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That sentence you quote on Flannery O'Connor's work ("The pole of grace...") is a perfect capsule description of it.

I read his trilogy that begins with Why Flannery O'Connor Stayed Home and really probably should have given up after the first volume, if not sooner, as I was baffled by much of it, mainly due to the philosophical references. I mean, I've never read a word of Hegel, and am not likely to. I should give it another try. Maybe I could do more with it now, just as a result of somewhat wider reading--that was 25-30 years ago. I have a copy of The Trouble... but have never gotten around to it.

I'm the same way with him. I have to slog through (or skip altogether) some of that heavy-duty philosophical stuff when it appears, because I just don't have the chops for it. But then he always seems to summarize it well when he gets around to applying it to literature and culture.

In some ways The Trouble... is somewhat of a condensed version of the first volume of the trilogy, with specific attention to Wise Blood. It was the first book of his I ever read, and I found it challenging, but thrilling at the same time.

I looked at my copy of Vol 1, and I see a good many marked passages. So apparently I got something out of it.

Rob, I have really enjoyed your posts in this series.

This is driving me crazy. I want to read these books. I simple will not have time until next year.


"I looked at my copy of Vol 1, and I see a good many marked passages."

Rather fortuitously, I ended up with Cleanth Brooks's copy of the first volume, so I didn't want to mark it up. I read it twice and noted a lot of things on index cards.

Thanks, Janet. I know the feeling -- lots of stuff that folks have recommended here have been added to my list!

The "52 Authors" series has really opened my eyes to so many writers that I had never heard of and are so worth reading. Marion Montgomery is another that any astute reader of literature, philosophy, theology, and all things "Southern" must look into. Thank you, Rob!

Yeah, the only problem is that it's overwhelming--the number of writers one hadn't read, and now wants to read.

Cleanth Brooks's copy! That's pretty cool.

I've always been kind of hesitant about marking books, even though my marks are very discreet. Now I use book darts (google it if you don't know what they are).

I keep thinking I'm going to get some of those.

I'm afraid, though, that with Pieper the entire side of every page would be metaled.


"Cleanth Brooks's copy! That's pretty cool."

Yeah, this was 7 or 8 years ago. It came with a letter from MM to CB, and also a copy of the Niemeyer essay I mentioned above. MM had apparently sent it along to Brooks with the book in case he hadn't seen it.

I had been going onto Abe Books once or twice a week waiting for a reasonably priced copy to show up, when after several months this one appeared, which had the interesting extras, but also happened to be the least expensive copy I'd come across. The same seller had quite a few other things from CB's library, many of them signed/inscribed by the various authors. His prices weren't bad either, and I would have liked to have grabbed a couple more items, but didn't have the cash at the time.

Yes, it's going to be ages until I can even think about reading these authors. But it's a good series. :)

Mac, do you know anything about the Southern poets Byron Reece and George Scarbrough? Montgomery talks about Reece in one of his essays in On Matters Southern, and I found an article on Reece that praises Scarbrough in passing. Both look like they might be worth checking out.

The problem is that every week there is another author I need to read!

2016-2017 52 movies

Hmm...that would be fun...and maybe easier for people to deliver on. Whether we're actually going to make it through 52 Authors is very much in doubt.

No, I haven't heard of them, Rob. Have you heard of John Finlay? I can't remember where I heard about him, but he's of interest. He died fairly young, of AIDS, and was a Catholic convert, and he didn't leave all that many poems, but although many of them are too dense for me they're good. His fairly brief collected poems are called Mind and Blood.

I must be due to write one soon

You've done your share, although I think there are still one or two on the list you volunteered for. We have something for this week (GKC!) but beyond that I think we only have two specific commitments for the rest of the year. At least one person has put off contributing because of health problems, though still hoping to do it before the year is out. Well, it's been one week at a time for most of the past 6 weeks or so, and so far someone has always come through.

A funny story: So, I was rereading The Chosen for my post about Chaim Potok in September. Suddenly a couple of weeks ago the book disappeared. No one knows what happened to it. Now I have to go get it at a library or something. Hmph.

Maybe it was recycled!

I didn't realize you were writing about Chaim Potok. I'm so glad. AND, I won't have to run out and read the books.


Don't expect much erudition. It is going to be more personal reflection than anything.

I am down for June and Danielou. I also want to do Louise Fitzhugh - sorry more girls books! My advice to everyone is its a great series but the best is the enemy of the good.

I tried unsuccessfully to figure out who "June" was and finally looked at the list--Hume. Autocorrect at work, I guess?

Speaking of the list, I haven't kept it up very well. If there's anything that anyone knows should be on there from August on, let me know.

I was going to do more girls books too. I could do that fast and then Vanauken fairly soon.


I keep promising and doing nothing, just like a politician I suppose. But I will do Dickens first, and then Tolstoy, both soon Mac.

That's ok, you've said all along you wouldn't be doing those, or at least Tolstoy, till fairly late in the year. I'd forgotten you were doing Dickens, actually.

We have 18 weeks remaining, btw. I can probably do Hopkins. As I've mentioned before, there just aren't that many writers whose overall work I feel qualified to discuss. There are several books I've read recently and intend to write about here. If desperate, I could make them 52 Authors entries, but that would be cheating a bit, because I haven't read any but the one book by the authors.

By no authority in heaven or on earth, I hereby declare that it will be all right if you just write about one book by an author.


"By no authority in heaven or on earth, I hereby declare that it will be all right if you just write about one book by an author."

Provided, of course, that that author has written just one book. :-)

Well, I have re-read almost every book written by the authors that I have written about so far so that I could do them justice, but it has worn the heck out of me. I'm willing to show a little mercy to others so that I can get some for myself.


I don't think anyone has Graham Greene. Is that correct?


One expression I have heard in NYC that I never heard before is 'you got the light', 'i got the light' and, from a police woman, 'you don't got the light'

That means crossing on green

Well, it's pretty familiar to me.


"My advice to everyone is its a great series but the best is the enemy of the good."

Yes! Or as Chesterton says, "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly"!

My dissertation director used to say, "A done dissertation is better than a good dissertation."

I complied.

It is done.

Right. I wrote the Stuart Little one on a public computer in a hotel in Budapest. But at least we did not miss a week.

By my reckoning from the previous few messages there's about ten coming in from me, Janet and El Gaucho.

What had Art Deco done? Which authors? I missed some when I was in Spain

I have two coming, one in Sept. and one in Dec.

I guess I should at least update the list to show what actually transpired. Maybe tomorrow. But Art Deco didn't sign up.

I think there are roughly ten specific commitments from the three of you, Grumpy, maybe twelve with Robert's. Not sure exactly because, for instance, Dickens is not actually on the official list (probably an oversight of mine). But that's fairly close. That leaves us with 6-8 empty slots. I'm not sure the person who has Walker Percy is going to be able to do it, so I may take that one.

I think people around here say "you got the light", too. Seems familiar. Or maybe "you have/had the light."

Thank you, Janet, for the dispensation. I hope I won't need it.

And thank you Grumpy for going above and beyond in order to keep us from missing a week.

'I think people around here say "you got the light", too.'

Yeah, here too. I imagine it's a dropping of the contraction in "You've got the light." People here also say "It's your light."

Re the authors, I'm still scheduled to do Madison Jones. If I do that in Oct. I might be able to do another in late Nov. or Dec. I'd have to think about who I'd pick though.

Well, you may not have noticed this but I sent you one last night.


No, haven't looked at email since Sunday morning. Wonderful--I don't have to worry about this week. Thank you.

Found this on the FT website yesterday -- this essay appears in MM's book 'On Matters Southern' (pictured above) but I hadn't noticed, or had forgotten, that it originally appeared in FT. Since Walker Percy came up on the Chesterton thread I thought I'd post the link.


I started reading that on my phone, which is a pretty bad thing for me to do to MM, and ended up with a headache, which I guess I deserved. I'll finish it later but as far as I got (about a third of the way) it's very good.


That's really interesting, Grumpy. It's been a hundred years since I read the book, but when my daughter was little she was a big fan of the movie, so I've seen it any number of times.

How they tried to force him to take out Charlotte's death! And how each character is based on a real animal in Whites life!

Never would have guessed that it was a roman a clef.:-)

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