[percy-l] thanks and hello (Fwd for Larry Rhu)
dabeck at iupui.edu
dabeck at iupui.edu
Sun Jul 31 23:32:59 EDT 2005
Two quick observations: one, it is good to see the list alive and kicking;
second, is there any listserv that has more people named "Ken" than the Percy
Seriously, I'm glad the discussion is up and going again. As long as people
wonder how to survive an ordinary Wed afternoon, the list shall survive. But I
think a false dichotomy has arisen, between the "layperson" and
the "academic." I teach at I.U. at Indpls and maybe I'm an academic (maybe
not). I did my grad work on Percy's connection to Kierkegaard and Marcel (as
most of you know). But the reason I was interested in Percy in an academic way
is because he "hit" me in an existential way. As a young man (a category that
has now extended to 40+), I found that Percy attempted to answer the questions
asked by other "moderns" (i.e. Vonnegut, Heller. Mailer, Pynchon, etc.). In
fact, after reading Percy, I considered the others as "pretenders", more
interested in asking quesions or making the reader ask questions (which was
fine and good) but not providing or, worse, even attempting or expecting to
provide any answers. Moreover, their works seem to imply that no answer
existed. But I found that Percy's fiction wrestled with the BIG questions in
an authentic way, much in the way that Dostoevsky did (I'm sure Percy would
smile in appreciation).
So, I entitled my thesis "Attaining Selfhood: A Kierkegaardian-Marcellian
Synthesis of the Works of Walker Percy." It sits on the library shelf here at
IU (Indpls). Only my students pull it down, in hopes of scoring points when
they write their papers on a Percy novel (usually Lancelot).
But my point is that, at no time, during my research and writing did I
consider "furthering" the study of Percy. All I was trying to do was a) get my
degree, and, most importantly, b) try to make it through an ordinary Wed
afternoon. I agreed with Percy (or his characters): Everydayness is the enemy.
Now, how do I overcome the enemy?
I'm not sure if I've succeeded in any of the above. Like Ken (one of the
Kens), I drink too much and look for ways to "soften" the existential
experience head-on. But I know that, for me, Percy provides an interesting--
no, inspiring--worldview, especially, if one assumes that God has entered the
material world and continues to make Himself known to us through our everyday
experiences. When I consider this perspective, I feel more inspired to teach
and to make it through the "ordinary" day. After all, if Percy is correct,
then God might be right under our noses, if we just take the time to notice.
Thus, maybe there is no such thing as an "ordinary day."
So, whether from an academic or layperson (or fish or fowl), those are some
random thoughts to keep the ball in tbe air.
Quoting Ken Wilson <kfw at ntelos.net>:
> I missed it too, so my thanks to Henry. You can hear the show from this page:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Patrick Lynch
> To: Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion
> Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2005 12:28 PM
> Subject: Re: [percy-l] thanks and hello (Fwd for Larry Rhu)
> On Jul 31, 2005, at 8:58 AM, Henry P. Mills wrote:
> The 6/23 Connection show about The Moviegoer
> was also interesting to hear. I
> Would anyone be kind enough to detail what this author meant by the
> reference to this show? I may have missed an e-mail.
> An archive of all list discussion is available at
> Visit the Walker Percy Project at http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy
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