Monday, February 23, 2009

Phraselet No. 98

I think [grotesque heroes] are figures that come about from the kind of vision peculiar to the writer who is concerned with the larger stretch of reality than can be accounted for by a naturalistic view of the world. You can call it prophetic vision, because this kind of writer is the kind of realist the prophet is. He's a realist of distances. Henry James said that in his fiction he did things the way that took the most doing. I think that the writer of grotesque fiction does them in the way that takes the least, because in his work distances are so great. He's looking for one image that will connect two points. One is a point in the concrete, and the other is a point not visible to the naked eye, but believed in by him firmly -- more real to him, really, than what everybody sees.

- Flannery O'Connor,
"Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction"

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