Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Martin D'Arcy, Eros, Agape, Flannery O'Connor




College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Invited to give one of the plenary talks for this "Revelation and Convergence" conference by its director, Mark Bosco, S.J., I am focusing on the connection between eros and agape in Flannery O'Connor's fiction. I am stressing the tie that Father M. C. D'Arcy, S.J., forged with regard to the two in his 1947 work, The Heart and Mind of Love. D'Arcy takes to task the work of Denis de Rougemont, whose Love in the Western World saw the courtly love poetry of the Medieval troubadours as Manichean. He also challenges the notion that their lyricism in praise of unattainable/forbidden love reflected the culture of a time when the Church held such undeniable sway. Instead, D'Arcy argues for the intuitive connection between eros and agape, as interested love evolves into disinterested love in service of the flourishing of one's "neighbor," even when that neighbor is one's beloved other. O'Connor's work is rarely read with any attention to eros, yet almost all of her fiction uses it as a decisive element. My talk will both show the history of the eros-agape connection, including looks at writers whose conversions were in part because of Martin D'Arcy (such as W. H. Auden's) and also illustrate several points in O'Connor's works where eros is clearly in play, even though scholars have generally been hesitant to call it by its rightful name.

Conference Name

Revelation and Convergence Conference on Flannery O'Connor

Conference Location

Water Tower Campus, Loyola Chicago

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