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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

High School Literature: Flannery O'Connor

(click on course title for registration page)


Class dates: Tuesdays, March 13 to May 1, 2012. No class Mar. 20 and Apr. 10.
Total classes: 6
Suggested grade level: 12th or college
Starting time: 10:00 am Eastern (9:00 am Central)
Duration: One hour
Fee: $80 if you register on or before November 1, 2011. $100 after Nov.1 for all 6 classes.
Instructor: Henry Russell, PhD
Prerequisite: Ability to enjoy reading and discussing the works.
High school credit: 1⁄2 semester credit; for full credit, precede with Dr. Russell’s course on Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather.
Course description: Flannery O’Connor is among the short list of American 20th-century novelists who may be considered great and enduring. This is especially odd since she lived most of her life in or on a farm outside the small town of Milledgeville Georgia, slowly dying, for most of her working life, of lupus. Moreover, she wrote only two novels—Wise Blood and the Violent Bear It Away. All else were finely chiseled short stories, of a power perhaps unmatched by any other author.
          In a largely self-satisfied America of the 1950’s, she prophetically wrote of a nation that was losing its soul by abandoning its God. Her characters-- once widely criticized as unrealistic, even bizarre, and grotesque—now walk the streets of our nation and populate every level of society. O’Connor is great because she always understood that the soul is the wellspring of human action. Each of her stories is filled with characters who are trying to avoid God’s demands. Each must face a shattering moment of choice between their illusion of self-sufficiency and obedience to reality.
          We will explore “A Good Man is Hard to Find”; “Greenleaf”; and “The Lame Shall Enter First.” Perhaps I can explain it best by saying that these stories will remain with you as unforgettably as the best stories Edgar Allen Poe ever wrote. But Poe’s stories are about life that has moved permanently into horror; O’Connor’s are about great suffering that offers a chance to know ourselves and God.

Course outline:
Class One: Flannery O’Connor and “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
Class Two: “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
Class Three: “Greenleaf”
Class Four: “Greenleaf”
Class Five: “The Lame Shall Enter First”
Class Six: “The Lame Shall Enter First”
Course materials: Find the two short stories. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is in almost any competent modern American Anthology for college. “The Lame Shall Enter First” can be found in 3 by Flannery O’Connor, Signet, 1983 (NOT 1962), of which there are many used copies.
Homework: Dr. Russell will provide quizzes, essay topics, and a midterm and final exam to be graded by the parent. Answer keys provided.

Instructor biography: Dr. Henry Russell is Headmaster of the St. Augustine’s Homeschool Enrichment Program founded with his wife Crystal. The program began in Fall 2005 with 20 students in two living rooms and now tutors more than 70 students. He is also the President of the SS Peter and Paul Educational Foundation, dedicated to founding an orthodox Catholic Liberal Arts college in southeast Michigan.
          A graduate of Princeton and South Caroline (M.S.), Dr. Russell completed his graduate work at Louisiana State University. Formerly the Chairman of Ave Maria College’s Department of Literature, he has also been a professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville and Wake Forest University. He is a founding faculty member of the St. Robert Southwell Creative Writing Workshop held in Mahwah, New Jersey.
          Dr. Russell’s works include The Catholic Shakespeare Audio Series available from Kolbe Academy. He was the Associate Editor of The Formalist from 1990-2004 and his writings have been published in various journals. He was honored to edit Dr. Alice von Hildebrand’s groundbreaking volume, The Privilege of Being a Woman.

Equipment requirements: Classes are online, live and interactive. Students are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone.
Misc:
Dr. Russell will be available via email in between classes for questions and comments.
Recordings of classes are provided to students within 24 hours and available for 6 months.
Homeschool Connections does not provide record keeping services.

(click on course title for registration page)

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