Flannery O’Connor: Self-Portrait

Letter dated Oct 20, 1955: “The enclosed should help you. I don’t want it back. I am the one on the left; the one on the right is the Muse. This is a copy of a self-portrait I painted three years ago. Nobody admires my painting much but me. Of course this is not exactly the way I look but it’s the way I feel. It’s better looked at from a distance.”

Letter dated Oct 30, 1955: “I first sent Harper’s Bazaar my self portrait and can you imagine, they said: this is not exactly what we want, a little stiff, couldn’t you send us a snapshot? I also sent it to Harpercourt Brace to use on the jacket of my book. They said: this is a little odd, we don’t think it would increase the sale of the stories.”

Letter dated June 19, 1963: “In the self portrait that is not a peacock. That’s a pheasant cock. I used to raise pheasants but they got too much for me as they require attention and have to be caged. The peacocks take care of themselves. But I like very much the look of the pheasant cock. He has horns and a face like the devil. The self-portrait was made ten years ago, after a very acute siege of lupus. I was taking cortisone which gives you what they call a moon-face and my hair had fallen out to a large extent from the high fever, so I looked pretty much like the portrait. When I painted it I didn’t look either at myself in the mirror or at the bird. I knew what we both looked like.”

2 thoughts on “Flannery O’Connor: Self-Portrait

  1. She is so backwoods southern! I love it, I have a professor here at school who loves Flannery O’Connor and Faulkner, he’s quite southern-I could see him saying/doing something like this…
    Such a strange and dark but beautiful and human humor comes out in her writing.

  2. I’m reading Flannery O’Connor in my English class, this photo caught my eye when I googled her. Love her style. Did she really not look at herself when painting this, I wonder?

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