Flannery at the Grammys
How a southern writer's power reverberates through acclaimed popular music
A devout Catholic, a visionary—and some say prophetic—writer, Flannery O’Connor (1925–1964) has gained a growing presence in contemporary popular culture. While O’Connor professed that she did not have an ear for music, allusions to her writing appear in the lyrics and narrative form of some of the most celebrated musicians on the contemporary music scene. Flannery at the Grammys sounds the extensive influence of this southern author on the art and vision of a suite of American and British singer-songwriters and pop groups.
Author Irwin H. Streight invites critical awareness of O’Connor’s resonance in the products of popular music culture—in folk, blues, rock, gospel, punk, heavy metal, and indie pop songs by some of the most notable figures in the popular music business. Streight examines O'Connor's influence on the art and vision of multiple Grammy Award winners Bruce Springsteen, Lucinda Williams, R.E.M., and U2, along with celebrated songwriters Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Sufjan Stevens, Mary Gauthier, Tom Waits, and others.
Despite her orthodox religious, and at times controversial, views and limited literary output, O’Connor has left a curiously indelible mark on the careers of the successful musicians discussed in this volume. Still, her acknowledged influence and remarkable presence in contemporary pop and rock songs has not been well noted by pop music critics and/or literary scholars. Many years in the making, Flannery at the Grammys achieves groundbreaking work in cultural studies and combines in-depth literary and pop music scholarship to engage the informed devotee and the casual reader alike.