The High and the Low of Walker Percy's Art

deadline for submissions: 
June 1, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Karey Perkins, SAMLA
contact email: 

Percy's practice and thoughts on art - and the human experience - range from high to low, from immanence to transcendence.   Was Percy's philosophy an abstracted high art and his fiction, a low art, for conveying the same message, but in the humble context of physical life?  Percy's first novel, The Moviegoer, talked of the low art of movies (as they were considered during his time) as escape, but also serving a higher purpose of self-realization.  He writes of the movie magazine as the "low slick."   But the Moviegoer ends with the high art of the church, a conduit for the divine.   Percy wrote of the orbit and re-entry of the artist, going from high to low. And he draws both the high and the low of the human psyche, from angelism to bestialism, as extremes, both lacking. Sometimes high art is used for low and quite practical purposes.  In Love in the Ruins, Thomas More uses the statue of Archangel Michael’s sword to jimmy a lock.  How does Percy use the sacred and make it profane - or  how does the profane become sacred in Percy’s works? How is Percy transcending and breaking boundaries between high and low art?  How do his interviews reveal his intentions and attitudes toward art, his art in particular?   Send 300-word or one-page abstracts with your name, affiliation, and email to Dr. Karey Perkins, USC-Beaufort, at