Have you been on the edge of your seat? The fourth and last of my planned posts on Flannery O’Connor has been delayed (the first, second, and third were published weeks ago) while library transfers were pending. Meanwhile, a new documentary has also been released, although currently only available to American viewers in virtual cinemas.
In her essay collection In Rough Country (2010), Joyce Carol Oates considers Flannery O’Connor in the context of her southern contemporaries, observing how both Carson McCullers and Truman Capote were “showier, more-renowned and best-selling” authors during their turbulent and highly publicized lifetimes, but it’s the reputation of Flannery O’Connor which has endured and increased.
Oates writes about O’Connor’s infatuation with the “young, attractive, charismatic” poet Robert Lowell at the Yaddo writers’ colony in 1948, her relationship with the Harcourt-Brace textbook salesman Erik Langkjaer (check out “Good Country People” and the hayloft shenanigans), and her close friendships with Betty Hester (who was dishonourably discharged by the military for “sexual indiscretion”) and Maryat Lee.