Lit bits

An 'extraordinary' influence

Georgia's Flannery O'Connor used to say her fictional "grotesques" were in the eye of the non-Southern reader. To her they weren't grotesques. She allied herself with British satirist Wyndham Lewis's view: "If I write about a hill that is rotting, it is because I hate rot."

This week, four decades after the awards in her lifetime, O'Connor will be honored at the 12th Oxford Conference for the Book (April 7-9) at the University of Mississippi.

"This is the first year we've not honored a Mississippi writer, but O'Connor's influence on the current generation of writers, both Southern and non-Southern, is extraordinary," said Charles Reagan Wilson, director of the university's Center for the Study of Southern Culture. "Her contributions to exploring religion, women's perspectives, humor, the grotesque, working-class experiences, and the critique of modernity - all are echoed in contemporary writing." Information at http://

The fab 14?

Fourteen 20th-century writers are one man's choice for "Moderns Worth Keeping" in scholar Russell Fraser's book of that name coming this month from Transaction Publishers. A little renewed buzz, please, for a diverse transatlantic array: Oscar Wilde, J.M. Synge, Edwin Muir, G.M. Brown, Paul Valéry, Eugenio Montale, Osip Mandelstam, R.P. Blackmur, Allen Tate, Delmore Schwartz, Austin Warren, Francis Fergusson, Kingsley Amis, and James Dickey.

One king, six princesses

With no 18th-century paparazzi, we in the colonies might never know how many princesses can look at a king. But this week Alfred A. Knopf publishes biographer Flora Fraser's "Princesses: The Six Daughters of George III," praised by British reviewers.

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