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Walker Percy Wednesday – 13

Happy people were worse off in their happiness in museums than anywhere else, he had noticed sometime ago. In here the air was thick as mustard gas with ravenous particles which were stealing the substance from painting and viewer alike. Though the light was technically good, illuminating the paintings in an unexceptionable manner, it nevertheless…

A Confederacy of Dunces: extracts (52)

Have you abandoned your project to form a political party or nominate a candidate for president by divine right? I remember that when I finally met you and challenged your political apathy, you came up with this idea. I knew that it was a reactionary project, but it at least showed that you were developing…

Walker Percy Wednesday – 12

The sun is shining, people live well, go about satisfying their needs and achieving goals, work at creative jobs, attend cultural attractions, participate in interesting groups. This is, by every calculation, as it should be. Yet it was on just such a day as this, an ordinary Wednesday or Thursday, that he felt the deepest…

A Confederacy of Dunces: extracts (51)

His blue and yellow eyes rested on an unopened manila envelope on the top of the toilet. For quite a while Ignatius had been trying to decide whether or not he would open the envelope. The trauma of having found employment had affected his value negatively, and he was waiting until the warm water in…

Walker Percy Wednesday – 11

So thoroughly in fact did he identify with his group companions of the moment, so adept did he become at role-taking, as the social scientists call it, that he all but disappeared into the group. As everyone knows, New York is noted for the number and variety of the groups with which one might associate, so…

A Confederacy of Dunces: extracts (50)

“The sisters loved Ignatius. He was such a darling child. He used to win all them little holy pictures for knowing his catechism.” “Them sisters shoulda knocked his head in.” “When he useta come home with all them little holy pictures,” Mrs. Reilly sniffed, “I sure never thought then he’d end up selling weenies in…

Walker Percy Wednesday – 10

But it was worse than this in his case. It was more than being a Southerner. For some years he had had a nervous condition and as a consequence he did not know how to live his life. As a child he had had “spells,” occurrences which were nameless and not to be thought of,…

A Confederacy of Dunces: extracts (49)

“Goofin off? Shit. Goofin off ain cleanin up this mother-fuckin cathouse. They somebody in here sweepin and moppin up all the shit your po, stupor customer drippin on the flo. I feel sorry for them po peoples comin in here thinkin they gonna have theirself some fun, probly gettin knockout drop in they drink, catchin…

Walker Percy Wednesday – 9

As for the present young man, the last of the line, he did not know what to think. So he became a watcher and a listener and a wanderer. He could not get enough of watching. Once when he was a boy, a man next door had gone crazy and had sat out in his…

A Confederacy of Dunces: extracts (48)

Ignatius looked sternly at the young boy who had placed himself in the wagon’s path. His valve protested against the pimples, the surly face that seemed to hang from the long well-luricated hair, the cigarette behind the ear, the aquamarine jacket, the delicate boots, the tight trousers that bulged offensively in the crotch in violation…