[Milton-L] "the only great Christian writer this nation has produced"

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 21 16:15:18 EST 2010

Jim, my German professor at Baylor was Catholic -- and that was way back in the mid-1970s!

Jeffery Hodges

From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Fri, January 22, 2010 2:11:41 AM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] "the only great Christian writer this nation has produced"

O'Connor seems an orthodox enough Roman Catholic, and believed that her own writing was possible because her doctrine gave her a way of seeing things.  It's very doubtful to me that the capacity for creative imagination is linked to specific belief in any direct way -- O'Connor would probably have been a great writer if she were an atheist or a Muslim.  The true irony is that she's hailed as an orthodox Christian by Evangelicals but wouldn't be allowed to teach at many Evangelical colleges in the US because she is Catholic.  O'Connor would be denied a teaching position at Wheaton even though she is beloved by Evangelical Christian scholars.  I'm curious if she'd get hired at Baylor.

Jim R

On Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 12:04 PM, Hannibal Hamlin <hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com> wrote:

The problem with all such value judgements is that they depend upon various definition arguments. From reading Flannery O'Connor, for instance, I'd be inclined to seriously question her "orthodoxy." Indeed -- an idle thought -- might "greatness" and "orthodoxy" usually exist in writers in inverse proportion? But then of course "greatness" is even more difficult to define. And what, moreover, makes a writer "religious"? I'd make a case for both Whitman and Dickinson as religious, though they were far from orthodox. Certainly great. I suppose we could even debate the parameters of "American." What about T.S. Eliot?
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