By Anthony Di Renzo
Focusing the following at the comedian genius of Flannery O’Connor’s fiction, Anthony Di Renzo unearths a size of the author’s paintings that has been missed via either her supporters and her detractors, so much of whom have heretofore targeted solely on her use of theology and parable.Noting an especial kinship among her characters and the grotesqueries that decorate the margins of illuminated manuscripts and the facades of ecu cathedrals, he argues that O’Connor’s Gothicism brings her stories nearer in spirit to the English secret cycles and the leering gargoyles of medieval structure than to the Gothic fiction of Poe and Hawthorne to which critics have so frequently associated her work.Relying partially on Mikhail Bakhtin’s research of Rabelais, Di Renzo examines the various sorts of the ugly in O’Connor’s fiction and the parallels in medieval paintings, literature, and folklore. He starts through demonstrating that the determine of Christ is the proper at the back of her satire—an excellent, in spite of the fact that, that needs to be degraded in addition to exalted whether it is ever to be a residing presence within the actual international. Di Renzo is going directly to speak about O’Connor’s strange therapy of the human physique and its dating to medieval fabliaux. He depicts the interaction among the saintly and the demonic in her paintings, illustrating how for her solid is simply as ugly as evil since it remains to be "something lower than construction."
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Additional resources for American Gargoyles: Flannery O'Connor and the Medieval Grotesque
Tell that girl to quit writing about poor folks," quipped one reader to her uncle. "I see poor folks every day and I get mighty tired of them, and when I read I don't Page 13 want to see any more of them" (qtd. in O'Connor MM 131). Fear lurks behind this defensive sarcasm. "There is always something threatening and unsettling about marginality," Mark Taylor observes. "Marks who/which linger on the margin cannot be trusted. They seem to be improper, inappropriateerratic, erroneous. For 'insiders,' outsiders who constantly hover at the threshold appear seedy, shady, and shifty" (139).
The painter, by burlesquing Christ's Passion, participates in the Crucifixion as well as observes it. He affirms what is happening even as he condemns it. This paradox is the second purpose of Bruegel's blasphemous vaudeville. He debases the Crucifixion in order to recrucify Christ. " Such destruction and decentering is behind all grotesque art. It desecrates the ideal, "degrades and materializes" it (Bakhtin 20). The Word must be formed between feces and urine. Christ must be recrucified in order to be reincarnated: ''The ideal that is grotesquely degraded is not obliterated: the grotesque retains traces of the ideal.
It is always conceiving. (21) Furthermore, the grotesque's ultimate purpose is therapeutic: it is a comic shock treatment. Even at its most menacing, it seeks to liberate. It is a fusty-smelling carnival in the midst of Lent, striving to free us from all the rubrics and pigeonholes that oppress and alienate useven when we would rather live a piecemeal existence. It is the road to excess that leads to the palace of wisdom. In a witty letter to his superiors, the fifteenth-century doctor of theology, Page 6 Gerson of Auxere, defends the extravagant and destructive behavior of his flock during a recent festival: "Wine barrels explode if the stops are not loosened from time to time.
American Gargoyles: Flannery O'Connor and the Medieval Grotesque by Anthony Di Renzo