Brian Abel Ragen’s major work on Flannery O’Connor is his book A Wreck on the Road to Damascus: Innocence, Guilt and Conversion in Flannery O'Connor. (It really should have been subtitled, Automobiles, Original Sin, and Flannery O’Connor, since that is its real subject.) The title refers to the conversion of St. Paul, the biblical story that provides the framework for O’Connor’s novel Wise Blood.
Ragen builds on the work of R.W.B. Lewis in The American Adam. and explores how the automobile has come to embody part of America’s long argument over original sin, personal freedom, and the need for redemption. He also discusses O’Connor’s own literary theory and offers readings of “Parker’s Back,” “The Life You Save May Be Your Own,” and Wise Blood. Along the way, he also offers readings of a number of other important texts, ranging from The Scarlet Letter to Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
The book’s description of American culture has been applied to American authors beyond O’Connor.
Other Contributions to O’Connor Studies:
“Hearing Voices: The Value and Limits of Bakhtinian Readings of Flannery O’Connor.”
“Daredevil Charity: Flannery O’Connor’s ‘The Comforts of Home.’”
“‘Another Woman and Another Room’: Men, Women, and Flannery O’Connor.”
“Grace and Grotesques: Recent Books on Flannery O’Connor.”
“Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown, Miss O’Connor and Mrs. Woolf: Belief, Literary Form, and Literary Generations”
“Love and Social Work: Flannery O’Connor’s Attack on Charity”
“Flannery O’Connor’s Internal Dialogues”
“Running Men and Rural Matriarchs: Gender Roles in Flannery O’Connor”
“‘Another Room and Another Woman’: Flannery O’Connor and Feminism”
“Freaks and Whole Men: Flannery O’Connor and Her Idea of Ultimate Reality and Meaning”
“‘And What’s Dead Stays That Way’: The Soteriology of the Church Without Christ”