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Archives for September 2020

Murmuration

Seen while returning from the funeral of an old friend.

All I Ever Had

A Timely Passage from A Tale of Two Cities

Far and wide lay a ruined country, yielding nothing but desolation. Every green leaf, every blade of grass and blade of grain, was as shrivelled and poor as the miserable people. Everything was bowed down, dejected, oppressed, and broken. Habitations, fences, domesticated animals, men, women, children, and the soil that bore them—all worn out. Monseigneur (often a most worthy individual gentleman) was a national blessing, gave a chivalrous tone to things, was a polite example of luxurious and shining life, and a great deal more to equal purpose; nevertheless, Monseigneur as a class had, somehow or other, brought things to this. Strange that Creation, designed expressly for Monseigneur, should be so soon wrung dry and squeezed out! There must be something short-sighted in the eternal arrangements, surely! Thus it was, however; and the last drop of blood having been extracted from the flints, and the last screw of the rack having been turned so often that its purchase crumbled, and it now turned and turned with nothing to bite, Monseigneur began to run away from a phenomenon so low and unaccountable. But, this was not the change on the village, and on many a village like it. For scores of years gone by, Monseigneur had squeezed it and wrung it, and had seldom graced it with his presence except for the pleasures of the chase—now, found in hunting the people; now, found in hunting the beasts, for whose preservation Monseigneur made edifying spaces of barbarous and barren wilderness. No. The change consisted in the appearance of strange faces of low caste, rather than in the disappearance of the high caste, chiselled, and otherwise beautified and beautifying features of Monseigneur.

Novum Organum

In other publishing news, friends of Korrektiv Kerry Lea Perkins have teamed up with semiotician (and Percy correspondent) Ken Kettner and published a new book by Percy, Symbol and Existence: A Study in Meaning: Explorations of Human Nature:

SYMBOL AND EXISTENCE will prove fascinating to Walker Percy scholars and fans who wish to decipher Percy’s authentic philosophical stance. Percy, an existentialist Catholic at his core, was also a scientist seeking an objective paradigm to portray his views. SYMBOL AND EXISTENCE demonstrates that Percy was quite methodical and logical in his thought and provides an entirely new perspective on his scholarship. Much of this book is unique and has never been published before; however, some sections were revised and published as isolated journal articles or book chapters, never presented as the unified whole that Percy intended. The orderly unity of Percy’s work has not previously been accessible to scholars and fans.

SYMBOL AND EXISTENCE’s systematic presentation and its new material offer fresh insight and a more accurate view of Percy’s ideas. His early philosophical writings were often revised and significantly modified by outside editorial intent to conform to prevailing intellectual currents of the time. Readers of some published articles with corresponding passages in SYMBOL AND EXISTENCE will be surprised to discover major changes in meaning from Percy’s initial writing due to editorial intrusion and loss of context upon their removal from SYMBOL AND EXISTENCE.

As the only known systematic representation of Percy’s general working theory, SYMBOL AND EXISTENCE gives an important framework for his diverse intellectual background–philosophy and psychology, medicine and anthropology, semiotics and zoology–creating a coherent view of Percy’s “radical anthropology.”

SYMBOL AND EXISTENCE will prove fascinating to Walker Percy scholars and fans who wish to decipher Percy’s authentic philosophical stance. Percy, an existentialist Catholic at his core, was also a scientist seeking an objective paradigm to portray his views. SYMBOL AND EXISTENCE demonstrates that Percy was quite methodical and logical in his thought and provides an entirely new perspective on his scholarship. Much of this book is unique and has never been published before; however, some sections were revised and published as isolated journal articles or book chapters, never presented as the unified whole that Percy intended. The orderly unity of Percy’s work has not previously been accessible to scholars and fan

Jessica Hooten Wilson tackles Flannery O’Connor

Dr. Hooten Wilson, leading a rousing reading of The Screwtape Letters

The University of Dallas’ Louise Cowan Scholar in Residence Dr. Jessica Hooten Wilson, who once dined with the Korrektiv Kollektiv on a particularly memorable night in New Orleans, and who has since become something of a shining star in the firmament of American Catholic letters, is THIS VERY EVENING giving a little talk on her latest project: preparing Flannery O’Connor’s unfinished novel Why Do the Heathen Rage? for publication. Holy crow, as they say.

Korrektiv in the New York Times

I once heard a rumor that suffering gives authority.

Go ahead and call it an attempted comeback. Here’s where we’ve got to get back to if we’re going to get back at all: Friend of Korrektiv Bishop Daniel Flores (pictured above) telling the Times that he follows “The Korrektiv blog, which is by a number of different writers who look up to Walker Percy, whom I also like.” The good bishop used to be a blogger himself, though it seems he’s deeper into Twitter these days. Led there, no doubt, by the sensus fidelium. I liked this line: “Know what you must in conscience vigorously oppose in the agendas of whomever it is you decide to vote for; know these things at least as well, if not better, than you know what you can support.”