[percy-l] Author David Madden on Percy at LSU
wppdirector at gmail.com
Sat Jul 25 08:41:22 EDT 2015
For those interested in a short vignette of Percy as remembered by
author David Madden while Percy taught at LSU. You can read more about
Madden's literary career at the link at the bottom of the page, of
particular interest being his encounters with Tennessee Williams and Ayn
...In 1968, Madden began 24 years of teaching at Louisiana State
University. Living near him in Covington for a while was the writer
Walker Percy, author of “Love in the Ruins” and other novels.
“He got on the faculty for just a quarter. I think his daughter was
going to LSU,” Madden said. “He was a very quiet fellow. He would hold
these deep philosophical discussions at his house. I don’t think he
realized how deep into philosophy I was. I kind of wanted to be there,
but I didn’t want to ask him.
“Anyway, he was very friendly to me. He wrote a comment on my novel
‘Bijou,’ which is about being a movie usher in Knoxville, at age 12.
Percy told him he thought it was better than “Huckleberry Finn.” “So
naturally, I’m well-disposed to him,” Madden said.
“Anyway, I’d see him in the hallway (at LSU), going to class or the
bathroom or wherever. He would walk close to the wall, with his head
down, in a kind of saunter. He was a very handsome fellow. One time he
said, ‘David, how do you write a novel?’ I’m so naive that you can ‘get’
me anytime you want me. But he wasn’t trying to ‘get’ me. So I took him
at his word and started telling him how to write a novel.
“Afterward, I realized what he meant was, he was writing a new novel, it
was like he didn’t know how to write a novel - which is exactly what
every writer feels. When you start a new novel, you think, how do you
write a novel?”
--from "David Madden, writing to all the great writers"
Paul Clark, /Black Mountain News/ 2:42 p.m. EDT July 16, 2015
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