Yale Literature Lecture in technicolour

Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood | Yale Literature Lecture.

I have chosen this as the subject of today’s blog because of my ignorance.

My ignorance is two-fold.  Not only had I not heard the name Flannery O’Connor until a couple of days ago, I was also ignorant of the fact that for no financial outlay whatsoever, I have at my fingertips a wealth of knowledge I could only dream about in days gone by.

We had libraries. We had encyclopaedias with small black and white photographs. When my parents took my sister and I with them to visit people who had no children, or whose children had long since left home, the hostess would invite us to read a book.

This was to keep us quiet whilst the adults engaged in conversation. These were snippets. Here, on just one link on the Internet, there is more than I can ever hope to know!

I chose this particular lecture because I do not know the author, have never read the book, and my acquaintance with American Literature, off the top of my head, includes Henry James, Emily Dickinson (“They speak of hollowed things aloud and embarrass my dog.”), Graham Greene, John Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alice Walker, um, Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, Adrienne Rich, and a tatty old book of quotations full of pronouncements made by Benjamin Franklin. Quite a mixture! I shall spend the next few days wracking my brain for more, no doubt.

The nice thing about writing this blog, is that I am listening to the lecture at the same time. it reminds me of listening to plays on the radio whilst mending my clothes, or baking.

This is not the only educational website around either. There are many.

How anyone can be bored, I don’t know.

My new favourite quotation is from Flannery O’Connor who wrote a response to an English teacher who was asking some strange questions about one of her novels, which showed that he had missed the point entirely.  At the end of her reply – and explanation, she said, “My tone is not meant to be obnoxious. I am in a state of shock.”


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