[percy-l] Walker Percy Documentary

Cindy Montgomery Webb cgmwebb at gmail.com
Tue May 24 15:21:11 EDT 2011

Re: John Riley's question about the Percy documentary.  The 2010 film is now
available on DVD.  The documentary contains some insightful interviews with
Percy scholars (i.e. Linda Whitney Hobson, Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Jay Tolson,
Paul Elie) and Percy's fellow writers and friends (Richard Ford, Ben
Toledano, respectively).  Much of the film considers Percy's personal life
and shows how these events connect to his writing.  Percy's haunting
childhood and experiences gained while living with uncle William Alexander
Percy segue into Walker's own considerations of honor and tradition in later
writings. His teenage and adult adventures with Shelby Foote include an
excursion to Santa Fe as "the land of pure possibility," a place not weighed
down by a sense of history, which Percy addressed in The Last Gentleman.
Percy's experience of being "trapped" into the Southern writer label is also
developed in the documentary as are discussions of philosophical, religious,
and semantic concerns throughout his career.  The documentary seemed a bit
short at only sixty minutes long, but that lends itself well to
instructional use. I would say that it presents a good range of Percy's
concerns in writing and in life and offers a strong introduction, or even
synopsis, of his work in interesting ways.

A short preview of the film and more information can be found at:

-Cindy Montgomery Webb
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Dept. of English
PhD candidate
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