Round Table Discussion (led by Ralph Wood)
On Saturday afternoon the conference will feature a round table discussion of Flannery O’Connor scholars led by esteemed O’Connor scholar Ralph Wood. The panel will reflect on the following passage from O’Connor’s first novel, Wise Blood.
Another passage will be taken from the short story, “A View of the Woods”:
He drove very fast out onto the highway, but once he had gone a few miles, he had the sense that he was not gaining ground. Shacks and filling stations and road camps and 666 signs passed him, and deserted barns with CCC snuff ads peeling across them, even a sign that said, ‘Jesus Died for YOU,’ which he saw and deliberately did not read. He had the sense that the road was really slipping back under him. He had known all along that there was no m ore country but he didn’t know that there was not another city.’” (Flannery O’Connor: Collected Works, Library of America (1988), p. 117)
She stared across the lot where there was nothing but a profusion of pink and yellow and purple weeds, and on across the red road, to the sullen line of black pine woods fringed on top with green. Behind that line was a narrow gray-blue line of more distant woods and beyond that nothing but the sky, entirely blank except for one or two thread-bare clouds. She looked into this scene as if it were a person that she preferred to him. “It’s my lot, ain’t it?” he asked. “Why are you so up-in-the-air about me selling my own lot?” “Because it’s the lawn,” she said. Her nose and eyes began to run horribly but she was in reach of her tongue. “We won’t be able to see across the road,” she said. The old man looked across the road to assure himself again that there was nothing over there to see. “I never have seen you act in such a way before,” he said in an incredulous voice. “There’s not a thing over there but the woods,” “We won’t be able to see ’um,” she said, “and that’s the lawn and my daddy grazes his calves on it.”
There will be several other passages posted as the conference approaches.
The panel will consist of the following O’Connor scholars:
Guadalupe Arbona Abascal is professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature at Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Her main interests focus on short literary genres—short stories, fragments, framed and interleaved stories—and the ways that modern means of communication shape the short story today. She has collaborated on increasing the awareness of the American author Flannery O'Connor in Spain and has studied the reception of her works there. She spent the 2011-2012 academic year as a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University. She is author of, among other works,: Las llagas y los colores del mundo. Conversaciones literarias con José Jiménez Lozano (Sores and Colors of the World. A Conversation with José Jiménez Lozano, 2011), El acontecimiento como categoría del cuento contemporáneo (The Event as a Category in Contemporary Short-story, 2008), La perplejidad del héroe. Calas en la literatura del siglo XX (The Perplexity of the Hero. Samples from 20th Century Literature, 2001). She is a co-author of the book Movimientos literarios y periodismo en España (Literary Movements and Journalism in Spain, 1997). She has also edited several collections of stories including El negro artificial y otros escritos, de Flannery O'Connor (The Artificial Nigger and other writings, 2000) and Un encuentro tardío con el enemigo (A Late Encounter with the Enemy, 2006), by Flannery O’ Connor; Requiem por un muchacho, de Gabriel Campo Villegas (Requiem for a Boy, 2004), La piel de los tomates (Tomato Skin, 2007) and El azul sobrante (The Remaining Blue, 2007), de José Jimenéz Lozano (2007).
Mark Bosco, S.J., is an associate professor, holding a joint position in the departments of English and Theology at Loyola University Chicago. Besides teaching and research, he is the Director of Loyola’s Joan and Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage. His main research focuses on the intersection of religion and art, especially on the 20th century Catholic literary revival in Britain and North America. He has published essays and chapters of books on Flannery O’Connor, Graham Greene, George Bernanos, Francis Poulenc, John L’Heureux and Margaret Atwood. He is the author of Graham Greene’s Catholic Imagination (OUP, 2005), and an editor of two collections, Finding God is All Things: Celebrating Bernard Lonergan, John Courtney Murray, and Karl Rahner (Fordham University Press, 2007) and Academic Novels as Satire: Critical Studies of an Emerging Genre (Edwin Mellen Press, 2007). The new collection of essays Revelation and Convergence: Flannery O’Connor Among Philosophers and Theologians is forthcoming.
Rosemary M. Magee serves as vice president and secretary of Emory University and also as Director of the Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL). In these roles she has convened a wide range of creativity conversations with artists, scientists, and scholars. An artist-in-residence at both the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland, she has published essays, reviews, and short stories in a variety of journals and literary magazines. Focusing her teaching and research on Southern culture and literature, she has edited two volumes, both published by the UP of Mississippi, Conversations with Flannery O’Connor and Friendship and Sympathy: Communities of Southern Women Writers. She is currently working on a collection of short stories, Fantasy Impromptu.
Farrell O’Gorman is Professor of English at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina. He is the author of Peculiar Crossroads: Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, and Catholic Vision in Postwar Southern Fiction (Louisiana State University Press, 2004). He has delivered invited lectures on O’Connor in a variety of settings, including Rennes, France and a National Endowment for the Humanities seminar in O’Connor’s hometown of Milledgeville, Georgia. Dr. O’Gorman’s articles on canonical and contemporary American authors have appeared in Blackwell’s Companion to the Regional Literatures of America, Critique, Renascence, and elsewhere. His current book project, Catholicism and American Borders in U.S. Gothic Fiction, juxtaposes O’Connor’s work with that of authors ranging from Herman Melville and Kate Chopin to Cormac McCarthy and Toni Morrison.
Professor Henry (Hank) T. Edmondson III is Professor of Political Science and Public Administration at Georgia College, Milledgeville, Flannery O’Connor’s alma mater; and, the Director of the Center for Transatlantic Studies. He is the author of Return to Good and Evil: Flannery O’Connor’s Response to Nihilism (Lexington Books, 2003) and the editor of the forthcoming A Political Companion to Flannery O’Connor in the University of Kentucky’s series "Political Companions to Great American Authors." In April of 2009 he co-directed “Reason, Faith, and Fiction: An International Flannery O’Connor Conference in Rome, Italy. He has spoken on O’Connor, in particular, and on politics and literature, in general, both in the U.S. and abroad, including at Oxford University, The University of Edinburgh and the University of Madrid.
Susan Srigley is Associate Professor of Religions and Cultures at Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. She is the author of Flannery O'Connor's Sacramental Art and Editor of Dark Faith: New Essays on Flannery O'Connor's The Violent Bear It Away (University of Notre Dame Press). Her primary area of research is religious ethics and literature, focusing on the interplay between ancient spiritual thinkers and traditions and their dramatic representations in modern literary texts. Recently, her teaching, research and community involvement have focused on issues of death, dying and spirituality. She is particularly interested in the importance of spiritual practice and the cultivation of attention, both as a meditation on one’s own dying and for being present with others through the dying process. Srigley is a palliative care volunteer who works with her local Palliative Care Network in the areas of education and awareness. She has begun work on a new monograph on Flannery O’Connor, death and the body.
Ralph C. Wood, University Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, holds the B.A. and M.A. from East Texas State College (now Texas A&M University- Commerce) as well as the A.M. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. From 1971-1997 he taught at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he served as the John Allen Easley Professor of Religion from 1990. At Baylor, he teaches in the Great Texts program as well as the departments of Religion and English. He serves as an editor-at-large for the Christian Century and as a member of the editorial boards of the Flannery O’Connor Review as well as VII: An Anglo-American Literary Review. All of his book remain in print, and they include The Comedy of Redemption: Christian Faith and Comic Vision in Four American Novelists (Notre Dame, 1988); The Gospel According to Tolkien: Visions of the Kingdom in Middle-earth (Westminster/John Knox, 2004); Flannery O’Connor and the Christ-Haunted South (Notre Dame, 2004), Literature and Theology (Abingdon, 2008), and Chesterton: The Nightmare Goodness of God (Baylor, 2011).