A native of Louisiana, Jennifer Levasseur received her Ph.D. from the University of Wollongong and now resides in Australia. A voting member of the National Book Critics Circle, she is editor of Conversations with James Salter and Novel Voices and has published in Tin House, Glimmer Train, Brick, the Kenyon Review, and newspapers in the United States and Australia.
10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
State Capitol, Senate Committee Room C
Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer at Fifty
11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
Walker Percy's The Moviegoer at Fifty: New Takes on an Iconic American Novel
More than fifty years after its publication, Walker Percy’s National Book Award winner, The Moviegoer, still comforts, agitates, and enlightens generations of readers. Twelve new essays, edited and introduced by Jennifer Levasseur and Mary A. McCay, emphasize the evolving significance of this seminal novel, set in New Orleans. The contributors consider the text with diverse perspectives, drawing on areas as wide-ranging as philosophy, theology, disability theory, contemporary music and literature, social media, and film studies.
Percy biographer Jay Tolson opens the volume with reflections on rereading the novel on a Kindle decades after his first exposure to it. H. Collin Messer, Montserrat Ginés, Jessica Hooten Wilson, and Brian Jobe follow with illuminating essays analyzing Percy’s influences, from St. Augustine and Cervantes to Heidegger and Dostoevsky. Jonathan Potter and Read Mercer Schuchardt, Mary A. McCay, Matthew Luter, and Dorian Speed delve into the novel’s significance to cinema, including an exhaustive guide to its film references, a meditation on Binx Bolling as a director of his existence, and the semiotics of celebrity. Brent Walter Cline and Robert Bolton, Michael Kobre, and L. Lamar Nisly present a roadmap for Bolling’s inward journey, exploring a variety of the book’s elements from the role of the broken body to various spiritual connections.
Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer at Fifty is the first critical work devoted solely to Percy’s debut novel. Coinciding with the centenary of his birth, this collection offers fresh perspectives that underscore the novel’s ongoing relevance.
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