American Masters



Explore the life of Flannery O’Connor whose provocative fiction was unlike anything published before. Featuring never-before-seen archival footage, newly discovered journals and interviews with Mary Karr, Tommy Lee Jones, Hilton Als and more.

AIRED: March 23, 2021 | 0:01:53

- One critic called her perhaps the most naturally gifted

of American novelists: Flannery O'Connor.

(light music)

- A Good Man Is Hard To Find.

- Wise Blood.

- Mystery and Manners.

- Everything That Rises Must Converge.

- She's one of the best writers of the 20th century.

I've read everything that she's written.

- Flannery O'Connor is one of the writers least afraid

to look at the darkness.

- "We've had an accident!" the children screamed

in a frenzy of delight.

"But nobody's killed," June Star said with disappointment."

- You think it's this bitter old alcoholic who's writing

these really funny, dark stories, and then you find out

she's a woman and that she's devoutly religious.

(light music)

Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah, Georgia

into an Irish Catholic community.

- You get someone who's writing out of a specific time,

civic set of manners.

What she found was mystery.

I think that a serious fiction writer describes an action

only in order to reveal a mystery.

- How was she going to find the stories?

Cause she knows she needs to tell.

and how is she going to tell them?

(light music)

(typewriter clicking)

- I do not want to be lonely all my life, but people only

make us lonelier by reminding us of God.

- It's unbelievable.

- She was so sick.

- She never stopped writing.

- It was the illness that made her the writer that she is.

I feel that the grotesquity of my own work is intensified

by the fact that I'm a servant and a Catholic writer.

- She's really funny.

She's often funny in a very dire way.

- She ignored the disapproval of her religion.

She ignored the disapproval of her fiction.

She just saw the mystery of the craziness.

(light music)

(bird cooing)


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