Walker Percy: A Writer on a Pilgrimage

A viewing of “Walker Percy: A Documentary Film” by Win Riley

With an introduction by Dr. Ernest SUAREZ, Professor of English and Chair of the English Department at the Catholic University of America, and Mr. Thomas TOBIN, English Instructor, the Avalon School

Presented by Crossroads Cultural Center


In a rare television interview in 1980, Walker Percy said his concerns as writer were with “a theory of man, man as more than organism, more than consumer––man the wayfarer, man the pilgrim, man in transit, on a journey.” This one-hour program, entitled Walker Percy: A Documentary Film, looks at Percy’s own journey, and is framed as a narrative about his life and ideas.

As a doctor turned writer and philosopher, Percy was concerned with the big issues: “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?" But he knew his audience was inured to a direct approach. Binx Bolling, in The Moviegoer, is almost allergic to such discussions-––“...if they spoke to me of God, I would jump into the bayou”––yet he is preoccupied with what he calls ‘the search.’ It is a preoccupation that haunts all of Percy’s work.

Part of what makes Percy’s characters like Binx, Will Barrett, and Thomas More so indelible is their wry humor despite being ‘Lost in the Cosmos.’ In Percy’s fifth novel, The Second Coming, the protagonist, Will Barrett, descends into a cave, determined to confront God. He is thwarted by a toothache. For Walker, “humor was an instrument of introspection,” writer Robert Coles says in the film. “That’s what he beautifully combined: that lighthearted sensibility merged with a grave, seriously introspective side. This takes a genius.”

Walker Percy: A Documentary Film tells the story with archival film, excerpts from Percy’s work, and interviews with family, friends and scholars.

The event is open to the public and free of charge.

About this Event

Date: Thursday, February 23, 2012
Time: 7:30pm
Location: The Catholic University of America
108 Hannan Hall
Washington, DC
click here for campus map

About the Speakers

Ernest Suarez
Professor of English and Chair of the English Department at the Catholic University of America
Thomas Tobin
English Instructor, The Avalon School


Not available

Photos of NY event - click on image below

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