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Again from O’Connor

Another choice quote from Flannery O’Connor’s Mystery and Manners:

Ever since there have been such things as novels, the world has been flooded with bad fiction for which the religious impulse has been responsible. The sorry religious novel comes about when the writer supposes that because of his belief, he is somehow dispensed from the obligation to penetrate concrete reality. He will think that the eyes of the Church or the Bible or of his particular theology have already done the seeing for him, and that his business is to re-arrange this essential vision into satisfying patterns, getting himself as little dirty in the process as possible. His feeling about this may have been made more definite by one of those Manichean-type theologies which sees the natural world as unworthy of penetration. But the real novelist, the one with an instinct for what he is about, knows that he cannot approach the infinite directly, that he must penetrate the natural human world as it is. (163)

That’s from another speech, entitled ‘Novelist and Believer.’ It’s turning out to be another one of my favorites.

And yet again, it seems a lesson theology needs no less than any other ‘religious art.’

  1. myles
    August 4, 2010 at 9:27 am

    “Many a best-seller could have been prevented by a good editor”.–F.O.

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