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Reconsidering Flannery O'Connor$
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Alison Arant and Jordan Cofer

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496831798

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2021

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496831798.001.0001

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Mystery and Myth: Friedrich Nietzsche, Flannery O’Connor, and the Limiting Power of Certainty

Mystery and Myth: Friedrich Nietzsche, Flannery O’Connor, and the Limiting Power of Certainty

Chapter:
(p.127) Mystery and Myth: Friedrich Nietzsche, Flannery O’Connor, and the Limiting Power of Certainty
Source:
Reconsidering Flannery O'Connor
Author(s):

William Murray

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496831798.003.0009

William Murray finds surprising continuity regarding the purpose of art in the works of Flannery O’Connor and Friedrich Nietzsche. Although these two are often mentioned together (based on the famous "wingless chickens” quotation), few writers other than Henry Edmonson III have offered any extended critique of the pair. Although the two writers differed in nationality, language, and most obviously, in their beliefs about religion, Murray reconsiders the notion that Nietzsche and O’Connor were fundamentally at odds with each other. He argues that O’Connor’s fiction engages with Nietzsche’s early work, in particular on the influence of art and myth on a culture. By putting these two writers in conversation, Murray challenges prevailing approaches that reduce them both to their most memorable quotes about God and instead foregrounds their shared belief that art can be a powerful tool for challenging calcified cultural knowledge.

Keywords:   Friedrich Nietzsche, Influence of art, Influence of myth, Mystery, Certainty

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