Cover

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pp. c-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

Abbreviations

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pp. ix-xii

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. 1-14

Most twentieth-century observers of the fabled “mind of the South” have been inclined to agree with W. J. Cash’s 1941 assessment of it as “at bottom religious.”1 Later thinkers sharing Cash’s political sympathies have perhaps become more sophisticated in describing the nature and sometimes deleterious effects of southern religiosity (which Cash attributed largely to...

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1. “WE HAVE HAD OUR FALL”: Malaise and Mystery in the Lives of Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy

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pp. 15-50

When Flannery O’Connor made her claim that the southern writer had some special knowledge of the human condition that the American writer in general lacked, she was interpreting rather seriously a statement Walker Percy made in New York following the National Book Award ceremony in 1962....

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2. SOUTH TO ROME: Four Southern Writers and the Catholic Revival

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pp. 51-102

At the end of 1951, Caroline Gordon, a generous editor as well as an accomplished writer of fiction herself, received at her Minneapolis residence the manuscripts of two apprentice novels:O’Connor’s Wise Blood and Percy’s The Charterhouse. Her reaction to these works was overwhelmingly positive. She wrote to her friend Brainard Cheney:“It’s no accident, I’m sure, that in the...

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3. TOWARD A CATHOLIC THEORY OF FICTION: A Christian Realism of the “Here-and-Now”

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pp. 103-150

At the end of O’Connor’s final story, “Parker’s Back,” the rakish sensualist O. E. Parker confronts his stern fundamentalist wife with the image now tattooed on what was previously the sole unmarked spot on his body. Sarah Ruth Parker, staring at “the haloed head of a flat stern Byzantine Christ with...

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4. POSTWAR AMERICA AND THE END OF THE MODERN SOUTH: Catastrophes, Castaways, New Worlds

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pp. 151-198

O’Connor and Percy alike radically critiqued both decaying southern traditions and the triumphant American culture that was replacing them, but their fiction derives much of its power from its placement at the precise cultural moment when such a conflict was occurring in the wake of World War...

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5. LANGUAGES OF MYSTERY: Legacies of O’Connor and Percy in Contemporary Southern Letters

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pp. 199-236

Thus far I have focused on how O’Connor and Percy’s Catholicism shaped their relationship to their immediate predecessors and contemporaries in southern literary history. Now I want to consider their relationship to their posterity, to those writers who followed them in the last quarter of the twentieth...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 237-244

Index

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pp. 245-259