The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday December 7th

Canvas

Q&A with professor Florence Dore

CORRECTION: Various grammatical errors appeared in the original posting of this Q+A. They were the typographical mistakes of our writer and editor, not of Professor Dore in her interview. They have been corrected and the Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the mistakes. 

Florence Dore, associate professor of English and comparative literature, hosted a discussion at Flyleaf Books Tuesday, titled “A Good Author is Hard to Kill: Flannery O'Connor and the ‘Post South.’”

Focusing on two short stories by prolific southern author Flannery O'Connor, Dore explored southern literature and its changing identity in an increasingly globalized world. Staff writer Gabriella Cirelli spoke to Dore about her book discussion.

*Daily Tar Heel*: What will you be discussing at Flyleaf tonight?

*Florence Dore*: I will be presenting an analysis of Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” in terms of some recent ideas about southern fiction. The book was published in the 1950s by a southern author, and it’s very representative of southern fiction at the time.

*DTH*: Why Flannery O’Connor?

*FD*: Flannery O’Connor is one of the most well-known southern authors — probably the most well-known southern author besides William Faulkner — before 1950. And my area of specialization is southern fiction and contemporary American fiction, so I think this book is really representative of how we think about the south.

*DTH*: The press release says you will be talking about the south in terms of whether it actually exists — is that true?

*FD*: Not exactly — it’s not that I don’t think that the south exists. There are some scholars of southern literature who describe the fiction that came out of the south after World War II as post-southern. The reason why they made up that term is because regional literature after WWII became hard to define and hard to define as southern, because we were entering into a global economy in which all kinds of cultural expression started to seem similar to each other.

A great example is Coke — it was invented in Georgia, and it became kind of the first global brand in the 1950s and 1960s. Southern literature kind of worked the same way — it no longer was written solely for people in the south to read about themselves — it became a global product.

So the scholars of the south created a name for that movement in literature — it became not identifiably southern in the way that early Faulkner was for the south.

*DTH*: What are you hoping that attendees of the discussion take away from Flannery O’Connor’s work and ideas about the south?

*FD*: I hope that the audience members take away an enjoyment and appreciation for the craft of Flannery O’Connor in a new conversation about her work. And I hope that the interest we all already have in Flannery O’Connor is revived through new approaches about her work. 

arts@dailytarheel.com

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