Tuesday, May 17, 2011

To the hard of hearing you shout

More Flannery.
 "The novelist with Christian concerns will find in modern life distortions which are repugnant to him, and his problem will be to make these appear as distortions to an audience which is used to seeing them as natural .... When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax a little and use more normal means of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock – to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures."

Bonus:  Walker Percy, a writer I should like to know better. I've read nothing of his besides The Moviegoer, and I liked that. I haven't read it in a couple of years - time for a repetition.

  What is a repetition? A repetition is the re-enactment of past experience toward the end of isolating the time segment which has lapsed in order that it, the lapsed time, can be savored of itself and without the usual adulteration of events that clog time like peanuts in brittle. Last week, for example, I experienced an accidental repetition. I picked up a German-language weekly in the library. In it I noticed an advertisement for Nivea Creme, showing a woman with a grainy face turned up to the sun. Then I remembered that twenty years ago I saw the same advertisement in a magazine on my father's desk, the same woman, the same grainy face, the same Nivea Creme. The events of the intervening twenty years were neutralized, the thirty million deaths, the countless torturings, uprootings and wanderings to and fro. Nothing of consequence could have happened because Nivea Creme was exactly as it was before. There remained only time itself, like a yard of smooth peanut brittle.
                                                                                                             from The Moviegoer

1 comment:

  1. Quot. from the Ignatius article: "He goes on to say that what interests him as a novelist is the "looniness" of modern man, "the normal denizen of the Western world who, I think it is fair to say, doesn’t know who he is, what he believes, or what he is doing. This unprecedented state of affairs is, I suggest, the domain of the ‘diagnostic’ novelist."

    I want to be a diagnostic novelist when I grow up! And I'd better start reading Walker Percy.