[percy-l] "What's so great about this Percy guy, anyway?"

RHONDA MCDONNELL rhonda_mcdonnell at msn.com
Thu Sep 1 20:28:27 EDT 2005

Here in Arizona, my students are trying to wrap their minds around the 
devastation and find themselves unable to make a complete connection. A few, 
who had dreamed of attending Tulane, realize that their own hopes have been 
dashed. I hope by extension they can begin to understand the utter 
devastation those students who would have been their classmates are facing. 
For the most part, though, hurricanes are the stuff of movies and, for most 
of them, so is New Orleans (along with Mississippi and Alabama). The images 
they see in the newspapers and on tv are somehow cheapened by the special 
effects wizardry that their usual fare consists of. Tomorrow, I'll give them 
excerpts from Percy's "New Orleans, Mon Amour" with the hope that his 
descriptions of New Orleans in all its vitality (and troubles) can do what 
images cannot--that words can bridge the gap. I guess that's what makes 
Percy so good--at least for me. When reading him the gaps are bridged. The 
reference to his "Man on the Train" essay reminds me of his theory that a 
true literature of alienation does not exist because the novel about the 
alienated person forges a connection with the alienated reader, thereby 
dispelling alienation. It seems my students are alienated from this 
tragedy--I hope Percy will do the trick.

In the meantime, I watch this list, encouraged by your words, and searching 
for the same names we're all looking for, and I pray.

A final question: If Girard connects with Percy, which of Girard's works 
makes for a good first time experience?

>From: dabeck at iupui.edu
>Reply-To: "Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion" 
><percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org>
>To: "Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion" 
><percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org>,Patrick Lynch <padraig at well.com>
>CC: "Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion" 
><percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Subject: Re: [percy-l] "What's so great about this Percy guy, anyway?"
>Date: Thu,  1 Sep 2005 09:22:19 -0500
>I like your "sidestep" into Girard. Next to Kierkegaard and Marcel, I 
>refer to him (in class) more than any other philosopher (though he 
>himself an anthropologist). I was wondering if you might elaborate on the
>connection you touched on.
>  While I'm not sure how many here are familiar with Girard's work, I think 
>would be great to discuss how some of his ideas are manifested in Percy. 
>seem to be manifested everywhere else, especially his take on mimetic 
>  BTW, someone mentioned that these crises can bring out the best and worst 
>us. I saw footage of the looting and have now heard evacuation of the Super
>Dome has been halted, because someone is firing on the choppers. Crazy 

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