Title

In the Bleeding Stinking Mad Shadow of Jesus: Flannery O’Connor and a Gospel of Subversion

Publication Date

5-2015

Abstract

Three of Flannery O’Connor’s iconic themes, namely that a) high spiritual realities are manifested in low material things (“grace through nature”); b) the life of the prophet and Christian believer is costly (“mercy... is a burning word”); c) God’s mercy and grace are often expressed in the form of mysterious, difficult, even foolish truths (“the strangeness of truth”) are related, respectively, to the transcendentals of beauty, goodness, and truth. This central claim forms the foundation for three subsequent and interrelated claims:

1. The three iconic themes represent a subversion of the transcendental categories of beauty, goodness, and truth, and they are incarnated in O’Connor’s fiction in the forms of the terrible beauty, violent goodness, and foolish truth of God.

2. O’Connor’s subversion of these categories provides a hermeneutical key for understanding her stories more fully, particularly from a theological perspective.

3. Catholic lay theologian and spiritual advisor, Baron Friedrich von Hügel, whose work O’Connor began reading some time before the fall of 1954, was a key influence for these themes with (what I am calling) his “three ideas”. Even though such themes are present in her fiction prior to her introduction to von Hügel, O’Connor nonetheless explicitly attributes these ideas to him and they gain theological weight and sophistication after 1954. Her enthusiasm for, and frequent references to, von Hügel’s work are unmatched when compared to the work of any other writer she read, and yet, von Hügel’s influence is all but neglected by O’Connor critics.

Degree Name

PHD in Theology

First Advisor

Johnston, Robert

Date Uploaded

12-7-2018

Collection Number

ATS1643E

Document Type

Dissertation

File Name

Bruner_fuller.ats_1643E_10053

Language

English

Keywords

Flannery O'Connor, Criticism and interpretation, Theology in literature

Disciplines

Missions and World Christianity

Rights

Material hosted by ProQuest subject to copyright

Comments

This was uploaded by the David Allan Hubbard Library from the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (ProQuest). If there are any mistakes in this record, please contact archives@fuller.edu.

ProQuest URL

https://search.proquest.com/docview/1707933805/3E4EA462347C4A26PQ/1?accountid=11008

Upload File

wf_no

Embargo Period

12-7-2018

Share

COinS