[percy-l] New Orleans Before Katrina -- Walker Percy's "Moviegoer" and the Aesthetics of Adversity

Henry Mills wppdirector at gmail.com
Wed Aug 26 14:13:35 EDT 2015

Dear Percy-L:

For those interested in a close reading of images from /The Moviegoer/ 
and reflections on Katrina as its 10th anniversary approaches this week, 
the following short essay is available, which includes a brief foray 
into Faulkner's writings on New Orleans.

Best regards,
Henry Mills
Percy-L Administrator


*New Orleans Before Katrina -- Walker Percy's "Moviegoer" and the 
Aesthetics of Adversity*

/Town Topics - Princeton's Weekly/
August 26, 2015 - Stuart Mitchner

Ten years ago this week, August 29, Katrina savaged New Orleans and the 
Gulf Coast. Just under two thousand people died, with damages estimated 
at over a hundred billion dollars. Spike Lee in /When The Levees Broke/, 
David Simon in HBO's /Treme/, and Dave Eggers in his book /Zeitoun/ are 
among the artists who have done justice to the magnitude of the event 
and its troubled aftermath. You could say Walker Percy did justice to it 
before it happened.
//The Moviegoer,/ Percy's first and best-known novel, was published in 
1961, four and a half decades before Katrina. Since New Orleans is 
geographically susceptible to devastating acts of nature, the fact that 
Percy intuits the possibility of a Katrina  might seem a given, but what 
sets his book apart is its fortuitous all but prophetic awareness of 
something that did not take place until 15 years after his death. It's 
as if the book had been created in the shadow of imminent catastrophe by 
a philosopher/novelist exploring the aesthetics of adversity while 
posing questions such as why the same man who feels bad in a good 
environment is "apt to feel good in a very bad environment, say an old 
hotel on Key Largo during a hurricane." . . .


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