ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Flannery O'Connor in MIlledgeville, Georgia
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Flannery O'Connor in Milledgeville, Georgia
|Flannery O'Connor & Andalusia Farm
The Georgia writer's two novels were completed
during the years she lived here at Andalusia, her
family's farm in Milledgeville, Georgia.
Grave of Flannery O'Connor
Peacock feathers and other
mementos adorn the grave of
Georgia novelist and writer
Fields of Andalusia Farm
The historic farm just north of
Milledgeville was a place of
refuge and comfort for the
Flannery O'Connor in Milledgeville, Georgia
Grave & Farm of a Georgia Writer
At Rest with Family
Flannery O'Connor rests
today in her family's plot at
Memory Hill Cemetery in
|Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
A Christian writer who achieved critical
acclaim and recognition in a time when few
did so, Flannery O'Connor lived much of her
life in the charming city of
Milledgeville is home to O'Connor's family
farm, Andalusia, which is open to the public.
Visitors can also may their respects at her
grave, which is located at the city's Memory
Mary Flannery O'Connor was born in
Savannah on March 25, 1925 to devout
Roman Catholic families and received her
early education in the Christian schools of
that city. When she was thirteen, however,
her family relocated to Milledgeville, where
her education continued.
O'Connor was fifteen years old when she
was diagnosed with systemic lupus
erythematosus, an autoimmune disease that
often attackes the heart, joints, skin, lungs,
kidneys, liver and nervous system. It is often
fatal and, tragically, claimed the life of her
father in the same year as her diagnosis.
Despite the challenges presented by her
disease, she continued her education at the
Peabody Laboratory School and then entered
the George State College for Women in
Milledgeville (today's Georgia College and
State University). She graduated with a Social
Sciences degree in just three years and was
accepted to the well-known Iowa Writer's
Workshop at the State University of Iowa
(now the University of Iowa).
Her original plan was to pursue a career in
journalism, but her writing abilities were far
above and beyond most of those entering the
field. Influenced by such lecturers in Iowa as
Robert Lytle and Robert Penn Warren, she
saw her short stories gain acclaim.
She had already achieved local recognition
not only for her short stories, but for her
poetry and cartoons as well while attending
Georgia State College for Women and the
time at the Iowa Writer's Workshop helped
her to refine her talents. Several of her early
stories were published in The Sewannee
Review, which is published from the
University of the South in Sewannee,
Tennessee. The stories received solid
critical acclaim and launched her on a career
that would be well-deserved but tragically
O'Connor wrote primarily in the Southern
Gothic style. Uniquely, the Old State Capitol
Building in Milledgeville, where O'Connor
lived for much of her life, is the oldest public
building of the Gothic revival style in the
country. There was much that was Gothic
about Milledgeville and her life.
Flannery O'Connor wrote primarily about
Southern topics, but she resented the way
that her work was often characterized as
"grotesque" by Northern writers. In one biting
commentary, she noted that "anything that
comes out of the South is going to be called
grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is
grotesque, in which case it is going to be
called realistic." It was one of the best
descriptions of the collective Northern view of
the people of the South ever written.
In 1951, while she was living with Robert and
Sally Fitzgerald in Connecticut, O'Connor
suffered a life-threatening attack from her
lupus. Seeking the comfort of family and
home, she moved back to Milledgeville. She
lived out the rest of her life there, primarily at
her family's Andalusia Farm on the northern
edge of town.
During her years at Andalusia, O'Connor was
quite prolific. Her two novels, Wise Blood
(1952) and The Violent Bear It Away (1960)
were published during her time there, as
was a book of her short stories, A Good Man
Is Hard to Find (1955). Her final book was
Everything That Rises Must Converge. Also a
collection of short stories, it was published
posthumously in 1965.
Also at Andalusia, O'Connor continued her
life-long love of birds. As a child she had
taught a chicken to walk backwards, while at
Andalusia she raised a large flock of
peacocks, which she discussed in an essay
titled "The King of Birds."
Sadly, Flannery O'Connor died from her
lupus on August 3, 1964. She was only 39
years old. Her grave at Memory Hill Cemetery
in Milledgeville is often adorned with peacock
feathers by those who love her work and
remember her life.
Andalusia Farm, where she lived the last
thirteen years of her life, is now maintained
by the Flannery O'Connor - Andalusia
Foundation and is open to the public for self-
guided tours Monday - Tuesday and
Thursday - Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(Closed Sundays and Wednesdays).
The farm is located on U.S. 441 on the
northern outskirts of Milledgeville. Please
click here for more information.