On October 26, Flannery O’Connor scholar Daniel Moran spoke at Widener on the subject of his book, Creating Flannery O’Connor. His lively and engaging talk offered a tour of his monograph, looking at how reviewers, editors—even obituary writers, pop-culture mavens, and GoodReads users—have shaped our perception of this essential American writer. Writer of the South? Woman writer? Catholic writer? All of the above?
O’Connor is many things to many people and difficult to pin down. She resists the attempts of critics and common readers to understand her work and her beliefs in any kind of a monolithic way. Moran’s take on reception theory and practice, as well as his modesty and humor as a reader of O’Connor, show us new ways of grappling with this complex figure.
Moran teaches history at Monmouth University. His work on G. K. Chesterton and John Ford has been published in academic journals and he has contributed articles to a variety of teaching guides, including Poetry for Students, Short Stories for Students, and Drama for Students. His most recent study, Creating Flannery O’Connor: Her Critics, Her Editors, Her Readers (University of Georgia Press, 2016), examines how a literary reputation—and the image of a cultural icon—have been made, not only by O’Connor herself, but also by her readers, reviewers, critics, publishers, and filmmakers.
He was brought to Widener and introduced by Professor Mark Graybill, our specialist in Flannery O’Connor who is currently teaching a course on Southern literature.