The Letters of Flannery O’Connor: A Social Network Analysis

  Letters of Flannery O’Connor: A Social Network Analysis

Molly tracked metadata from the letters in Vanderbilt’s Special Collections as well as letters in other university archives to better examine and analyze O’Connor’s intellectual life in a social network graph using Neo4j.

Project: The Letters of Flannery O’Connor: A Social Network Analysis
Fellowship: Project Proposal


About the Project

The novelist Flannery O’Connor was a prolific correspondent, especially after an illness forced her to retire to her family farm in Georgia. Many of her letters were published in the seminal collection The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor. These letters, published in 1979, allowed scholars a glimpse into O’Connor’s keen intellect, sense of humor and thoughts on subjects ranging from the craft of writing fiction to theology. They also illustrated the vast network of correspondents O’Connor maintained. The Vanderbilt Special Collections houses a small but significant group of letters written by Flannery O’Connor to Brainard and Frances Neel Cheney. Molly tracked metadata from the letters in the Vanderbilt collection as well as letters in other university archives to better examine and analyze O’Connor’s intellectual life in letters through a visualization using using a Neo4J GraphGist  for presentation of the social network graph.

Molly S. Lasagna

About the Fellow

Molly S. Lasagna is pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree at Vanderbilt Divinity School. Previously, Ms. Lasagna served as a Research and Policy Analyst for the American Institutes for Research (AIR), providing technical assistance for the Educator Quality Team. She is the co-author of Improving Teacher Quality: A Guide for Education Leaders. Prior to her work at AIR, she earned a Master’s degree in Urban Education Policy from Brown University, a Master’s in Teaching degree from the University of Virginia in Secondary English Education, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University. She is enrolled in the spring 2015 Vanderbilt class, The Incarnational Art of Flannery O’Connor, where the author will be studied as a “literary theologian.”

Molly presented on her project at the South Central Modern Language Association annual conference, “Sound and Story: The Rhythms of Language,” in Nashville in November 2015.


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