Friday, May 14, 2010

Walker Percy's Weirdest Book

from The Chronicle:

""Easily the strangest book [Percy] wrote was Lost in the Cosmos, which is shelved among the nonfiction but is actually an indescribable concoction of hard facts and wild imagination, a parody of self-help books (sort of), a philosophy textbook (kind of), and a collection of short stories, quizzes, diagrams, thought experiments, mathematical formulas, made-up dialogue, ridiculously long chapter titles, and a few David Foster Wallace-worthy footnotes. It's honestly great, or possibly terrible, depending on your level of patience for Percy's stew of literary high jinks.""

"You live in a deranged age, more deranged that usual, because in spite of great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing."(Percy)

Dr. Percy's probably not the preferred literary cup of tea for those infatuated with space opera heroes or bay area BeatnikCo, yet he had something valuable to say, even for the non-believer. One might appreciate Percy's mockery of behaviorism (substitute in Dawkins and/or Dennett for Skinner and Quine) without subscribing to his neo-thomist conclusions--or so it seems. PercySpeak could result in a violent reactions in some quarters, like among WASP-masons and/or darwinists who consider all catholics Pat Buchanans (or worse..."Percy? Waddn't he a g*d*mn*ed Marian, a papist? Why BillY Bob, the pagan freak's now learning the errors of his ways in the pit of perdition").

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