LOGOS: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture


Sources and Resources: The Catholic Imagination of Flannery O'Connor

Publication Date

Spring 1997

Document Type




First Page


Last Page



The subject of Flannery O'Connor's Catholic imagination is obviously a large enough challenge in itself, but as though that were not enough, when I first proposed to write something on the subject I proceeded to compound the problem by prematurely attaching an extravagant title to my as yet unwritten remarks—one that implicitly promised to touch upon not only its more or less direct sources, but on the developmental resources by which that genial imagination was nurtured and instructed. By describing it as genial, I don't mean to suggest that Flannery O'Connor's imagination was entirely affable, mild, or sunny. I use the word here in its fourth dictionary meaning (its primary meaning in the Italian language, which keeps closer to the meaning of the Latin root): that is, as touched, or marked, by genius—which is to say that, by Benedetto Croce's definition, hers was a truly human imagination. The excerpts from O'Connor's notebooks are exclusive to this issue of Logos. Quotations from them are strictly prohibited. It was sheer hubris in me, I now see, to dunk that I could cover so much ground in a single paper.


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