Southern Literary Salon features
Flannery O’Connor: Georgia Gothic on April 21
Tennessee Shakespeare Company continues its popular Southern Literary Salon on April 21 with one of the more shocking American voices of the 20th Century – Flannery O’Connor.
Presented inside and outdoors at the spacious private home of Drew and Melia Murphy in Germantown (the site of previous Salons on Faulkner and Hemingway), Flannery O’Connor: Georgia Gothic runs 6:00–8:00 pm.
The evening features light Southern food, conversation, music, 45 minutes or so of readings from Ms. O’Connor’s works, and a mixed spirit of the author’s dis-liking (she preferred her coca-cola spiked with coffee).
Tickets are only are $55 and include all of the above. Seating is very limited.
Georgia Gothic is curated and read by TSC’s founder and Producing Artistic Director Dan McCleary, with Meredith Koch (To Kill a Mockingbird; Eudora Welty Salon), Jillian Barron (Much Ado About Nothing; Eudora Welty Salon), Marquis Archuleta (Much Ado About Nothing; Eudora Welty Salon), Chris Cotten (To Kill a Mockingbird; The Winter’s Tale), and Zach Williams (The Winter’s Tale).
The evening will employ text from Ms. O’Connor’s works, likely including her short stories The River and The Geranium, her essay on the “Grotesque in Southern Literature”, and her letters to Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Hardwick, her first publisher, and the mysterious “A” (whose identity was only recently revealed).
When Flannery O’Connor was five years old in Savannah, Georgia, she taught her chicken to walk backwards. This was captured on film. So, too, is her self-portrait holding a pheasant – painted without looking at either subject. “I knew what we both looked like,” she said, holding up her weight with forearm crutches. The last 13 years of her life were suffered with lupus on her mother’s farm with her mother (whom she killed off multiple times in her work) in Milledgeville, Georgia, with lots of fowl. In despair at having to return south from New York for her health, but writing with a voice of singular humor, tragedy, and non-conformity, Ms. O’Connor created a range of characters and stories from a deeply-felt Catholicism that eschewed its symbolism in favor of its realism. Having died at age 39 in 1964, Ms. O’Connor articulated on the page an unsympathetic life of redemption always sought – not always attained.
“Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks,” wrote Ms. O’Connor, “I say it is because we are still able to recognize one. To be able to recognize a freak, you have to have some conception of the whole man, and in the South the general conception of man is still, in the main, theological…I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted…Ghosts can be very fierce and instructive. They cast strange shadows, particularly in our literature. In any case, it is when the freak can be sensed as a figure for our essential displacement that he attains some depth in literature.”
Her compiled short stories were awarded posthumously the 1972 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. Un-persuaded that her work echoed that of Franz Kafka, she claimed some admiration for and instruction from Nathaniel Hawthorne. And though her humor might at first resemble Dorothy Parker’s, it is, in the end, entirely Flannery O’Connor’s. She was buried the day after she died.
Box Office Information
General Admission tickets are on sale now, Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at TSC’s office located within The Shops at Forest Hill at 3092 Village Shops Drive, Germantown, TN 38138 (near Target); by calling 901-759-0604, or by going on-line to www.tnshakespeare.org (Twitter: @tnshakespeare).
The Salon seating is general admission. Free parking. No refunds or exchanges. Credit card charges require a $1 per-ticket fee. Programs and schedules are subject to change with notice. The address for the Salon residence will be given out only to patrons once tickets have been sold.