Biography (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
Mary Flannery O’Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, on March 25, 1925, the only child of Edward Flannery and Regina Cline O’Connor. Both her parents were Roman Catholics from active Catholic families, a religious heritage that had a deep effect on her thinking and writing. As a child, she attended parochial school and early developed an interest in domestic birds and poultry. In her later writings she recalled that, when she was five, a newsreel company came to film her pet bantam chicken, which could walk both forward and backward. Years later, in a high school home economics class, she responded to an assignment to make a child’s garment by creating a white piqué coat for a pet chicken. Also during her early years, O’Connor began to develop a talent for drawing and cartooning, an interest which remained with her through her life.
In 1938, her father was diagnosed as having disseminated lupus, a progressive disease in which the body forms antibodies to its own tissues. With that, the family moved from Savannah to Milledgeville, Georgia, where Regina O’Connor’s father had been mayor. Edward O’Connor died in February of 1941, and Flannery remained in Milledgeville for most of the rest of her life, with time away only during her brief period of healthy adulthood between 1945 and 1950.
In 1942, O’Connor entered Georgia...
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Biography (Critical Survey of Short Fiction, Second Revised Edition)
Flannery O’Connor’s relatively short life was, superficially, rather uneventful. O’Connor was born on March 25, 1925, in Savannah, Georgia, to Regina Cline and Edward Francis O’Connor, Jr. She was their only child. O’Connor’s father worked in real estate and construction, and the family lived in Savannah until 1938, when the family moved to Atlanta. In that year, Edward O’Connor became a zone real estate appraiser for the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Shortly thereafter, O’Connor and her mother moved to Milledgeville, Georgia, and her father became so ill that he had to resign from his job in Atlanta and move to Milledgeville. On February 1, 1941, Edward O’Connor died.
In her youth, O’Connor was diagnosed with the same disease that had killed her father when she was almost sixteen. Her short life would end tragically from complications related to disseminated lupus, a disease that attacks the body’s vital organs. From the fall of 1938 until her death, O’Connor spent most of her life in Milledgeville, except for brief hiatuses. After graduating from the experimental Peabody High School in 1942, O’Connor entered Georgia State College for Women (subsequently renamed Georgia College) in Milledgeville, where she majored in sociology and English and was graduated with an A.B. degree in June, 1945. While in college, she was gifted both in drawing comic cartoons and in writing. In September, 1945, O’Connor enrolled at the State...
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Biography (Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Fourth Edition)
Mary Flannery O’Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1925 and moved with her mother to Milledgeville, Georgia, in 1938. She earned her bachelor of arts degree from Women’s College of Georgia in 1945 and received a master of fine arts degree from the State University of Iowa in 1947. She published her first short story, “The Geranium” (Accent, 1946), during her years in Iowa. In 1947, she won the Rinehart-Iowa Fiction Award for a first novel with a portion of Wise Blood.
On the strength of this award and her promise as a writer, O’Connor was offered a fellowship by the Yaddo Foundation. She accepted and spent several months in Saratoga Springs, New York, but eventually returned to Milledgeville. A few months later, O’Connor moved in with the Fitzgerald family in Connecticut to complete Wise Blood. A serious illness, lupus erythematosus, redirected her life back to Milledgeville in 1951; there she would do the rest of her writing, and there she would die in 1964. From Milledgeville, she carried on a lively correspondence with friends, readers, critics, and her editors at Farrar and Giroux. When health permitted, she made trips to colleges and universities, many of them Roman Catholic schools, to discuss her work and literary art.
O’Connor won a Kenyon Review fellowship in fiction in 1953, a National Institute of Arts and Letters grant in 1957, and an O. Henry First Prize in Short Fiction in 1957. She...
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Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Mary Flannery O’Connor’s literary art combined a disarming Catholic orthodoxy with a Hawthorne-like knowledge of the effect of sin on human relationships, which she set in the Protestant South. It proved to be an irresistible mix even for secular critics, who found her parodies and celebrations of Bible Belt religion compelling and strangely disturbing. Her fiction succeeded not in making Christianity more palatable but in making its claims unavoidable.
Born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1925, O’Connor was by temperament and faith a devout Roman Catholic, the only child of Edward O’Connor and Regina Cline O’Connor. After her father fell gravely ill in 1938, she moved with her mother to the old Cline farmhouse, Andalusia, in Milledgeville, Georgia, her mother’s birthplace. O’Connor’s father died three years later. She attended Peabody High School with no perceptible sign of the deadly lupus, a serious and painful blood disorder, which took her father’s life and would eventually end hers.
By the time O’Connor took her bachelor’s degree from Women’s College of Georgia in 1945, she knew what she wanted to do: go north to learn the craft of fiction. She was accepted at the prestigious creative writing program at the University of Iowa, earning her master of fine arts degree in 1947. O’Connor published several stories in...
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Born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1925, Mary Flannery O’Connor attended Peabody High School and then Georgia State College, majoring in English and sociology. She received a master’s degree in literature from the University of Iowa and then spent seven months at the artist retreat at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs working on her first novel, Wise Blood, which she published in 1952.
In 1950, O’Connor suffered her first attack of lupus, a blood disease that had taken the life of her father when she was in her teens. She worked at her writing every day because she knew her life would be short. O’Connor died of lupus at the age of 39 (in 1964).
O’Connor’s body of work is small, consisting of thirty-one short stories, two novels, and some speeches and letters. Her major collections of short stories are The Life You Save May Be Your Own, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, and Everything That Rises Must Converge. All of her stories are influenced by her Southern background and her devout Roman Catholic beliefs; O’Connor frequently developed her plots and characters around themes of redemption and grace.
Many of O’Connor’s stories offer a wry wit, and she showed this in conversation as well. As a child she was in the local newspapers when a chicken she owned could walk backwards. She later said in an interview, “That was the most exciting thing that ever happened to me. It’s all been downhill from there.”
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Biography (eNotes Publishing)
Mary Flannery O’Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia, on March 25, 1925, to Catholic parents. She attended Catholic grammar and high school and later Georgia College. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa in 1947. In 1951, she was diagnosed with lupus, the disease that had killed her father. In spite of great pain and discomfort, O’Connor wrote two novels and thirty-two short stories, winning awards and acclaim, before eventually dying of lupus at the age of thirty-nine. Her major collections of short stories include The Life You Save May Be Your Own, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, and Everything Rises Must Converge.
O’Connor remained a devout Catholic throughout her life, which, together with the constant awareness of her own impending death, affected the themes of her stories, many of which address death, salvation, and grace, as well as violence and evil as forces for good. However, O’Connor’s stories often offer a wry wit too, which she uses in satirizing characters that think they know a great deal but still cannot recognize a truth obvious to persons with less intellect or education. She was not above self-deprecation, either, once recalling that as a child she was in the local newspapers when a chicken she owned walked backwards. She later said in an interview, “That was the most exciting thing that ever happened to me. It’s all been downhill from there.”
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Mary Flannery O’Connor was born on March 25, 1925 in Savannah, Georgia to Edward F. O’Connor, a real estate professional, and Regina L. (Cline) O’Connor, the daughter of a well-known Georgia family. The O’Connors were devout Catholics in a predominately Southern Baptist region – and many critics believe Flannery O’Connor’s Catholic roots had a major influence both on the subject matter and style of her direct yet nuanced writing.
O’Connor’s father became ill with lupus in 1937 an died when she was 15 – an event that foreshadowed O’Connor’s eventual bout with the same disease and also forced the family to relocate to Milledgeville, Ga. (Her mother’s side of the family lived there, and her maternal grandfather had served as the small city’s mayor.)
Despite the loss of her father, O’Connor graduated from the local public high school and also earned a degree from the Women’s College of Georgia (now known as Georgia College). An active writer, O’Connor contributed to the college literary magazine and was accepted at the already-prestigious masters program in writing at the State University of Iowa (now known as Iowa State University). There, she broadened not only her writing skills but also the breadth of literature she read, studying Catholic novelists from around the world. She had yet to read many Southern writers or the Russian novelists.
By the time she graduated from Iowa in 1947, she had already...
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Mary Flannery O’Connor was born in 1925 in Savannah, Georgia, the only child of a middle-class Catholic family. Her father was a realtor who had once had literary ambitions, and her mother came from a prominent Georgia political family. From an early age O’Connor, a shy and quiet girl, had literary aspirations, which were encouraged by her father; at the age of six she began writing and illustrating her own stories. In 1938, the O’Connor family moved to Milledgeville, her mother’s hometown, after her father showed symptoms of lupus. O’Connor attended Peabody High School, where she contributed drawings and articles to the school newspaper and submitted short stories to literary journals.
In 1940 O’Connor’s father died, and she and her mother moved to her mother’s family farm, Andalusia. After graduating in 1945 from the Georgia State College for Women (now Georgia College), where she edited the college newspaper and literary magazine, O’Connor enrolled in the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa. At Iowa, she was mentored by Paul Engle, the director of the program, and made other important literary contacts.
Her first short story, “The Geranium,” was published in 1946. In 1947, O’Connor received her master of fine arts degree and won the Rinehart- Iowa Fiction Award, which consisted of a cash prize and an option on her first novel by the publisher Rinehart. For one semester she worked as a teaching assistant...
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Flannery O'Connor wrote from her experiences as a Roman Catholic raised in the Protestant South. Her religion and regional upbringing greatly contributed to her themes and writing style. Yet critics agree that her father's death from lupus—as well as her own later suffering from the same disease—were also significant influences on her writing.
Born Mary Flannery O'Connor to Edward Francis and Regina Cline O'Connor on March 25, 1925, in Savannah, Georgia, O'Connor lived in that southern city until the Great Depression forced the family to seek job opportunities elsewhere. O'Connor and her parents moved to Milledgeville, Georgia, where her grandparents lived and where she attended high school and college. While the family was living in Milledgeville, O'Connor's father died of systemic lupus erythematosus ("lupus" or "SLE"), a disease that results when the body's immune system goes out of control. O'Connor was thirteen at the time.
During her high school and college years, O'Connor demonstrated a talent for cartooning and writing. The characters she drew and the writing she did provided an often sarcastic view of the difficulties of growing up. O'Connor graduated from Peabody High School in 1942 and continued to write. She completed an A.B. degree in 1945 at the Georgia State College for Women (now Georgia College at Milledgeville) and, in 1947, a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at the prestigious University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.
O'Connor worked on her first novel, Wise Blood, during late 1948 and early 1949 while living in Connecticut and New York. She submitted it to Harcourt Brace for publication during the winter of 1950-51. At that same time, she began to show early symptoms of the disease that killed her father. Suffering from fatigue and aching joints, the twenty-five-year-old O'Connor moved back to the southern climate in Milledgeville, where she was living when she received her diagnosis of lupus.
While lupus attacked her body with greater force over the years, O'Connor continued to write, and always with spiritual undertones. She endured pain and disfigurement from the disease and its treatments without allowing them to shake her faith. She constantly believed that the human body was not the real body; the only true body was the body of the resurrected. Critics agree that her writing reflects this unwavering trust. For example, O'Connor's characters often exhibited grotesque appearances, actions, or personality traits—the imperfections resulting from a society that has lost its sense of spiritual purpose.
During the fourteen years after her diagnosis, O'Connor authored another novel and several short stories. She was the recipient of a number of awards, including O. Henry Memorial Awards in 1957, 1963, and 1964; a Ford Foundation grant in 1959; a National Catholic Book award in 1966; and the National Book Award in 1972, which she won for her book The Complete Short Stories. O'Connor died of lupus-related renal failure on August 3, 1964, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Considered one of the most powerful voices of American literary fiction, Flannery O'Connor was born Mary Flannery O'Connor in Savannah, Georgia, on March 25, 1925. She grew up in an ardently Catholic family. In 1945, she graduated from Georgia State College for Women (now Georgia College) in Milledgeville, and continued her studies through the graduate writing program at the University of Iowa. While still at Iowa, she published her first short story and, based on a portion of the manuscript of her first novel, Wise Blood, received a publisher's prize and admission to the artistic community at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York.
She was working on the novel and staying with the family of the poet Robert Fitzgerald and his wife Sally in rural Connecticut when she was stricken with lupus, the disease that had taken her father's life at age 41. Thereafter she returned to Milledgeville to live with her mother on the family farm until her death from complications from lupus on August 3, 1964, at age thirty-nine.
In her abbreviated writing life O'Connor published two novels, The Violent Bear It Away in addition to Wise Blood, and two collections of stories. The second collection, Everything That Rises Must Converge, was published shortly after her death. Another posthumous collection, The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor (1971), won the National Book Award for fiction, and it has remained in print ever since....
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Although she produced relatively few works in her short lifetime of 39 years, Mary Flannery O'Connor is considered one of the most important short story writers of the twentieth century because of her strange but interesting characters, her violent plot elements, and her religious world view. O'Connor was a Roman Catholic writer who knew that most of her audience did not share her strict moral view of the world. She sought, however, to present a message of God's grace and presence in everyday life. Born in the "Bible Belt" Southern city of Savannah, Georgia, on March 25, 1925, O'Connor's region and upbringing influenced her fiction in her depiction of character, of conflict, and in her choice of themes.
O'Connor was the only child of wealthy parents and attended high school in Milledgeville, Georgia. Her father, Edward Francis O'Connor, died when she was sixteen from degenerative lupus, the same disease that later took her life. At the Georgia College for Women, O'Connor majored in social sciences and edited and wrote for school publications. She later received a master's degree in writing from Iowa State University in 1947, using six of her stories as her master's thesis. After completing graduate school, O'Connor attended the prestigious Yaddo writers' colony in upstate New York in 1947-48, where she worked on her first novel Wise Blood. Moving to New York and then to Connecticut to live with good friends Sally and Robert Fitzgerald, O'Connor...
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Flannery O’Connor’s parents had an effect on their only daughter in ways that were both fruitful and tragic. O’Connor was born in 1925 to a prominent Georgia family of devout Roman Catholics—an anomaly in the largely Protestant South. This intensely religious milieu played a major role in O’Connor’s evolution as a writer. She attended schools in Savannah and Milledgeville and confronted tragedy at age fifteen when her father died of lupus, a degenerative disease which attacks the body’s vital organs. O’Connor later entered Georgia State College for Women (now Georgia College), majored in social sciences, and spent her spare time writing and drawing for student publications. She began writing and publishing short fiction in earnest when she entered the graduate writing program at Iowa State University, which she completed in 1947.
O’Connor started work on her first novel, Wise Blood, while living at a writer’s colony in upstate New York. She later lived in New York City and Connecticut with Sally and Robert Fitzgerald, fellow Catholics who shared many of O’Connor’s literary interests and who later wrote about her. This rather artistic lifestyle came to an abrupt end when, at age twenty-five, O’Connor herself suffered an attack of lupus. She moved back to Georgia to live with her mother on a dairy farm and continued to write, publishing Wise Blood in 1952, the story collection A Good Man Is Hard to Find in...
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Born on March 25, 1925, in Savannah, Georgia, Mary Flannery O’Connor was the only child of Edwin Francis and Regina Cline O’Connor. She was raised in a devout Roman Catholic family, which was an anomaly in the American South.
When O’Connor was thirteen, her father was diagnosed with disseminated lupus, a hereditary disease. The family moved to Milledgeville, Georgia, her mother’s hometown, where they lived in her mother’s ancestral home at the center of town. Edwin O’Connor died two years later.
O’Connor attended parochial school in Savannah but graduated from public high school in Milledgeville. She then attended the Georgia State College for Women, where she studied social sciences and had an avid interesting in cartooning.
After graduation she was determined to write and eventually earned a master’s degree at the prestigious University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. While still enrolled there she dropped ‘‘Mary’’ from her name and published her first short story, ‘‘The Geranium.’’
After college, she did a residency at the Yaddo writer’s colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. In 1949 she moved to New York City. Later she lived for a time with the literary couple Robert and Sally Fitzgerald and worked on her first novel, Wise Blood, in their Connecticut home before falling ill with lupus in 1950.
After her diagnosis, she returned to Milledgville for good. Accompanied by...
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