It is the business of fiction to embody mystery through manners, and mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind. About the turn of the century, Henry James wrote that the young woman of the future, though she would be taken out for airings in a flying-machine, would know nothing of mystery or manners. James had no business to limit the prediction to one sex; otherwise, no one can very well disagree with him. The mystery he was talking about is the mystery of our position on earth, and the manners are those conventions which, in the hands of the artist, reveal that central mystery (Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners, 1962,p. 124.)What a grand book of essays! And who couldn't love a girl who began with a chicken taught to walk backward and went on to be a woman of words and peacocks?
Saturday, December 22, 2012
A little mystery for Advent
A challenge still with us fifty years later from the woman who turned my head around when I was a mere child: