Flannery O’Connor and Robert Giroux: A Publishing Partnership

Patrick Samway. Univ. of Notre Dame, $39 (316p) ISBN 978-0-268-10309-5
Samway (Educating Darfur Refugees: A Jesuit’s Efforts in Chad) is fastidious in this glimpse into the working relationship between author Flannery O’Connor and editor Robert Giroux. Samway’s analysis is thorough, utilizing other studies, copious correspondences, interviews, and O’Connor’s own “autobiographically inflected” works. The respective biographies are seamlessly welded together. Samway delves into O’Connor’s childhood, schooling, and protracted battle with lupus. He paints her as a constant student of writing, bolstered by the Catholic theology she would nurture through her life and by the tenets of new criticism that she absorbed at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. For Giroux, Samway briefly touches on the editor’s working-class Jersey City upbringing and Columbia education, but concentrates on his career at various publishing houses and dedication to helping O’Connor and his other authors through “intelligent criticism” and what he identified as the pillars of novel editing: “judgment, taste, and empathy.” Samway weaves an insightful account of how an uncommonly discerning editor helped guide a distinctive authorial voice to new literary heights. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/26/2018
Release date: 03/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Discover what to read next