[percy-l] Report on WP Conference at Loyola (Forwarded for Janet Candor)

Henry Mills III henry at henrymills.info
Sat Oct 22 16:59:55 EDT 2011

Thanks for the lively and interesting report about your experiences at 
the recent Walker Percy Symposium at Loyola in New Orleans. I'm sure the 
whole list joins me in their appreciation for your time as well as those 
of us who were not able to attend.  Of course, any list member may at 
any time write reports on or reflections about any Percy event they 
themselves attend and post them to the list for the benefit of our 

Best wishes,

Henry Mills
Percy-L Manager

The Walker Percy Conference at Loyola, New Orleans, Oct. 14-15, 2011
Report by Janet Candor
janetcantor37 at yahoo.com

I went to Loyola in New Orleans because they had a symposium to 
celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Moviegoer. They 
invited people to give papers.

What happened was that they had so many offers of papers to be given and 
so many people signing up that they divided the sessions into two in 
each time slot. So if I saw one session, I had to miss the other. This 
was a disappointment to me but each session I went to was so interesting 
that I forgot to be disappointed in what I missed.

Loyola is to be congratulated for how efficiently the event was run and 
for how excellent every minute of it was.

I went as a non scholar only to find out if my reading of the book was 
okay. Not only was I vindicated in my take on the book, I learned so 
much it was overwhelming. I taped what I sat in on and if the tapes come 
out at all, I will write more details in a month or so. Right now I am 
only going to tell you about a few favorite things.

One of the speakers was a young man who looked no more than twelve. He 
gave a sensational talk comparing Updike and his Rabbit books to Percy 
and Binx.  I told him he left something out. Sex. Updike has tons of sex 
in his books and Binx, if he doesn't do much about it, certainly thinks 
about it a great deal.

In going to that session I see I missed John Riley. But I had just 
arrived and didn't look closely enough. I could kick myself that I 
missed his talk.

My favorite session was at 3:15 on Friday. The three speakers were so 
intelligent and informative. One of the lecturers gave a talk about 
Heidegger and quoted the philosopher verbatim and then showed  how Percy 
paraphrased those quotes in The Moviegoer.

The highlight of the whole weekend was a talk by the Percy biographer, 
Jay Tolson. He spoke for almost an hour and was charming, knowledgeable 
and funny. That was great. I told him, "Lucky you that Percy gave you so 
much access and lucky us that we got to hear you tonight."

Another paper I missed because of which session I chose was one by Eddie 
Dupuy. I met him and he was so impressive. Later I asked him a question 
or two and after answering he looked at my name tag and told me he 
remembered my name from some comments I made on the Percy Lists that had 
stimulated good discussion.

Another favorite session was one where movies figured most. I especially 
enjoyed the screenings of scenes from movies that Binx refers to. He 
didn't get everything right but maybe that was okay with Percy. Another  
session I liked, which Dupuy  moderated was the one that included Mary 
McCay, the excellent woman who ran the whole show and organized it all. 
She talked about Binx as a movie director of the scenes in the book, and 
her partner,  Roger Rawlings, talked  about the way Binx used his movie 
titles often as point/counterpoint, which also matched the way the body 
of the book relates to the Epilogue. These were two great talks.

Another of the great treats of the weekend was I got to meet Charles 
Lowry and to hear him speak. His talk was perfectly written, presented 
and it was delightful.

The weekend was closed out with the showing of the documentary on Walker 
Percy introduced by the documentarian himself.

What a weekend, It was as if it were scripted just for me. I enjoyed 
every minute of it. No one was condescending to me and they all took my 
questions seriously. This was the first time in my life I ever did 
anything like this. Whoever chose to miss this made a mistake.

If only I could have seen the other presentations. Ah, well.

And if I could only find out who gave Rhoda Faust my name so she could 
tell me I might be interested in being there....

Janet Cantor

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