Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dateline: Rome, Italy

I am writing this entry on the third and final day of the O'Connor conference held at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, Italy. As expected, the primary papers have focused on O'Connor's Catholicism or her theological vision; however, even within that framework, there has been considerable variety. The other papers have truly been all over the board, from the influence of Dante on O'Connor's craft to a comparison of the grotesque in her fiction and the television cartoon series, The Simpsons! I have attended O'Connor conferences in the U.S. that attracted several people from foreign countries, but nothing on this scale. It is amazing to see so many different ethnic and even religious groups represented in one place at one time, all interested in if not devoted to the work of Flannery O'Connor. I was honored to participate on a small level and appreciated the opportunity to provide information about the Foundation's work at Andalusia.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Another O'Connor website

The Foundation's website at is primarily designed to inform visitors about our Foundation and its efforts to restore and preserve Andalusia. Of course, it includes some details of O'Connor's life, the history of the farm, information about visiting the property, teaching resources, and the news and events associated with Andalusia. Visitors can even make donations through the website using a credit card. There are other sites of interest such as the O'Connor Collection at the GCSU Museum in Milledgeville and O'Connor's Childhood Home in Savannah. There is another site devoted to all things O'Connor that gets an incredible amount of web traffic. The site is called "Comforts of Home" and bills itself as a Flannery O'Connor Repository, which you will find is an accurate description. Brian Collier, the site administrator, is quite diligent in keeping the site up-to-date with information about O'Connor along with bibliographies, essays, links to other sites, and O'Connor-related news. Make a point to visit this resourceful site at


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Headed to Rome

I will be attending "Reason, Faith and Fiction: An International Flannery O'Connor Conference," hosted by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, in Rome, Italy, April 20-22. This is the fourth conference of Poetics & Christianity, an international forum for studying the intersection of artistic culture and expressions of religious faith, with a special emphasis on narrative and dramatic arts. I am presenting a paper titled "A View from the Woods: Preserving the Fortune of Andalusia." The paper will illustrate the similarities between the circumstances in O’Connor’s short story, “A View of the Woods”, and the developments that were taking place in the Milledgeville, Georgia area where O’Connor was living when she wrote the story. O’Connor presents Mr. Fortune as an ambitious landowner, driven by pride and domination, whose hunger for progress and personal acclaim blinds him to the pure beauty of the natural world. He believes his vision of the future is shared and validated by his granddaughter, Mary Fortune Pitts. Mr. Fortune’s canvas of the future is painted with deception, revenge, and even violence. I hope to demonstrate how the story pairs reckless commercial progress with greed and avarice, contrasting the irresponsible destruction of natural resources to the stewardship of preserving the rural landscape. Using this theme as an analogy, I will chart the rapid commercial and residential development surrounding Andalusia. Finally, the paper will briefly outline the steps that the Flannery O’Connor – Andalusia Foundation is taking to preserve the 524 acres in its stewardship and what effects, both good and bad, the encroaching development has and will have on Andalusia.