Legacy Library: Walker Percy

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About meWiki bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walker_Percy
See also The Walker Percy Project: http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy/
Laetare Medal Address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6jaJy3gL2I

(Self-interview) From "Questions They Never Asked Me" by Walker Percy

Q: Would you comment on your own writing?
A: No.
Q: Why not?
A: I can't stand to think about it.
Q: Could you say something about the vocation of writing in general?
A: No.
Q: Nothing?
A: All I can think to say about it is that it is a very obscure activity in which there is usually a considerable element of malice. Like frogging.
Q: Frogging?
A: Yes. Frogging is raising a charley horse on somebody's arm by a skillful blow with a knuckle in exactly the right spot.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: I don't have any.
Q: What magazines do you read?
A: None.
Q: What are your plans for summer reading?
A: I don't have any.
Q: Do you keep a journal?
A: No.
Q: But don't writers often keep journals?
A: So I understand. But I could never think what to put in a journal…The one time I kept a journal I made two short entries in three weeks: "The only thing notable is that nothing is notable. I wonder if any writer has ever recorded the observation that most time passes and most events occur without notable significance. I am sitting here looking out the window at a tree and wondering why it is that though it is a splendid tree, it is of not much account. It is no good to me. Is it the nature of the human condition or the nature of the age that things are devalued?" …This may be the main function of art in this peculiar age: to reverse the devaluation.

Q: How would you describe the place of the writer and artist in American life?
A: Strange.
Q: How do you perceive your place in society?
A: I'm not sure what that means.
Q: Well, in this small Louisiana town, for example.
A: I'm still not sure what you mean. I go to the barbershop to get a haircut and the barber says: "How you doing, Doc?" I say, "Okay." I go the post office to get the mail and the clerk says, "What's up, Doc?" Or I go to a restaurant on Lake Pontchartrain and the waitress says, "What you want, honey?" I say, "Some cold beer and crawfish." She brings me an ice-cold beer and a platter of boiled crawfish that are very good, especially if you suck the heads.

Q: Do you regard yourself as a Catholic novelist?
A: Since I am a Catholic and a novelist, it would seem to follow that I am a Catholic novelist.
Q: What kind of Catholic are you?
A: Bad.
Q: No, I mean are you liberal or conservative?
A: I no longer know what those words mean.
Q: Are you a dogmatic Catholic or an open-minded Catholic?
A: I don't know what that means, either. Do you mean, do I believe the dogma that the Catholic Church proposes for belief?
Q: Yes.
A: Yes.
Q. How is such a belief possible in this day and age?
A: What else is there?
Q: What do you mean, what else is there? There is humanism, atheism, agnosticism, Marxism, behaviorism, materialism, Buddhism, Muhammadism, Sufism, astrology, occultism, theosophy.
A: That's what I mean.
Q: To say nothing of Judaism and Protestantism.
A: Well, I would include them along with the Catholic Church in the whole peculiar Jewish-Christian thing.
Q: I don't understand. Would you exclude, for example, scientific humanism as a rational and honorable alternative?
A: Yes.
Q: Why?
A: It's not good enough.
Q: Why not?
A: This life is much too much trouble, far too strange, to arrive at the end of it and then to be asked what you make of it and have to answer "Scientific Humanism." That won't do. A poor show. Life is a mystery, love is a delight. Therefore I take it as axiomatic that one should settle for nothing less than the infinite mystery and the infinite delight, i.e. God. In fact, I demand it. I refuse to settle for anything less. I don't see why anyone should settle for less than Jacob, who actually grabbed aholt of God and wouldn't let go until God identified himself and blessed him.
Q: Grabbed aholt?
A: Louisiana expression.

About my libraryFrom The Walker Percy Collection at the Rare Book Collection of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: http://www.lib.unc.edu/rbc/inv/about.php?collection=percy

Note: There are many errors in the online source at Chapel Hill. I did my best to correct them for the LibraryThing version of Dr. Percy's collection.

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Real nameWalker Percy

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URLs /profile/WalkerPercy (profile)
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Member sinceFeb 11, 2008

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Comments

FYI, I uploaded a cover for "People Will Always Be Kind" in case you want to use it.
Where I come from (Iowa), noogies are only applied to the top of the head. Isn't anthropology interesting?
Where I come from (Brooklyn, New York) what you called frogging we called giving someone a noogie; although noogie isn't as exact as your frogging since it can be delievered anywhere on the body.
Funny, how some folks haven't heard of Walker Percy before, in spite of sharing great swathes of library books with him, but to tell the truth, it's only this year that I finally read something by him, The Thanatos Syndrome, and then a collection of essays (including Questions They Never Asked Me). I was ready to like him, and laugh, because the main thing I knew about him is that he was always included in lists that had Flannery O'Connor in them, who I'd read more of.

(And by the way, I added a cover today for Hughes' A History of the Church.)
Is it possible to export this library to a CSV file? If so, I can't seem to figure out how.
See links next to "About Me."
Me too, share 20 books with him and never heard of him. Why do so many people say that they share the most books with him?? Strange. Still, it does make me want to read some of his books.
I think a brief description/biography of this LT Dead Person might be quite useful. I, like many others, have not heard of Walker Percy, though I do appear to share quite a few books with him. That's not to say that he's not an important or interesting person, merely that he is not on the radar for many people. While he may have won a National Book Award, it was over 45 years ago, and I don't believe he is particularly well-known outside America in any case.

I don't think this is important just for Mr Percy, I think all the legacy libraries should provide some detailed biographical information.
Do people really not know who Walker Percy is? I don't think 'unknown' is an applicable description of a National Book Award winner.
....seriously, people have never heard of Walker Percy? Oy.
Wow, I didn't know Walker Percy was so unknown. "The Moviegoer", anyone? It's on Modern Library's Top 100 list? No? Okay.
Hi there, unknown dead guy. You have ten of my books, so it appears I should read some of your work.

I bet this is your best online advertisement yet. Wikipedia hasn't helped except now I know that interesting story about how you were going to meet William Faulkner and hid in the car.
Ah,I've just seen the website address above.LOL. However having visited it I am really not an awful lot wiser than I was before !
Well I seem to share 108 books with this chap who I have never heard of.I agree with you JanWillemNoldus,that we need to know who it is we are sharing our books with.There is as far as I can see no real information coming through.
Me too- on all counts- I never heard of him, but we share 9 books, the highest of any of those on the Dead Persons page.
I agree entirely with the two preceding comments: most books shared with any Dead Person, and not the slightest idea who he was - never even heard his name, but deduce from his profile that he was a novelist and a Catholic.
A little bit of information besides the interview would be most welcome!
So do I; it’s especially piquant because I have no idea who he is...
So far, I share the most book with this Dead Person instead of anyone other dead people. :-)
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