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A Subversive Gospel:
Flannery O’Connor and the Reimagining of Beauty, Goodness, and Truth
Paperback: IVP Academic, 2017
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Reviewed by Peter Surran
The cover of Michael Mears Bruner’s book, A Subversive Gospel: Flannery O’Connor and the Reimagining of Beauty, Goodness, and Truth, features O’Connor in her familiar spectacles and headscarf looking very subversive indeed. She looks like she’s up to something and, the truth is, scholars have been debating on what that “something” is for decades.
Bruner adds to that debate by presenting a fresh key to unlocking O’Connor’s writing: the work of the theologian Baron Friedrich von Hugel. The answer to the question of, “Why do we need another book about Flannery O’Connor,” is that von Hugel’s influence on the writer has never been thoroughly explored, at least in Bruner’s estimation. In this regard, Bruner does prove his point. He points out seemingly obvious points of convergence, pun intended, with a “how-did-they-miss-this” level of certainty.