I had the wonderful experience of visiting Flannery O'Connor's home, Andalusia, not too long ago. Through a friend, I was able to take a private tour of the house and grounds, and it was a wonderful experience. The house has only very recently begun restoration, thanks to the Andalusia Foundation (which could use a donation or two, if you're feeling generous). Visiting the farm is a rare opportunity to experience a gifted writer's home environment.
The Farmhouse. Andalusia was a former plantation, situated on 544 acres. It wasn't the O'Connor's plantation however - they didn't acquire it until many years later. Flannery lived and wrote here, with her mother, and they ran the farm as a dairy operation. This is the original plantation house - not very grand, but then most weren't, in spite of Gone With The Wind's depictions.
Flannery loved the farm and animals, most especially her peacocks and peahens. She wrote essays about them, as a matter of fact. She special ordered her first peacocks from Florida after reading an ad in a newspaper. The first little family of peacocks eventually grew into a hundred - and they could be heard all hours of the day or night, crying in their rather unpleasant, rasping voices.
Flannery's bedroom. Flannery left the South for the prestigious Iowa Writer's Program at the University of Iowa, where she excelled. She later moved to New York, but after contracting Lupus was forced to return home. Flannery's bedroom is the former parlor, on the main level of the house. She moved here when it became too difficult for her to use the stairs. Note the crutches - Flannery's - leaning against the bookcase. While the typewriter is a prop, the desk is where she wrote each day. I thought it was interesting how structured the room was. There are only three colors: blue, white, and the dark wood furniture.
The dining room. This room was directly across from Flannery's bedroom, on the main floor of the house. She and her mother sewed the curtains themselves. I loved the feel of this room. It's just very natural, very Southern.
Flannery's church, in Milledgeville. She attended Mass here almost every day. Her faith is a prevalent and sometimes unusual theme in her writing. Flannery finally succumbed to Lupus, dying at age 39.
One of my favorite courses in college was a 20th century American literature class, and my professor was a devoted fan of Flannery. Very interesting post...and timely...my big home project for the week is to remove all of the books from the huge built in bookshelf in my room, dust, sort, and rearrange. I know there is a Flannery O'Connor in there somewhere...
Amazed with your blog. Briliant!
Things That Inspire - good luck with finding it! Great reading. It was so interesting to visit her home after reading her work.
I became "aquainted" with O'Connor in college as well- Southern Lit class, one of my favorites (similar to Things That Inspire!). I knew she died of Lupus, but didn't realize she was that young. What a treat to see inside- thank you so much for sharing!
Great post! It's wonderful to see how well-preserved Flannery's home is.
amazing! i love o'connor. emailing this post to my husband now...
Thanks Diana! I'm such a fan - it was a cool visit.
Hi Sanity! Thanks for stoppping by the porch! I love Flannery, she's on my Masters shelf with William Faulkner, Eudora Welty,Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell, Katherine Anne Porter and Caroline Gordon!
Lucky you to visit her home! I went to Carl Sandburgs home in May and was just in awe of the feeling still there!
i want that barn!
Hi Carol! Jealous! And thanks for stopping by - you're a kindred spirit of a reader. Those are most of my favorites, too.
G - that made me laugh. What are you going to put in the barn?
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