[percy-l] Confessions of a Catholic Novelist

Henry Mills wppdirector at gmail.com
Tue Jun 23 06:27:11 EDT 2015

/Note: the following 6/22 post is a re-post of a message that appeared 
at the bottom of a long section of text for those who missed its 
commentary.  Further comments on Giraldi's essay or otherwise on Percy 
are invited.//
//Henry Mills, Percy-L Administrator/

On 6/22/15 5:41 PM, desmond wrote:

In his reading of The Moviegoer, Mr. Giraldi completely ignores one of 
its most important thematic threads, i.e. Binx's intuition of his 
"Jewishness" as a "clue" to his deepest identity, and where that clue 
leads him in the novel.  Giraldi's simplified interpretation is a 
serious misreading of the novel (for his own purposes, I suppose).

John Desmond

> On 6/22/2015 11:37 AM, Lauren Stacy Berdy wrote:
>> The reader as much as the writer creates the vision in their own mind
>> If the process of creation does not happen in the readers mind is not 
>> reenacted
>> If the subterranean links and connections  do not link
>> The work fails
>> For this reader Born a Jew Dr Percy wants us alert like one of his hawks
>> His words give us a renewal and a resuscitation for our own lives
>> Whitman too was religious ( okay a religion not made by a mind) he 
>> helped us with our emotional evolution
>> Dr Percy adds to that self generating order
>> That creative struggle that all great authors ask of Their readers
>> I read that article twice and I am sorry that he is wresting so with 
>> his demons
>> catholic or otherwise.
>> On Jun 22, 2015, at 12:14 PM, Michael Larson <larsonovic at gmail.com 
>> <mailto:larsonovic at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>> I so hope the world will take him at his word when Mr. Giraldi 
>>> denies being a Catholic. Otherwise, people might mistake his 
>>> interests and concerns for those of a real Catholic novelist. As a 
>>> secular novelist, Mr. Giraldi seems most interested in how his life 
>>> has prepared him to be an /artiste/, his boyhood Catholicism being 
>>> one of those preparations: "An upbringing in the Church has, I 
>>> suspect and hope, outfitted me well as a storyteller." He likes the 
>>> instincts Catholicism gave him--but for the purpose of storytelling 
>>> and not for the purpose of apprehending and conforming oneself to 
>>> the truth. He even likes there to be a quasi-religious vision to 
>>> fiction, as long as it is sufficiently amorphous: "A novel should 
>>> indeed be a groping after some form of the metaphysical, a 
>>> benediction to unseen powers, the upholding of the /mysterium 
>>> tremendum/, those insistent inklings of the numinous."
>>> But the Catholic novelist is most interested in objective reality, 
>>> and he sees his role as artist to be one of rendering that reality 
>>> as well as he can. Obviously some novels (and novelists) are better 
>>> than others, but the vision of the Catholic novelist is neither 
>>> narcissistic nor subjective (Nor is it proselytizing, as Giraldi 
>>> claims with regard to Percy and Greene in particular.). No, the 
>>> Catholic novelist's vision is of something outside of himself, 
>>> corresponding to divine revelation. His characters may be at any 
>>> level of understanding (or rejecting) that reality, but the 
>>> (Catholic) novelist himself has no such freedom. He knows what he 
>>> knows, and the world he creates, in which his characters live and 
>>> breathe, must bear a close resemblance to the real one. But this 
>>> includes immaterial as well as material reality. Mr. Giraldi is fine 
>>> with being exact about material reality ("my books are 
>>> flesh-obsessed"), but he wants to keep the immaterial vague, 
>>> subjective, fuzzy. That's why he's not a Catholic ... and why he 
>>> should therefore remain silent about the concerns of Catholic writers.
>>> Michael Larson

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