Flannery O’Connor, Richard M. Weaver, and midcentury conservative critiques of social science discourse

dc.contributor.authorFehler, Brian
dc.descriptionArticle originally published in Literature and Belief, 40, 25–49. English. Published 2020
dc.descriptionPermission to deposit this file has been obtained directly from the publisher. Please read the faculty member's entry in the Project INDEX Master Sheet for more information about the publisher communications.
dc.description.abstractIn her fiction and correspondence, Flannery O'Connor demonstrates particular disdain for secular social scientists, including such supposedly well-meaning people as Rayber in The Violent Bear It Away and Sheppard in "The Lame Shall Enter First." O'Connor, who majored in social sciences while in college, wrote to her longtime correspondent Betty Hester years later, "In college I read works of socialscience, so-called. The only thing that kept me from being a social-scientist was the grace of God and the fact that I couldn't remember reading the stuff but a few days after reading it" ( Collected Works 905). It may be unclear whether the "so-called" in O'Connor's letter refers to the social sciences in general or to the works she had been assigned. In either case, O'Connor certainly seems to have held the work of social scientists in contempt. But why should that be the case? The Catholic Church certainly has a long history of advocating for the improvement of conditions in this world, while still preparing for the next. O'Connor, who trains her "rage of vision" on the Church as well as on secular society, reports, for example, the mixed results of a Jesuit's social advocacy in "The Displaced Person," but undoubtedly she reserves her sharpest criticism for those socially conscious individuals outside the Church.en_US
dc.identifier.citationThis is the published version of an article that is not available online. Recommended citation: Fehler, B. (2020). Flannery O’Connor, Richard M. Weaver, and midcentury conservative critiques of social science discourse. Literature and Belief, 40, 25–49.. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.en_US
dc.publisherCenter for the Study of Christian Values in Literature: Brigham Young Universityen_US
dc.subjectSocial scienceen_US
dc.subjectPostwar social science discourseen_US
dc.titleFlannery O’Connor, Richard M. Weaver, and midcentury conservative critiques of social science discourseen_US


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