KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY: Department of Theatre and Performance Studies
presents a regional premiere of two Flannery O'Connor stories:
   
 

The Main House at Andalusia

Unless otherwise noted, all photos on this page by Karen Robinson

 
     
  PLACE

“When in Rome, do as you done in Milledgeville.”
--Flannery O’Connor

THE SOUTH

“There are two qualities that make fiction. One is the sense of mystery and the other is the sense of manners. You get the manners from the texture of existence that surrounds you. The great advantage of being a Southern writer is that we don’t have to go anywhere to look for manners; bad or good, we’ve got them in abundance. We in the South live in a society that is rich in contradiction, rich in irony, rich in contrast, and particularly rich in its speech.” (O’Connor 103)

“As a fiction writer who is a Southerner, I use the idiom and the manners of the country I know, but I don’t consider that I write about the South. So far as I am concerned as a novelist, a bomb on Hiroshima affects my judgment of life in rural Georgia, and this is not the result of taking a relative view and judging one thing by another, but of taking an absolute view and judging all things together; for a view taken in the light of the absolute will include a good deal more than on taken merely in the light provided by a house-to house survey” (O’Connor 134)

 
     
   
  View from the front porch of the MainHouse at Andalusia  
     
  “… first of all, you have to appreciate the Southern sense of place and identity, and this is not just geographical obviously, this is a deep cultural kind of background…and you have to appreciate the fact that here is a young woman born in Savannah, raised in Milledgeville, died in Milledgeville, and for the most part never left the state, let alone the region and everything in her work is colored by this Southern sense of place, what she refers to and what other critics have referred to as the “true country,” and the true country of course, is a sense of place that’s much deeper than just being from somewhere, but it--it implies that place, itself, is an entry way into the deepest aspects of identity, and that’s key; these stories might could happen somewhere else, but they wouldn’t be the same—and of course the wonderful thing is that she takes her own particular local region and makes it universal … so she—we were talking before the interview a little bit about Faulkner—she does the same thing that Faulkner does, and to use his words, she made her own little postage stamp of native soil stand for something much bigger than just itself—so she’s not a local writer, she’s not a regional writer, because she transcends all of that, but the regional identity is --is essential. That’s the first thing I think an O’Connor reader really has to appreciate” (King, Interview).

Click here for interview with KSU Professor David King (pdf)

 
     
   
  View of the Main House at Andalusia  
     
  “O’Connor found elements of her Christian vision of man in both the religion and history of her native region. The legacy of a revivalist past has lingered longer in the South than in any other region of the country, and while O’Connor hesitated to describe the South as Christ-centered, she did feel it to be Christ-haunted. The South’s history included a major experience—the loss of the Civil War—in which O’Connor found important theological implications. She saw the loss of the Civil War as the South’s collective and personal experience of the biblical story of the Fall.

O’Connor relates that when novelist Walker Percy was asked why the South had so many good writers, he replied, ‘Because we Lost the War.’ Commenting on his remark, O’Connor observed that Percy
didn’t mean by that simply that a lost war makes good subject matter. What he was saying was that we have had our Fall. We have gone into the modern world with an inburnt knowledge of human limitations and with a sense of mystery which could not have developed in our first state of innocence—as it has not sufficiently developed in the rest of our country (O’Connor qtd. in McFarland).
Certainly not all Southerners—not even O’Connor’s characters—have anything like ‘an inburnt knowledge of human limitations.’ Most of her characters, in fact, suffer from a refusal of such knowledge, and the thrust of most of her stories is to bring them to experience it. But she felt that on some level a biblical understanding of the human condition continued to operate in the South, and that its presence was reflected, even if it was largely unarticulated as such, in Southern literature (McFarland 2-3).
Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, 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” (O’Connor qtd. in McFarland).

 
     
   
  Behind the Main House at Andalusia  
     
  “I come to Flannery O’Connor’s work with affection and respect. […] I have spent years in the homes of people who are, in certain respects, her chosen ones—the South’s impoverished, hard-praying, stubbornly enduring rural folk, of both races. […] She learned from the people she watched so intently, heard so well; and she wanted her readers to do likewise—learn, while having fun with good stories “ (Coles xxxi).

ANDALUSIA

“The primary location for the creation of Flannery O’Connor’s major work, Andalusia is a beautiful, heavily forested farm located just inside the city limits of Milledgeville. At the time O’Connor lived here, from late 1950 to 1964, the farm was located well outside the city limits, ‘in the country.’ Now the 544-acre farm, though uncomfortably close to a rapidly developing commercial area, is a public trust and historic treasure, offering a restful haven to visitors, just as it offered its beauty and comfort to Flannery O’Connor years ago. This rural setting provided Flannery O’Connor with the fields and woods so important to her fiction, either as settings for central encounters, as in the purgatorial burning in ‘A Circle in the Fire’ or the Christ-haunted forest in ‘A View of the Woods,’ or as significant background, suggesting the mystery of divine creation. Today the farm is open to visitors, who may walk the grounds and tour the house, as they gain understanding of Flannery O’Connor’s work and her world” (Gordon 58).

Visit the Flannery O’Connor-Andalusia Foundation website:
http://www.andalusiafarm.org/

 

     
   
 

Andalusia:Flannery O'Connor's Farm
Photograph by Nancy Marshall

 


Nancy Marshall took these photographs in spring and summer of 2007 and winter of 2008 at Andalusia, the farm near Milledgeville, Georgia, where Flannery O’Connor (1925 -1964) spent the last thirteen years of her life. The photographs, which show interior views of the house and exterior views of the surrounding landscape, document the context in which O’Connor wrote some of her most acclaimed works, including “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and The Violent Bear it Away. These photographs were exhibited at Emory University in conjunction with "The Prophet's Country: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Flannery O'Connor" in 2007 and will be exhibited at Georgia State College and University Museum in Milledgeville, Georgia in 2009. They were taken in collaboration with the Flannery O'Connor-Andalusia Foundation, Inc.

Please see the full photo essay:

“Andalusia: Photographs of Flannery O'Connor's Farm”
Photographs by Nancy Marshall

To view, visit: http://www.southernspaces.org/contents/2008/marshall/1a.htm

Works Cited

Coles, Robert. Flannery O’Connor’s South. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1993.

Gordon, Sarah, ed. A Literary Guide to Flannery O’Connor’s Georgia. Athens: U of Georgia P, 2008.

King, David. Interview. 29 September 2008.

O’Connor, Flannery. Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose. Sally and Robert Fitzgerald, eds. New York: Farrar, 1961.

McFarland, Dorothy Tuck. Flannery O’Connor. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1976.

 
     
   
  Main cow barn at Andalusia