[percy-l] thoughts

janet cantor janetcantor37 at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 14 14:38:25 EDT 2012

I just finished reading Lanterns on the Levee by William Percy, Uncle Will.
What an excellent book. I have been writing reams about it to Jay Tolson, my (reluctant?) new pen pal. For those who don't recognize the name, Tolson is an official biographer for Walker Percy. His book, Pilgrim in the Ruins, is also spectacular.
Before I tell you why I am writing I want to point something out. If my book group had liked The Moviegoer as I did, that would have been the end of it. 
But they didn't, so I went on a search, found the Lists, went to Loyola, read all of Percy's novels, read Lost in the Cosmos, the biography and Uncle Will's book and am about to read the Tolson edited letters between Shelby Foote and Percy. So I guess it's good they didn't like The Moviegoer because look at all I would have missed.

At the weekend at Loyola which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Moviegoer, one of my favorite speakers talked for a half hour on that dung beetle at the beginning of the book, where Binx thinks he may be dying and asserts that if he gets out of this alive, he will begin his search. 

In Lanterns there is a marvelous phrase - on page 319 - a mind of a complicated being like G-d 
"we could no more comprehend than a beetle could comprehend our own." 
Now that is a very good way to put it, isn't it?

But then I got to thinking of that half hour talk on the dung beetle. And I figured out that perhaps Walker Percy also like that phrase of his "Uncle Will"  and decided to use it as a kicking off point of his book. 
What do you think?

Anyone from Loyola reading this who attended that beetle talk, I would especially appreciate hearing from you.
Janet Cantor

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