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A Guide to Flannery O'Connor Research

Where to Begin?

For students in Georgia: Most public institutions have access to GALILEO databases, and several of these databases are invaluable when performing research on Flannery O'Connor:

    *MLA International Bibliography (recommended for scholarly research)
    *Project MUSE
    *Literary Reference Center
    *Literature Online

Using these databases you can do a keyword search (for example, Flannery O'Connor AND violence).  The citations you find on these databases will be critical essays and articles.

For students at GC:  In addition to GALILEO, you may search the GC Library Catalog (GIL), which is located on the Library and Informational Technology Center's website.  It should be noted that some entries retrieved are only available in Special Collections.  Materials located in Special Collections may not be checked out, and may not be removed from the Special Collections research room.

Students who do not live in Georgia: the databases listed above are available at many college and university libraries throughout the United States. The articles found using these sources may be available at your library or through interlibrary loan.

All Students may find it helpful to browse the books with call numbers beginning with PS 3565.C57. Z. (located in the general stacks on the third floor and the reference area on the second floor of the GC Library and Informational Technology Center). Compilations of critical writings about Flannery O'Connor generally have excellent and exhaustive indexes. Consult these indexes to locate keywords or concepts related to your topic.  Please not that subjects addressed in these books do not always show up when you search the library catalog.

Suggested Sources for Beginning Your Research
Literary Criticism

    *Contemporary Literary Criticism (Call Number: Ref PN 771 .C59)  Significant passages from published criticism.  A compilation of different viewpoints on O'Connor's writings.  To locate information in these volumes, use the Contemporary Authors Cumulative Index (Call Number Ref PS 129 .C6574).

    *Twentieth-Century American Literature  (Call Number: Ref PS 221 .T834 1985 v. 5)  Excerpts from critical articles representing different viewpoints. Essays touch on humor, Christian belief, and examination of specific stories. Indexed by author.

    *Flannery O'Connor: An Annotated Reference Guide to Criticism, selected and annotated by R. Neil Scott (Call Number: PS 3565 .C57 Z8574 2002)  A  guide to published criticism (books, dissertations, theses, articles and essays) from 1975 to 2000.  Also includes a section on foreign language criticism.


    *Flannery O'Connor Criticism A listing of notable book-length critical writings about Flannery O'Connor.


    *Links to Essays about Flannery O'Connor and her writing  Online essays about O'Connor from a variety of sources and perspectives.

Flannery O'Connor Biographical Information

    *Links to Biographical Information
    *Frequently Asked Questions about Flannery O'Connor
    *The Flannery O'Connor Collection at GC
    *Mary Flannery O'Connor at Georgia State College for Women
    *Flannery O'Connor and Iowa City
    *Flannery O'Connor and Yaddo
    *Flannery O'Connor and Betty Hester (known as "A" in The Habit of Being)

Other Resources

Special Collections in the Library and Informational Technology Center collects all dissertations, essays, and articles discussing Flannery O'Connor and her writings. Please be aware that materials located in Special Collections cannot be checked out and cannot leave the Special Collections research room.

Special Collections is open from 9-12 and 1-4, Monday - Friday. Appointments are recommended. Please call 478-445-0988 to schedule a research visit, or email us at

Definitions of Sources


Dissertation - Original research on an unpublished subject. Dissertations are usually done by a person completing his/her doctoral degree. They are the product of in-depth research which focuses on several aspects of a single subject.

      Strengths: For lengthy projects or papers (over 15 pages), dissertations provide extensive discussion about a single topic.

      Weaknesses:  May be difficult to interpret without reading large portions of the dissertation. Limited subject access. Dissertations are limited to a table of contents listing chapter titles. Usually they have no indexes, and ideas and concepts are not easily accessible.

Criticism - An article or book which interprets a piece of literature. Criticism usually looks closely at themes, authors, symbols, or characters and analyzes the meaning they have in a piece of literature. Criticism may also compare one piece of literature to another.

      Strengths:  Subjects and specific stories are indexed. Criticism is generally easy to read and is written for a varied audience. It is easy to find concepts related to your ideas or help you focus your ideas.

      Weaknesses:  Criticism published in books will not be easily accessible using the library catalog. Finding the right essay may require a few minutes of browsing the shelves and searching the indexes of various books.

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