New York: 1965. First edition. Octavo, original navy cloth and blue paper boards, original dust jacket. Very faint toning to boards, shallow indent to bright and clean price-clipped dust jacket. A nearly-fine copy. Item #610
"NOW SHE RESTS WELL AT NIGHT AND HER GOOD LOOKS HAVE MOSTLY RETURNED" First edition of a collection of stories by Flannery O'Connor, the first of her posthumous works to appear. When O'Connor died of lupus on August 3, 1964, at the age of thirty-nine, she left behind the three books published during her brief career: Wise Blood (1952), A Good Man is Hard to Find (1955), and The Violent Bear it Away (1959). Everything that Rises Must Converge was published in the spring of 1965. "In her last year she completed several of her greatest stories, all written more or less in extremis" (Robert Ellsberg, All Saints). The stories consist of: Everything that Rises Must Converge, Greenleaf, A View of the Woods, The Enduring Chill, The Comforts of Home, The Lame Shall Enter First, Revelation, Parker's Back, Judgement Day. With a lengthy, six-part Introduction by Robert Fitzgerald crediting the French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin as the source of the title and the first story. "From Teilhard de Chardin she borrowed the phrase 'passive diminishment' to describe a quality she admired: the serene acceptance of whatever affliction or loss no effort can change" (Ellsberg). The last story in the book had not been published previously. "Everything about it—the title, the topic, the placement at the end of the book—suggested that O'Connor had written it in anticipation of her death" (Robert Ellsberg). It emerged that 'Judgement Day' was apparently a revised version of 'The Geranium,' O'Connor's first published story, from 1946. "Rewriting it, she had cleaned off her desk, making her work circle around from the end to the beginning. In the final line of her published work, like a medieval scribe sketching in the margin, she introduced an image of the resurrection of the body, an image of herself, but glorified" (Paul Elie, The Life You Save May be Your Own).