[percy-l] LITR

Gray, Rich RGray at montreat.edu
Thu Oct 6 09:45:01 EDT 2005

Percy wrote the essay "Notes for a Novel about the End of the World"
while he was writing Love in the Ruins.  A common theme to both works is
the blessing of cataclysm, which jerks people out of their tranquilized
routines.  In their comfortable routines, Percy thought people --
Catholics as well as other believers and agnostics -- were callous
toward God.  

Tom More opens the novel in a serious rut: rejected by his wife,
dependent on alcohol, and largely unsuccessful in his psychiatric
practice.  His concern for the decay of America and his invention of the
lapsometer mark his attempt to throw off his stupefying midlife tedium.
Then the comedy kicks in.  Tom with the lapsometer seems like Don
Quixote with his lance -- they have a winsomeness, yet they are
completely ineffective in changing the world.

Rich Gray

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