Walker Percy picked bad time to channel Faulkner

On this day in 1933: University of North Carolina freshman Walker Percy flunks the English placement test.

“I had just finished reading Faulkner’s ‘The Sound and the Fury,’ ” Percy will recall half a century later, “and I wrote my placement theme in a Faulknerian style — no capitalization, no punctuation. They put me in the retarded English class, and the professor really thought I was hot stuff. Compared to the rest of the dummies, I guess I was.”

Percy will graduate from Chapel Hill and from Columbia University medical school, but he becomes best known for writing such novels as “The Moviegoer,” “The Last Gentleman” and “Love in the Ruins.”

 

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