Literary Precedents for The Moviegoer

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Although Percy's sensibility and much of his content are shaped by his southern heritage, the literary precedents for this novel are more clearly European. He commented that after the failure of two attempts to write novels, "It crossed my mind, what if I did something that American writers never do, which seems to be the custom in France: Namely, that when someone writes about ideas, they can translate the same ideas to fiction and plays . . .

So it just occurred to me, why not take these ideas I'd been trying to write about, in psychiatry and philosophy, and translate them into a fictional setting in New Orleans, where I was living." The French novelists and playwrights which Percy probably had most in mind are Camus and Sartre, although his philosophical ideas, expressed in the essay "The Man on the Train" (collected in The Message in the Bottle, 1975), are more...

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