E. Jane Doering & Ruthann Knechel Johansen present When Fiction & Philosophy Meet: A Conversation with Flannery O'Connor and Simone Weil
July 30, 2020, 7 p.m. EDT
Join us for an evening with E. Jane Doering and Ruthann Knechel Johansen as they discuss their new book When Fiction & Philosophy Meet: A Conversation with Flannery O’Connor and Simone Weil. An innovative book, When Fiction & Philosophy Meet explores the intersection between the philosophy of Simone Weil from Paris, France, and the fiction of Flannery O’Connor from the Southern state of Georgia, USA. In an era of war, of unprecedented human displacements, and of ethnic, racial, and religious fears the ideas of these two intellectuals bear on our present condition. Both women keenly desired to perceive the realities of good and evil inherent in human existence and to bring this truth to the consciousness of their contemporaries. Embracing their belief that truth is eternal but must be transposed and translated, generation after generation, in language appropriate to each age, the authors acquaint O’Connor readers with concepts in Weil’s religious philosophy as seen in O’Connor’s stories. Doering and Johansen simultaneously illustrate how Weil’s philosophy, when embodied in fiction, reveals the lived realities of the human condition across time and space. Simone Weil and Flannery O’Connor were audacious thinkers with inquiring minds who held clear and firm religious convictions. Each applied her understandings of enduring spiritual truths to the challenges of nihilism and social oppression as seen in the spreading totalitarianism and the distressing legacy of slavery throughout human history. Both Weil and O’Connor crossed disciplinary boundaries and influenced their respective fields with innovative ideas and artistic expressions. Taking their cues from these writers, Doering and Johansen bring these two remarkable women into a four-voiced dialogue—Simone Weil and Flannery O’Connor with Doering and Johansen—by engaging each writer in the forms of her own genre and inviting readers to enter a dialogue of courage with Weil and O’Connor in the postmodern and post-Christian world. E. Jane Doering is director emerita of the Teachers as Scholars Program at the University of Notre Dame where she taught French Language and Literature. She holds degrees from Northwestern University (PhD), University of Notre Dame (MA), Goucher College (ME), Douglass College of Rutgers University (BA), and the Sorbonne (Diplôme). Doering is author of Simone Weil and the Spector of Self-Perpetuating Force. An interdisciplinary teacher and scholar, Ruthann Knechel Johansen is professor emerita at the University of Notre Dame and president emerita of Bethany Theological Seminary. She holds degrees from Drew University (PhD), Columbia University (MA), and Manchester College (BS). Johansen is the author of The Narrative Secret of Flannery O’Connor: The Trickster as Interpreter. This Zoom event is free and open to the public, but you must register on Eventbrite here to receive the link to the event.