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Everybody Plays the Fool: On Style and Stupidity

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Friday, January 31, 2020
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9:30 am - 11:00 am
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Taylor Black
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Join the Franklin Humanities Institute for its Friday morning series, tgiFHI! tgiFHI gives Duke faculty in the humanities, interpretative social sciences and arts the opportunity to present on their current research to interlocutors in their fields. Breakfast is served at 9am.

About the presentation: Flannery O'Connor's stories are overflowing with the complexities of human behavior. Adopting a grotesque lens, she focuses on the most exaggerated and ornate traces of what she refers to as "the mystery of a personality" (Mystery and Manners 104). Though she writes from a staunchly Christian perspective and shapes her characters in the image and likeness of God, O'Connor's representations of the human form are anything but pretty. In particular, all of her characters seem to experience or display various degrees of ignorance.

This talk will present O'Connor as a stylist (someone with expertise in and an aesthetic tendency toward) of stupidity. To bear this out, I will offer a dramatic reading of one of her final stories, "The Lame Shall Enter First," in which she constructs a whole world abundant with stupidities of every kind.

About the presenter: Taylor Black is Assistant Professor of English at Duke University.

Contact: Sarah Rogers