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

By Anthony Di Renzo

Focusing right here at the comedian genius of Flannery O’Connor’s fiction, Anthony Di Renzo finds a measurement of the author’s paintings that has been missed via either her supporters and her detractors, such a lot of whom have heretofore centred solely on her use of theology and parable.Noting an especial kinship among her characters and the grotesqueries that beautify 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 partially on Mikhail Bakhtin’s research of Rabelais, Di Renzo examines the several different types of the ugly in O’Connor’s fiction and the parallels in medieval paintings, literature, and folklore. He starts via demonstrating that the determine of Christ is the right at 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 residing presence within the actual global. Di Renzo is going directly to talk about O’Connor’s strange therapy of the human physique and its dating to medieval fabliaux. He depicts the interaction among the saintly and the demonic in her paintings, illustrating how for her solid is simply as gruesome as evil since it remains to be "something lower than construction."

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

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To things" (ix). Contradiction is its fundamental principle. It offers no resolutions. It lacks the picture-perfect happy ending of comedy or the moral judgment of satire; and it completely derides the transcendental closure of tragedy. Instead, the grotesque aims for "a regenerating ambivalence," an affirmation of paradox in a heads-or-tails world (Bakhtin 21): "She would of been a good woman,'' the Misfit says of the grandmother in "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life" (CS 133).

Stephens' position is extreme and is hardly representative of the majority of O'Connor scholarship. But she best articulates the kind of fastidious revulsion that even O'Connor's more supportive critics sometimes exhibit toward her characters: A good indication of what must be called O'Connor's contempt for ordinary human life is the loathing with which she apparently contemplated the human body. She liked to describe facesshe hardly ever passed up an opportunityand nearly all her faces are ugly.

They are too busy condemning or supporting O'Connor's religious beliefs. Few writers since Milton have been so resented or applauded for supposedly justifying God's ways to humankind, and few writers have been more frequently accused of secretly belonging to the devil's party, orthodoxy or diabolism isn't the secret of O'Connor's peculiar and ambivalent laughter: style is. O'Connor's art is as delightfully, as bizarrely stylized as that of a medieval illuminator. Like Adelmo of Otranto, she traces fantastic and obscene figures on the margins of a canonical text.

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