May 3, 2010

Quotes From Stuff I Read - Percy

This topic is usually called Quotes From Stuff I Like, but I wasn't that crazy about this biography, hence the slight tweak in title. I'm pulling this quote out because of the seeming contrast between it and an earlier quote from Gardner I found interesting.

Walker Percy: A Life, an excerpt from a letter:

p. 223. Actually I do not consider myself a novelist but a moralist or a propagandist. My spiritual father is Pascal (and/or Kierkegaard). And if I also kneel before the altar of Lawrence and Joyce and Flaubert, it is not because I wish to do what they did, even if I could. What I realy want to do is to tell people what they must do and what they must believe if tghey want to live. Using every guile and low-handed trick int he book of course . . .

The problem which all but throws me all the time is this: how does a Catholic fiction writer handle the Catholic Faith in his novel? I am not really writing to get your answer because I think I already know it--that you don't worry about it--do what Augustine said: love God and do as you please. But this doesn't help much. (Actually the only reason I can raise the question now is that I can see the glimmerings of an answer.) Dosteovsky knew he answer.

But to show you that I am not imagining the problem: The Moviegoer was almost universally misunderstood. Its most enthusiastic admirers were preciesely those people who misunderstood it worst. It was received as a novel of "despair"--not a novel about despair but as a novel ending in despair. Even though I left broad hints that such was not at all the case.

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