Listening to the Dead: Marginalia in Walker Percy's Private Library

by Nicholson, Joseph

Abstract (Summary)
A record of one researcher's wanderings through Walker Percy's private library in the Rare Book Collection in Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this study provides an account of the character and extent of Percy's collection as well as a survey of selected examples of marginalia that his books contain. Opting for an impressionistic approach that relies on selective browsing in those portions of the library that Percy seems to have read with particular attentiveness, it does not aspire to offer an exhaustive catalog of the library's contents or perform a meticulous literary analysis that establishes sure connections between the books Percy read and those he wrote. Rather, the essay attempts to describe the broad contours of Percy's collection and capture the flavor and basic characteristics of his annotations in a relatively small sample. It also discusses some of the vexing perplexities involved in working with the library of a deceased writer and the ambiguous rewards of studying marginalia, a fragmentary, incomplete genre of writing that often withholds as much as it discloses.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:David Carr

School:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School Location:USA - North Carolina

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:percy walker 1916 1990 library marginal notes books and reading private libraries united states


Date of Publication:05/24/2006

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