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Flannery O'Connor: Spiritual Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters)

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  138 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Flannery OConnor (1925-1964) is widely regarded as one of the great American writers of the twentieth century. Only in 1979, however, with the publication of her collected letters, could the public fully see the depth of her personal faith and her wisdom as a spiritual guide. Drawing from all her work this anthology highlights as never before O?Connor?s distinctive voice a ...more
Paperback, 173 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Orbis Books
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Willie Krischke
Ever since I named my daughter after Flannery O'Connor, friends and family have asked me why, and what of hers they should read. And I never know what to say. The odd, gothic stories? Well, I love them, but they horrified my poor mother. The letters? I loved them even more than the stories...but who reads letters (well, me, for one, but not many.) The novels? Yikes.

This book absolutely fills that gathers, from the stories, the novels, the letters, the essays, bits and pieces of Ms. O'
Greta Kliewer
I wish I had made a concerted effort to read Flannery O'Connor when an acquaintance recommended her to me 10 years ago. However, this book met me at the perfect time in my life, and offered frank insight on matters of faith, grace, redemption, and life as a writer. If I could make people think about half as much as she does with her unapologetic but humorous descriptions and obvious understanding of how faith operates, I would consider my vocation fulfilling. I will be working through the rest o ...more
Doug Tattershall
This is primarily a collection of letters O'Connor wrote to various people on the subject of her faith. O'Connor is, of course, an amazing writer, and even her personal letters reflect this. She writes boldly, unafraid of the jolt and even the possible misunderstandings of what she writes, leaving the reader to catch his breath and look again to think about what she is really saying. What she says about her stories reveals that she is less a Southern writer and more a Catholic writer than most a ...more
This is a short but wonderful collection for anyone who wants to become more familiar with O'Connor's understanding of life and spirituality. 25% of the book is the Introduction by Richard Giannone, which is actually pretty valuable for making sense of the rest of the book. The core is then organized into five sections, each a compilation of excerpts from letters, stories and novels:

1. Christian Realism (natural first, then supernatural; see the unseen in the seen)

2. Mother and Teacher (relation
N.T. McQueen
We knew O'Connor was a gifted, profound storyteller but her writings and assertions as an apologist are equally impressive. Taken from letters, essays, and her own fiction, the sampling of spiritual writings reveal an erudite woman who discovered the link between faith and fiction. Even among her struggles with lupus, her positive and unwavering faith to God and the church is inspiring.
Chris Plemmons
Wonderfully condensed read that captures the spirit behind O'Connor's life. Her continual rumination upon Grace and and it's affects upon humans will be stimulating to any reader wanting to consider the deep love that prompts God to pursue us in such a manner. The only discouraging thing is at least twice throughout the book in her correspondence she disparages the full of work of the cross, and makes the entrance into eternity dependent upon her work as well. For protestants, this is a wonderfu ...more
So many authors I've read have quoted O'Connor that when this book appeared on the end display in my library, I snatched it. I've been more curious about Flannery O'Connor herself than I have been about her fiction which I have yet to read. (gasp) I'm also a bit of a geek for writer's diaries, memoirs, letters--I read most of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's diaries when I was raising my own children.
Suffice it to say, I was not disappointed--keen wit, pragmatic wisdom, and solid Catholic faith were bra
This book smacked me upside the head, so to speak. I had not read any of Flannery O'Connor's work, so I was unfamiliar with the themes but knew she was a fellow southerner and a devout Catholic. Her letters show so much wisdom, tempered with a good helping of sass. Her defenses of the faith are both raw and intellectual. This collection also includes excerpts from some of her novels and short stories, so if you are hoping to read those as well there are significant spoilers here. Her writing gav ...more
She's a firebrand of an old fashioned catholic. Yuo-chen hates this book because Flannery O'Connor looks like an old librarian, but for me the only negative is that I don't like stories with no plot. This book is filled with excerpts from her letters, so you never build up to anything. I like a lot of what she says, I think some of it doesn't stand up to time. She makes some good points about "the sea of faith"... where ignorant armies clash by night.
This edition is truly a gift to O'Connor lovers. I think Ellsberg has chosen insightful writings that give readers a glimpse of who O'Connor was, what she wanted us to know about her fiction, her struggle being categorized as a "catholic" and "spiritual" writer, her impending illness, and of course her humor. And he's managed to do so in a small, portable volume. In my copy, I've underlined more places than's a book I will read again and again.
This book was incredibly helpful for my understanding of Flannery, and my second time through it confirmed it as one of my favorite books. Before this book I considered her to be one of the funniest authors out there; now she is one of my favorites. Her characters are hilarious and familiar and have me laughing out loud frequently. Now which of her collections is up next?
The content was good, but I found the organization a bit odd. Sometimes the same quotations were repeated in different chapters.
Mar 24, 2010 J. rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Catholics, writers
Very Southern, very orthodox catholic writer. She has great insight in what it means to be a Catholic writer.
This book was amazing! I LOVED reading Flannery's thoughts on God and religion. I highly recommend this!
Carolyn Feltus-atkinson
Very cool ideas and information about a fascinating woman
A mix of incisive understanding and plodding explanation.
Diana Klee
Terrific book!
Nov 21, 2009 Jonathan added it
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Mary Flannery O’Connor was an American novelist, short-story writer and essayist. O’Connor’s writing often reflected her own Roman Catholic faith, and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics.

Her The Complete Stories received the 1972 National Book Award for Fiction. In a 2009 online poll conducted by the National Book Foundation, the collection was named the best work to have won the
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Other Books in the Series

Modern Spiritual Masters (1 - 10 of 57 books)
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  • Albert Schweitzer: Essential Writings
  • Alfred Delp, S.J.: Prison Writings
  • Anthony De Mello: Selected Writings
  • Bede Griffiths: Essential Writings
  • Brother Roger of Taize: Essential Writings
  • Carlo Carretto: Essential Writings
  • Caryll Houselander: Essential Writings
  • Catherine de Hueck Doherty: Essential Writings
  • Charles de Foucauld: Writings Selected with an Introduction
The Complete Stories A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories Wise Blood Everything That Rises Must Converge: Stories The Violent Bear it Away

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“Our spiritual character is formed as much by what we endure and what is taken from us as it is by our achievements and our conscious choices.” 2 likes
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