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Subject: Percy-L: Literary, Religious, Scientific, and Philosophical Discussion of Walker Percy

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  • From: "Karl M. Terrell" <kterrell AT>
  • To: "Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion" <percy-l AT>
  • Subject: RE: [percy-l] New reader
  • Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 15:23:38 -0400

* * This communication is CONFIDENTIAL * *

When WP tired of attempting to give accurate replies to the townsfolk in
Covington about what he did for a living, he began to respond by saying,
"Not much of anything" (or to that effect; I don't recall the exact
quote). He reported they were quite happy with this response.

The boarding house/musuem is near downtown. It was severely damaged by
an arson in 1998, but has since been restored.


-----Original Message-----
From: chaslow53 AT [mailto:chaslow53 AT]
Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2004 1:48 PM
To: "Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion"
Subject: RE: [percy-l] New reader

I have very much enjoyed the activity on this list in the past several
days. Let me add just a few things, none of them original:

* WP did say that "lack of place" was one of the great things about
Covington. "...lack of identity, lack of placeness, even lack of
history." In Covington, "I didn't know anybody, had no kin." He
subsequently said, as I recall, that one of the things he enjoyed most
about the town was that he was less well known than the local Budweiser

* He left New Orleans for Covington in part because of the debilitating
effect of NO on the author's productivity. "The occupational hazard of
the writer in New Orleans is a variety of the French flu, which might be
called the Vieux Carre syndrome." Faulkner, he said, was "charmed to a
standstill" by NO.

* When I was in graduate school at the University of Cincinnati, I was
such a Thomas Wolfe fan (even though, or perhaps especially because, I
was not an English major) that I drove all night to get to Ashville to
try to find his grave (found it) and his mother's boarding house (never

* I was prevented from embarrassing myself by writing a letter to WP by
virtue of my ignorance. I had honestly never heard of him by the time
of his death. In fact, I never read a word until about three years ago.
I interviewed an applicant for the job of departmental assistant. This
was her first job, and she was an English major. Well, there's not much
to ask folks in a first job interview, so, because she was an English
major, I asked her who her favorite author was. She told me that it was
Walker Percy, and I just on a whim a few days later picked up The
Moviegoer. Wow, what a revelation.

* Although WP was spared, I did have my "here's a letter for a famous
person" phase. I wrote an indignant and bombastic letter to Pope Paul
VI to express my utter horror at the thought that he would CONSIDER
taking the Mass out of Latin. His Holiness did not see fit to reply.

Chuck Lowry
Brooklyn, NY

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