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"Erasing Angel": The Lucifer-Trickster Figure in Flannery O'Connor's Short Fiction

"Erasing Angel": The Lucifer-Trickster Figure in Flannery O'Connor's Short Fiction Erasing Angel : The Lucifer- Trickster Figure in Flannery O Connor s Short Fiction by Melita Schaum “A dimension taken away is one thing; a dimension added is another.” —Flannery O’Connor, “The Fiction Writer and His Country” “ The origins, liveliness, and durability of cultures,” writes cul- tural historian Lewis Hyde, “require that there be space for figures whose function is to uncover and disrupt the very things that culture is based on” ( 9). In his excellent study Trickster Makes This World (1998), Hyde joins a long and distinguished line of critics examining the archetypal trickster- figure in world mythologies: a figure of mischievous disruption charac- terized by rule-breaking, lies, theft, shape-shifting, and wordplay; a citizen of contingencies and thresholds who, while subverting and denigrating existing orders, paradoxically thereby allows for a creative reanimation and restoration of social and metaphysical order. The fraternity of trickster- figures is a familiar one in folklore and myth: Hermes in Greek antiquity, the Chinese Monkey King, the Norse prankster Loki and East Africa’s spider-god Anansi (transformed in American Gulla dialect to the folk- loric “Aunt Nancy”), the Native American figures of Coyote and Raven, the Yoruba Eshu and the Maori trickster Maui, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

"Erasing Angel": The Lucifer-Trickster Figure in Flannery O'Connor's Short Fiction

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 33 (1) – Dec 1, 2001

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 Department of English of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

Erasing Angel : The Lucifer- Trickster Figure in Flannery O Connor s Short Fiction by Melita Schaum “A dimension taken away is one thing; a dimension added is another.” —Flannery O’Connor, “The Fiction Writer and His Country” “ The origins, liveliness, and durability of cultures,” writes cul- tural historian Lewis Hyde, “require that there be space for figures whose function is to uncover and disrupt the very things that culture is based on” ( 9). In his excellent study Trickster Makes This World (1998), Hyde joins a long and distinguished line of critics examining the archetypal trickster- figure in world mythologies: a figure of mischievous disruption charac- terized by rule-breaking, lies, theft, shape-shifting, and wordplay; a citizen of contingencies and thresholds who, while subverting and denigrating existing orders, paradoxically thereby allows for a creative reanimation and restoration of social and metaphysical order. The fraternity of trickster- figures is a familiar one in folklore and myth: Hermes in Greek antiquity, the Chinese Monkey King, the Norse prankster Loki and East Africa’s spider-god Anansi (transformed in American Gulla dialect to the folk- loric “Aunt Nancy”), the Native American figures of Coyote and Raven, the Yoruba Eshu and the Maori trickster Maui,

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Dec 1, 2001

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