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Understanding the Hillbilly Thomist

Understanding the Hillbilly Thomist

The Philosophical Foundations of Flannery O’Connor’s Narrative Art

by Fr. Damian Ference

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Flannery O’Connor is one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Her novels and short stories—shockingly violent, absurdly comic, spiritually potent—continue to entertain, beguile, and transform readers of all backgrounds to this day.

For many encountering them for the first time, O’Connor’s stories of backwoods prophets and outcasts feel strangely nihilistic and dark. Others familiar with her letters and essays appreciate the deep Catholic understanding of sin and grace that animates them. In this new book, Fr. Damian Ference proposes a more precise lens for decoding Flannery O’Connor’s narrative art, one that originates in O’Connor’s own words about herself: Hillbilly Thomism. The author examines the various ways in which St. Thomas Aquinas and the philosophical tradition of Thomism shaped not only O’Connor’s view of reality but also the stories she told to help us see and know it.

Featuring an impressive array of biographical and literary evidence and extended analysis of her short stories “The River,” “Parker’s Back,” and “The Displaced Person,” Understanding the Hillbilly Thomist is an important look at the intersection of medieval philosophy and modern fiction in one of the most treasured artists of the American South.

More Info

Publisher: Word on Fire
ISBN: 978-1-68578-016-6
Binding: Paperback
Page count: 280
Dimensions: 6 x 9
Language: English
Release date: Aug 03, 2023
Thickness: 0.80
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