Download e-book for iPad: American Gargoyles: Flannery O'Connor and the Medieval by Anthony Di Renzo

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By Anthony Di Renzo

ISBN-10: 0809320304

ISBN-13: 9780809320301

Focusing the following at the comedian genius of Flannery O’Connor’s fiction, Anthony Di Renzo unearths a size of the author’s paintings that has been neglected by means of either her supporters and her detractors, so much of whom have heretofore centred solely on her use of theology and parable.Noting an especial kinship among her characters and the grotesqueries that enhance the margins of illuminated manuscripts and the facades of eu cathedrals, he argues that O’Connor’s Gothicism brings her stories nearer in spirit to the English secret cycles and the leering gargoyles of medieval structure than to the Gothic fiction of Poe and Hawthorne to which critics have so usually associated her work.Relying in part on Mikhail Bakhtin’s research of Rabelais, Di Renzo examines the various types of the ugly in O’Connor’s fiction and the parallels in medieval artwork, literature, and folklore. He starts by way of demonstrating that the determine of Christ is the fitting in the back of her satire—an perfect, besides the fact that, that has to be degraded in addition to exalted whether it is ever to be a dwelling presence within the actual international. Di Renzo is going directly to speak about O’Connor’s strange therapy of the human physique and its courting to medieval fabliaux. He depicts the interaction among the saintly and the demonic in her paintings, illustrating how for her solid is simply as ugly as evil since it remains to be "something less than construction."

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Extra resources for American Gargoyles: Flannery O'Connor and the Medieval Grotesque

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Her fiction, in her words, "was written with zest and, if possible, should be read that way, but this is seldom the case (WB 2). For many readers, O'Connor's use of the grotesque is proof of "so eccentric," ''so repugnant" a view of human life that "the strain of trying Page 11 to enter emotionally in her work" is too great to allow for laughter (Stephens 3). Martha Stephens is the chief inquisitor at a very dour tribunal: To say that Miss O'Connor was a devout Catholic hardly begins to suggest how formidable the distance between her view of life and the prevailing view of modern readers.

Mrs. Turpin had on her good black patent leather pumps. The ugly girl had on Girl Scout shoes and heavy socks. The old woman had on tennis shoes and the white-trashy mother had on what appeared to be bedroom slippers, black straw with gold braid threaded through them" (CS 49091). The grotesque resides in the mismatched: "Garlic and sapphires in the mud / Clot the bedded axle tree" (Eliot, Four Quartets 15). Even more than comedy or satire, it glories in the uncategorical nature of existence. It sees life as an "ingenious, constantly resourceful Page 8 disorder," a "pellmell of bitter and sweet, loveliness and ugliness, comic but with more than touches of the terrible" (Rosenfield viii).

Bernard denounced these outrageous figures in his famous letter to Abbot William: What are these ridiculous monstrosities doing in the very cloisters where the monks do their reading, these strange things hideously beautiful and beautifully hideous? What is the meaning of these filthy monkeys; these fierce lions and fearful centaurs; these ugly mutants, spotted tigers, fighting soldiers, and horn-blowing hunters? One sees a head with many bodies and a body with many heads. Here is a beast with a snake for its tail and a fish with the face of a cow.

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American Gargoyles: Flannery O'Connor and the Medieval Grotesque by Anthony Di Renzo


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