Tuesday, February 13, 2018

More than just looking …

 The Habit of Seeing | Commonweal Magazine. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In a lecture on “Catholic Novelists and Their Readers,” O’Connor explored what a Catholic novel and a Catholic novelist might be, with insights that remain valid today. For a novelist, O’Connor asserts, the only access to the supernatural is through the natural. You have to write what you see, not what you want to see or think you ought to see. If you close your own eyes and try to see with the eyes of the church, “the result is another addition to that large body of pious trash for which we have so long been famous.” The solution for a writer, O’Connor proposed, is not to abandon the eyes of the church, but to reach the point at which “the church becomes so much a part of his personality that he can forget about her.” She defined a Catholic novel as “one that represents reality adequately as we see it manifested in this world of things and human relationships.” Only by representing these things and relationships can the fiction writer “approach a contemplative knowledge of the mystery they embody.”

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