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Walker Percy Wednesday 163

The road is better than the inn, said Cervantes-and by this he meant that rotation is better than the alienation of everydayness. The best part of Huckleberry Finn begins when Huck escapes from his old man’s shack and ends when he leaves the river for good at Phelps farm. Mark Twain hit upon an admirable…

Walker Percy Wednesday 162

THE MAN ON THE TRAIN THERE is no such thing, strictly speaking, as a literature of alienation. In the re-presenting of alienation the category is reversed and becomes something entirely different. There is a great deal of difference between an alienated commuter riding a train and this same commuter reading a book about an alienated…

Walker Percy Wednesday 161

We are aware that the effect is achieved by applying the notions of water and scars to lightning, the most unwaterlike or unscarlike thing imaginable. But are these metaphors merely pleasing or shocking or do they discover?—discover an aspect of the thing which had gone unformulated before? Clouds are called variously bars, rafters, prisms, mealy,…

Walker Percy Wednesday 160

An unvarying element in the situation is a pointing at by context. There must occur a preliminary meeting of minds and a mutually intended subject before anything can be said at all. The context may vary all the way from a literal pointing-by-finger and naming in the aboriginal naming act, to the pointing context of…

Walker Percy Wednesday 159

Without getting over one’s head with the larger question of truth, one might still guess that it is extraordinarily rash of the positivist to limit truth to the logical approximation-to say that we cannot know what things are but only how they hang together. The copy theory gives no account of the what we are…

Walker Percy Wednesday 158

It might be useful to look into the workings of these accidental stumblings into poetic meaning, because they exhibit in a striking fashion that particular feature of metaphor which has most troubled philosophers: that it is “wrong”-it asserts of one thing that it is something else-and further, that its beauty often seems proportionate to its wrongness…

Walker Percy Wednesday 155

THE LOSS OF THE CREATURE It may be recovered by a dialectical movement which brings one back to the beaten track but at a level above it. For example, after a lifetime of avoiding the beaten track and guided tours, a man may deliberately seek out the most beaten track of all, the most commonplace…