[percy-l] moviegoer/new book
rhul at gwm.sc.edu
Mon Jul 3 11:19:13 EDT 2006
The pleasure and satisfaction of having a new book just out have irresistibly combined with the easy availability of an appropriate listserv and a "hard url" to make advertising its recent publication almost effortless. As you may recall, I have previously mentioned the presence of Percy and especially The Movigoer in my book as a matter of possible interest for subscribers to this list. So here it is, just a click away (with my sincere apologies for the price).
I am currently preparing to teach a seminar this fall on Percy and Cavell about philosophy and literature "against the American grain," so the pleasures of much rereading, background research, etc. are my current chores.
I must admit that "rereading" is an accurate word for my recent experience of working my way through Fear and Trembling. The evidence of my previous handwriting in the margins througout my old Anchor pb edition of the Lowrie translation (now on-line, it seems) is undeniable proof, though it certainly felt like a first run this time through. The experience was powerful, that's for sure, but I am a little daunted at the prospect of teaching such a stunningly "tortuous" text. Any suggestions on how to handle SK re Percy without getting irretrievably lost (as opposed to just getting lost, which has always struck me as a philosopically fruitful experience and not necessarily unproductive in the classroom) are most welcome.
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
>>> jp at jlarsp.com 05/16/06 9:39 PM >>>
It's interesting that the introspective students didn't connect with
the Moviegoer. I was about as introspective as a college student gets,
and I connected with it mightily as an undergrad. However, it wasn't as
part of a class. It was extra-curricular reading; a recommendation of a
friend of a friend. I sometimes wonder if I'd have connected with it as
much as I did if I read it for a class. Certainly there were novels I
read for class that had an impact on me, and a lot obviously depends on
the professor. But there is something about making a discovery while at
university, but not from the official classes.
Chicago, IL 60657
jp at jlarsp.com
"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his
government." Edward Abbey
"News is what powerful people want to keep hidden. Everything else is
just publicity." Bill Moyers
"The World is Divided into People Who Think They are Right."
On May 16, 2006, at 7:09 PM, RHONDA MCDONNELL wrote:
> You've identified the thing that makes the novel worth teaching for
> me. Some
> of the students who were moved by MG really surprised me. It touched
> something within them and made them re-examine their lives and their
> On the other hand, some of the students who seemed
> like Binx--didn't connect with the novel at all. Go figure!
> . . . what people really fear is not that the bomb will fall but that
> bomb will not fall . . .
> --Walker Percy
>> From: "Beck, David A" <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>
>> Subject: [percy-l] moviegoer
>> Date: Mon, 15 May 2006 22:59:09 -0400
>> I hope that the "existential salience of Binx's predicament" comes
>> across to my students. If not, the whole thing is a wash. But, at the
>> same time, Dostoevsky's underground man shares some of the same signs
>> of alienation (I don't consider Dostoevsky outdated). On the other
>> hand, you bring up a great point: America is a different world from
>> world of TMG. That's why I think students appreciate Dostoevsky (and
>> most of mine like C&P) or any "period piece" better than something
>> is somewhat contemporary.
>> One of my favorite passages in TMG is when Binx has a conversation
>> "Oh Lord. What's wrong with the goddamn world, Binx?"
>> "I am not sure. But something occurred to me this morning. I
>> was sitting on the bus--"
>> "What do you do with yourself out there in Gentilly?" (39)
>> To me this passage sums it up: either you get it (the search) or you
>> don't. Walter doesn't get it. Many people make statements, platitudes,
>> ask questions, but never really want to "search" for an answer. It's
>> easy to spit out a question, but quite another to look deeply into our
>> own existence, our place in this world. That aspect of the novel is
>> probably more real today than it was when Percy wrote the book. We
>> more ways to hide from the search. Or perhaps we have more ways to
>> disguise what we are doing and call it a search
>> (does that make sense?).
>> We have more tv channels to distract us, more obligations (taking
>> kids here and there--when did sports begin at age five?), more
>> technology (he says as he writes this email), etc. For me, the
>> challenge is to show students that something "ain't right" with our
>> day-to-day existence (or at least it's not right for most of us). So,
>> to show students that there is more to life than what is on the
>> surface, to encourage them to dig deeper and see the mystery that lies
>> beneath our day-to-day existence (to notice the dung
>> beetle)--that is what I hope this novel can do to them (as it did for
>> me). And, of course, I hope to inspire myself to continue the search.
>> Like Binx after reflecting on dung beetle, I get home and "forget all
>> about it."
>> Whew! Sorry for the long email. But the more we correspond, the more
>> I see the importance of this book (and am glad that I decided to try
>> again). It is a novel that, according to some of us, changed lives
>> (that's why it beat out Catch 22 for the National Book Award--of
>> course, there probably is a Heller listserve....)
>> Thanks for all of the feedback.
>> An archive of all list discussion is available at
>> Visit the Walker Percy Project at http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy
> Express yourself instantly with MSN Messenger! Download today - it's
> An archive of all list discussion is available at
> Visit the Walker Percy Project at http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy
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