Blind Seers: On Flannery O'Connor's 'Wise Blood'

Episode 51 · July 17th, 2019 · 1 hr 35 mins

About this Episode

Through her fiction, Flannery O'Connor reenvisioned life as a supernatural war wherein each soul becomes the site of a clash of mysterious, almost incomprehensible forces. Her first novel, Wise Blood, tells the story of Hazel Motes, a young preacher with a new religion to sell: the Church Without Christ. In this episode, JF and Phil read Motes's misadventures in the "Jesus-haunted" city of Taulkinham, Tennessee, as a prophetic vision of the modern condition that is at once supremely tragic and funny as hell. As O'Connor herself wrote in her prefac to the book: "(Wise Blood) is a comic novel about a Christian malgré lui, and as such, very serious, for all comic novels that are any good must be about matters of life and death.


Flannery O'Connor, Wise Blood
James Marshall, George and Martha (here's a great NYT piece on the books)
Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods
Paul Elie, The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage
Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind
G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
Daniel Ingram, Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha
George Santayana, The Sense of Beauty
Amy Hungerford's lecture on Wise Blood (Yale University)