist is bound by the reasonable possibilities, not the probabilities, of his culture.
    Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964), U.S. fiction writer and essayist. Mystery and Manners, part 5 (1969). From "Novelist and Believer," a paper given in March 1963 at a symposium at Sweet Briar College, Virginia.

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  • I have found that anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the Northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic.
    Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964), U.S. author. repr. in Mystery and Manners, eds. Sally and Robert Fitzgerald (1972). Cluster Review (Macon, 1965). "Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction," paper, read at Wesleyan College for Women, Macon, Georgia.
  • I think they are the slobber-heartedest lily-mindedest piously conniving crowd in the modern world.
    Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964), U.S. novelist, story writer, and essayist. As quoted in The Habit of Being (1979). From a letter, dated September 1, 1963, to her anonymous correspondent "A." She was speaking of an interview conducted with her by a writer for an Atlanta magazine; before publication, their discussion of the "race question" was amended by an editor to the "social" crisis, "so that none of it makes much sense."

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