Monday, September 29, 2008

More Walker Percy Quotes from Pilgrim in the Ruins

p. 177: More than thirty years later he described how this discovery dawned upon him at Saranac: "I gradually began to realize that as a scientist -- a doctor, a pathologist -- I know so very much about man, but had little idea what man is."

p. 297 (from his National Book Award acceptance speech): "But since it seems appropriate to say a word about The Moviegoer, it is perhaps not too farfetched to compare it in one respect with the science of pathology. Its posture is the posture of the pathologist with his suspicion that something is wrong. There is time for me to say only this: that the pathology in this case had to do with the loss of individuality and the loss of identity at the very time when words like the 'dignity of the individual' and 'self-realization' are being heard more frequently than ever. ... In short, this book attempts a modest restatement of the Judeo-Christian notion that man is more than an organism in an environment, more than an integrated personality, more even than a mature and creative individual, as the phrase goes. He is a wayfarer and a pilgrim."

p.301: "When the holy has disappeared, how in the blazes can a novelist expect to make use of it? Holderlin said that God had left us and I think that one can give a Catholic reading that though he has not left us, his name is used in vain so often that there remains only one way to speak of him: in silence. Perhaps the craft of the religious novelist nowadays consists mainly in learning how to shout in silence."

p.344: "The Southern writer now finds himself in the middle of somewhere and not quite knowing where. He's caught between the right in the South and the intellectual herd in the North who profess to be free creative spirits, and yet, all conforming to the same lines, the same hatred and abuse of the things they oppose." (This one reminds me of Juliet's recent posts on Palin hatred on her blog, or Camille Paglia's comments on the same, or the general phenomenon of Bush hatred.)

p.478: "... it is only through, first, the love of the scientific method and second, through its elevation and exhaustion as the ultimate method of knowing that one becomes open to other forms of knowing -- sciencing in the root sense of the word -- and accordingly, at least I think so, to a new kind of revival of Western humanism and the Judeo-Christian tradition -- if we survive."

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