[percy-l] /LITR

Lawrence Rhu rhul at gwm.sc.edu
Sun Sep 25 18:18:02 EDT 2005

Dear All,

I have been rereading LITR with great pleasure.  On the matter of the center not holding, I am reminded how Binx used to enjoy going to the library and reading political journals.  The animosity expressed toward opponents by pundits on different sides struck him as a rare sign of life in an otherwise haunted, if not simply dead, populace, zombies going through the motions of life.

I think this has a lot to do with the passion and dismay that we have often been exposed to in exchanges on the list of late.  ( I am a newcomer so I have no idea what it has been like before I started listening in in August.)

I also think these mixed feelings raise very interesting issues about the limits of different kinds of discourse.  Emerson's struggle with the Aboliltionists, whom he joined with some reluctance (and regular qualms) before the War between the States, is an example of this sort of dilemma that has recently mattered to me.  If you believe that philosophy can bring peace, polemics, of course, narrow the possibilities; but without candor, we would have a kind of desolation of thought and of feeling that it would be a lie to call peace.

How are other people doing with the novel?  I always loved the first two novels the most, especially the second.  Percy's initial success seemed to emboldem him to greater feats of candor and a willingness to risk his own vulnerability (even in a third person narrative).  LITR previously struck me as an angry book (one of my friends calls it more viscerally engaged, a good point that usefully turns my feeling back on me) symptomatic of a country losing its capacity for public trust and civil conversation.  It still does strike me that way, but it makes me laugh so often and strikes me now as using passionate conviction in a most generous and compelling way .  Should I also sadly add "prophetic"?

It's good to reread Yeats and know the recipe for Ramos gin fizzes.  Reading Peter Kramer, as I have been doing for the first time, also makes LITR more interesting and me more conversible.  I thank Cal Elliott for this and recommend his chapter, "Three Ways of Feeling Homesick," in Better Than Well as a good companion piece for reading LITR from perspectives that interest me such as bioethics and ideas of good and evil.

Lawrence F. Rhu
Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC  29208
Tel:  803 777 0144
Fax:  803 777 9064
Email:  rhul at sc.edu

>>> MorrisJD at aol.com 09/25/05 1:45 PM >>>
Chuck Lowry
Brooklyn, New York

And we were doing so well with starting up the LITR group...

Isn't  this the sort of thing, from either side, that we were going to try to 
 avoid?  That is not to say that these are unimportant questions or unworthy  
of examination, but wasn't the consensus "not here"? 
I've been watching this discussion closely since it began, and I don't  
recall a "consensus" of any sort emerging. I do recall the list master  attempting 
to avoid further discussion of NOLA, but both left and right group  members 
dissented from that effort.  I think Nikki deserves to be heard,  and if someone 
doesn't like it, don't read it.
Meanwhile, what on earth does the LTR group on LITR have to do with the  NOLA 
discussion thread?

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