It is futile to deny that both O’Connor and Dickens “lacked comprehension” in many ways. You won’t find one person anywhere, at any time, about whom that’s not true. If the fact of O’Connor’s racism, and Dickens’s, has any importance, it is because they were both capable of transcending it in astonishingly beautiful and lasting ways. What’s remarkable about O’Connor’s racism, and Dickens’s, is how inconsistent it is with their fiction. By now, the sins of both of them have been burned away. Their art is a far more fitting monument to their largeness and ability to defend the inherent worth of human persons.On the heels of yesterday's letter defending Flannery O'Connor, warts and all, comes this very good piece about Flannery O'Connor and Charles Dickens. I'd long known about charges of anti-Semitism against Dickens and how he corrected himself once he understood what he'd been doing. However, I guess the fault has been resurrected as something new. Anyway, I liked the examples and comparison in this piece — do go read it all.
Scott Eric Alt,
Racism and transcendence in Charles Dickens & Flannery O’Connor