Thursday, August 22, 2002

How Come Percy is So Smart?
I was just glancing at the chapter in Walker Percy's The Message in the Bottle called "Symbol as Need." I was completely struck by the high level of discourse he was able to achieve in this essay. He speaks of Suzanne Langer and St. Thomas with a familiarity that belies his lack of formal philosophical training. From Pilgrim in the Ruins, which I read years ago, I know he spent the 50s studying semiotics and aesthetics, but it is clear he wasn't a dilettante. I think this is why his novels are so good. He has thought deeply and systematically about the things he is trying to present in the novels--and clearly from a faith perspective. It is amazing also how he can present these ideas for the popular reader not only in his novels but in, for instance, Lost in the Cosmos.

Can the Church produce a Percy these days?

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