Date of Award

1-1-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

English

First Advisor

Clark Davis, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Sarah Pessin, Ph.D.

Keywords

Catholic Literature, Divine Mystery, Existentialism, Flannery O'Connor, McCarthy, Walker Percy

Abstract

According to Catholic literary theory, the novelist, like the Divine Mystery to a certain extent, creates her characters freely and free with the possibility and probability that they may speak against their creator and even finally rebel. This dissertation reflects upon the relative infiniteness of four literary authors - Flannery O'Connor, Mary McCarthy, Walker Percy, and Cormac McCarthy. In the three novels and one imaginative memoir considered in particular, these authors create their existentialist protagonists, who in their turn reflect the conditional existentialism of their creators. This dissertation, thus, seeks to resurrect, with modern sensibilities, the pre-renaissance and renaissance commonplace that the poet is a creator, and to examine how this schema figures into the Catholic belief that man is created in the Divine Mystery's image without a loss of human freedom. Celebrating this mystery of existence, Catholic literary theory suggests that the Catholic universe is for all at all times, and not only for those who identify themselves as Catholics. The value of this dissertation for the field of literary studies lies in that insofar as the poet and novelist has lost her identity as creating out of love because God, the Divine Mystery, created her out of love, then philosophy, history, theology, and literature, itself, are in mortal danger. This is the appeal that writers like O'Connor and Percy conscientiously make and writers like Mary McCarthy and Cormac McCarthy confirm despite themselves.

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Provenance

Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Jacob Patrick Pride

File size

259 p.

File format

application/pdf

Language

en

Discipline

American Literature, Philosophy, Theology