Walker Percy : What have I been missing ?!!

I am intrigued to find this author- my American friends probably know all about him but for me it is a discovery and although he died in 1990 his works seem to be extremely relevant now !!

Walker Percy's Postmodern Catholicism

Why was he a Catholic?  Because he believed that the Church's teachings are true; and because the Church, in his view, stood above and apart from the present age, which he called the age of the "theorist-consumer." 
In his view, the present age has no use for anything that cannot be bought and sold or theorized about.  So the present age has no use for Christian faith.  But the believer, he thought, should count this as an advantage, and see the present age as preferable to "Christendom," when the churches prospered.
"In the old Christendom," he explained, "everyone was a Christian and hardly anyone thought twice about it.  But in the present age the survivor of theory and consumption becomes a wayfarer in the desert, like St. Anthony: which is to say, open to signs."  From Paul Elie, The Life You Save May Be Your Own,
Some links here   here 
and here
An interview with Walker Percy here 
This extract below :
When it is asked just so, straight out, just so: 'Why are you a Catholic?' I usually reply, 'What else is there?' I justify this smart-mouthed answer when I sense that the question is, as it usually is, a smart-mouthed question."

"The present age is demented. It is possessed by a sense of dislocation, a loss of personal identity, an alternating sentimentality and rage which, in an individual patient, could be characterized as dementia."

"It is difficult to see how the man, woman, or child who watches TV eight hours a day, in which the good triumphs every half hour on sitcoms, cops and hospital shows, can be open to the Good News."

There is also a film about Walker Percy's life now in post production. All I can find is this short preview on You Tube.  I understand that one of the US Loyola Universities has had a screening of the film earlier on this year but I doubt if  it will become available to watch in the UK soon.

This excerpt below from a speech by the great novelist Walker Percy is highlighted in this post by Rod Dreher, who is amazed to realize that it’s been 20 years since Percy’s death. He’s still so influential, it’s hard to believe he’s been gone that long.

In my last novel, The Thanatos Syndrome, I tried to show how, while truth should prevail, it is a disaster when only one kind of truth prevails at the expense of another. If only one kind of truth prevails, the abstract and technical truth of science, then nothing stands in the way of a demeaning of and a destruction of human life for what would appear to be reasonable short-term goals.
It’s no accident that I think that German science, as great as it was, ended in the destruction of the Holocaust.
The novelist likes to irritate people by pointing this out. It’s his pleasure and vocation to reveal, with his own elusive and indirect way, man’s need of and openings to other than scientific propositions.
The novelist, I think, has a special calling to truth these days. The world into which you are graduating is a deranged world. It is his task to show the derangement.

On the back of this, to my short list of must-reads for the rest of 2010, I now have added Walker Percy novels and this one  !!

Signposts in a Strange Land by Walker Percy

No comments: