Afbeelding van de auteur.

Walker Percy (1916–1990)

Auteur van The Moviegoer

32+ Werken 12,651 Leden 166 Besprekingen Favoriet van 68 leden

Over de Auteur

Walker Percy, May 28, 1916 - May 10, 1990 Walker Percy, born in Alabama, raised in Mississippi, and a former resident of Louisiana, was a member of a prominent Southern family who lost his parents at an early age and grew up as the foster son of his father's cousin. Percy graduated from the toon meer University of North Carolina and received his M.D. from Columbia, but was a nonpracticing physician who devoted much of his life to his writing. Percy's first novel, The Moviegoer (1961), won the 1962 National Book Award, but Charles Poore considers The Last Gentleman (1966) "an even better book." Love in the Ruins (1971) marks a sharp change in method and subject from the first two novels. A doomsday story set "at the end of the Auto Age," it exposes many foibles and abuses in contemporary life through sharp satire and extravagant fantasy. Whereas Love in the Ruins is funny, Percy's next novel, Lancelot (1977) is the rather bleak and pessimistic story of a deranged man who blows up his home when he finds proof of his wife's infidelities and then tells his story in an asylum for the mentally disturbed. Its apocalyptic vision is expressed in a more positive and affirmative way in The Second Coming (1980), which takes its title from the fact that it resurrects the character of Will Barret from The Last Gentleman and locates him, a quarter-century older, finding love and meaning in a cave. (Bowker Author Biography) toon minder


Werken van Walker Percy

The Moviegoer (1961) 4,735 exemplaren, 93 besprekingen
Love in the Ruins (1971) 1,320 exemplaren, 8 besprekingen
Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book (1983) 1,161 exemplaren, 13 besprekingen
Vorst der duisternis (1987) 1,122 exemplaren, 11 besprekingen
The Second Coming (1980) 1,063 exemplaren, 10 besprekingen
Lancelot (1977) 1,001 exemplaren, 11 besprekingen
The Last Gentleman: A Novel (1966) 915 exemplaren, 10 besprekingen
Signposts in a Strange Land (1991) 452 exemplaren, 1 bespreking
The Correspondence of Shelby Foote & Walker Percy (1996) 192 exemplaren, 5 besprekingen
Conversations With Walker Percy (1985) 70 exemplaren
Walker Percy: A Southern Wayfarer (1986) 23 exemplaren

Gerelateerde werken

Een samenzwering van idioten (1980) — Voorwoord, sommige edities21,584 exemplaren, 476 besprekingen
Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter's Son (1941) — Introductie, sommige edities295 exemplaren, 3 besprekingen
The Vintage Book of Amnesia: An Anthology of Writing on the Subject of Memory Loss (2000) — Medewerker — 218 exemplaren, 2 besprekingen
An American Album: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Harper's Magazine (2000) — Medewerker — 134 exemplaren, 1 bespreking
The Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology (1997) — Medewerker — 99 exemplaren
A Portrait of Southern Writers: Photographs (2000) — Medewerker — 14 exemplaren
Mississippi Writers: An Anthology (1991) — Medewerker — 14 exemplaren
Walker Percy: A Comprehensive Descriptive Bibliography (1988) — Introductie — 12 exemplaren


Algemene kennis



Note from Walker Percy in Deep South (april 2013)
Novel about guy who loves the cinema in Name that Book (september 2011)


Percy's breezy, glossy magazine format disguises an earnest introduction to a philosophy of the self in the late 20th Century U.S. culture, more accurately an eschatology especially concerned with the linguistic turn in late Continental theory and its relevance for middle class consumers. The initial 11 chapters (short, conversational, often presented in the list-centric or mini-survey trappings favoured by grocery checkout diversions and which Percy implicitly mocks) treat of various summaries of psychology and popular understanding of the Self. In fact, the book provides no traditional chapter structure, rather beginning with a cold open and careering to its termination.

Tom Bartlett in the Chronicle of Higher Education asseverates the "source material" for much of Lost in the Cosmos is found in the essays reprinted earlier in Message In A Bottle. While true, Cosmos gives that content different emphases, a slightly different spin. Perhaps he hoped to reach different readers, or make a second effort at reaching the same readers indirectly. Wikipedia pointed me to an online lecture based on the book, and this too is interesting, especially in arguing that Percy extends a tradition followed by C.S. Lewis (That Hideous Strength or The Screwtape Letters) and G.K. Chesterton (Everlasting Man), to "smuggle Christianity back into Christendom" as initially suggested by Kierkegaard. Neither replaces the book itself, unsurprisingly.

Both Kierkegaard and modern semiotics give us leave to speak of the self as being informed -- "possessed," if you like, at certain historical stages of belief and unbelief. It becomes possible, whether one believes in God or not, soul or not, to agree that in an age in which the self is not informed by cosmological myths, by totemism, by belief in God -- whether the God of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam -- it must necessarily and by reason of its own semiotic nature be informed by something else. [178]

That something else is both unsettling and logically untenable. "It is possessed by the spirit of the erotic and the secret love of violence," all the more unsettling in this nuclear age, and logically untenable given that a Self (by definition a knowing subject rather than a known object) cannot know itself by reference to itself, that is to say, know itself as an object. Rather the Self must know itself transcendentally. Necessarily, then, Percy concludes the modern Self is lost. Percy notes the Self feasibly might again become found, but does not pursue that question here.
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1 stem
elenchus | 12 andere besprekingen | May 19, 2024 |
Like a heaping plate of comfort food for me. Also contains one of my favorite quotes in a novel: “Whenever I feel bad, I go to the library and read controversial periodicals.” Hell yeah. But wait, there’s more.

Binx Bolling doesn’t seem to be having a bad time of it, a young man successfully managing an office of the family brokerage firm in 1959/1960 New Orleans, having a series of dalliances with his secretaries, and going to a lot of movies. Only unlike most of us, he has the knowledge that such things are merely an effort to keep the existential despair at bay at the forefront of his mind. He instinctually feels the quote from Kierkegaard that is the novel’s epigraph: “the specific character of despair is precisely this: it is unaware of being despair”. Now he knows he is in despair and thus he is a bit better off by Kierkegaard’s reckoning, a step closer to the solution to it, but he is still a long way off a grounding of himself in religious faith. The forms and husk of religion are all around him of course, being plenty thick in the “Christ-haunted” but not “Christ-centered” South, as Flannery O’Connor memorably phrased it, but Kierkegaard too would have recognized the deadness of them. The best Binx can do is an awareness of “wonder” and a rejection of that which he feels too grossly ignores or obscures the wonder.

His state of despair and inadequate search for resolution to it are best recognized for what they are by his step-cousin Kate, who is often in the grip of a strong depression, who seems possibly bipolar. Like recognizes like, in a manner. She tells him, “You remind me of a prisoner in the death house who takes a wry pleasure in doing things like registering to vote. Come to think of it, all your gaiety and good spirits have the same death house quality. No thanks. I’ve had enough of your death house pranks”. She tells him, “It is possible, you know, that you are overlooking something, the most obvious thing of all. And you would not know it if you fell over it.” Not that she knows what it is either, rather she’s given up the possible search: “Don’t you worry. I’m not going to swallow all the pills at once. Losing hope is not so bad. There’s something worse: losing hope and hiding it from yourself.”

Binx, like Kate and Kierkegaard, understands the commonplace human tendency to hide our despair from ourselves, what he calls “sinking into everydayness”, even if the three of them (in the novel’s current moment at least) exist in pretty different places after similarly escaping it. Kierkegaard thinks he knows the answer. Kate thinks there is no answer. Binx, as befits a more modern day literary fiction hero, embraces uncertainty. Watching an apparently materially successful African-American man exiting church on Ash Wednesday, the ending day of the novel, ashes marked on forehead, he thinks
I watch him closely in the rear-view mirror. It is impossible to say why he is here. Is it part and parcel of the complex business of coming up in the world? Or is it because he believes that God himself is present here at the corner of Elysian Fields and Bons Enfants? Or is he here for both reasons: through some dim dazzling trick of grace, coming for the one and receiving the other as God’s own importunate bonus? It is impossible to say.
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lelandleslie | 92 andere besprekingen | Feb 24, 2024 |
My favorite Walker Percy novel. Been through it three times. It's deep, moving, funny, and short. Everything I need. I mostly loved the characters. Wanted to give both of them a big hug.
MickeyMole | 9 andere besprekingen | Oct 2, 2023 |
One of those rare books one can return to over and over. I highlighted a lot of paragraphs. Two great writers and thinkers share their friendship and knowledge. This is a beautiful book and must-read for lovers of literature.
MickeyMole | 4 andere besprekingen | Oct 2, 2023 |



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