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The Message in the Bottle: How Queer Man Is, How Queer Language Is, and What One Has to Do with the Other Paperback – April 1, 2000

10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0312254018 ISBN-10: 0312254016 Edition: 1st Picador

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The Message in the Bottle is a delight . . . a pleasure to read."--Larry McMurtry, The Washington Post Book World

"Walker Percy has an intellectual range and rigor few American novelists can match."--Thomas Leclair, The New York Times Book Review

"This book is worth examining for the confusions it reveals about the study of language and about what can be expected from it."--Thomas Nagel, The New York Review of Books

From the Publisher

"These essays have a way of quickening the spirit and cleansing the sight." -The New Republic
"Walker Percy is that admirable thing-a man who has fallen in love with an idea, an analytical, academic, philosophical man, in fact. Yet the novelist in him cannot help but come out."-JOHN CIARDI, The Saturday Review "Walker Percy has an intellectual range and rigor few American novelists can match."-THOMAS LECLAIR, The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 1st Picador edition (April 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312254016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312254018
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Walker Percy (1916-1990) was one of the most prominent American writers of the twentieth century. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, he was the oldest of three brothers in an established Southern family that contained both a Civil War hero and a U.S. senator. Acclaimed for his poetic style and moving depictions of the alienation of modern American culture, Percy was the bestselling author of six fiction titles--including the classic novel The Moviegoer (1961), winner of the National Book Award--and fifteen works of nonfiction. In 2005, Time magazine named The Moviegoer one of the best English-language books published since 1923.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Zoë on December 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
This dense, well-written and extraordinary book is an excellent introduction to the works of a great 20th century thinker. In this collection of essays, Percy manages to confront some difficult philosophical questions in an exciting and readable context. Percy was first a novelist, and his writing is seldom inaccesible. He deals in everything from religion to science, from literary theory to travel. His best writing relates to theories of language and the human being. Yet like some of the greatest X-Files episodes, Percy leaves many things unresolved, liminal, only suggested. Message in a Bottle is designed to stimulate the reader rather than fill them with useless information. I finished reading this book with the desire to read it again, and whenever I see it on the bookshelf I am comforted by the thought that there are people in the world who think for themselves, and who have the courage to print what they think.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By vines99@ibm.net on December 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
A few of the essays in this collection make for somewhat dry reading (Percy even says so himself), but if wonder and enlightenment are your goals, then this is an extremely rewarding book. His insights on symbolic reasoning, the origins of mankind, Hellen Keller, Semioticism, and the incredible Delta Factor are invariably fresh and thought-provoking. Percy is really onto something here; he may have only scratched the surface, but what he has revealed has powerful implications for all of us.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan A. Boulineau on November 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
The precursor to the, in comparision, pithy 'Lost in the Cosmos,' Message in a Bottle is less accessible than his later, more famous, book. However, Message... provides all of the necessary academic rigor that 'Lost in the Cosmos' lacks (not that LC is not a great book, it is).
Percy claims that he is, in fact, not philosopher or scientist. Rather, he wishes to be thought of as mere novelist writing as he perceives scientists and philosophers. In fact, this is a sort of claim of superiority in the sense that Percy thinks he knows more about philosophers and scientists than they know about themselves (which may be true). Even so, Percy's methods are quite scientific and philosophic. Message in a Bottle deals with the most important question of all: What is Man? Percy contends, as any good Heideggerian would, that we are essentially castaways on an island. We aren't quite sure how we got here and we don't quite know what we're supposed to do now that we are here. But Percy is a Thomist, not an existentialist (although the two are connected). While Percy finds the greatest evidence for our essential 'lostness' in the altogether baffling phenomenon of language, Percy is nevertheless concerned with what we are to do about out anxiety about existence. Percy is interested in pursuing the Thomistic project; 'completing' reason with revelation.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By some guy on February 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
In a see of charlatans, hucksters, half-truths and snake-oil salesmen, we find this island of wisdom. Percy, a psychiatrist turned novelist, was ever a scientist. He takes his aim at a very difficult scientific issue-the study of man. It is very hard for many to study himself, but percy believes the answer to understand man lies in the study og language. As Percy himself said, just because a primate can be taught sign-language words doesn't mean we are anywhere close to understanding human language. It is a shame this author isn't more well-known.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Charles Kennedy on September 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
if you search for isbn 0374513384 you will find an edition you can buy for a penny. Amazon has the penny edition hidden so it is hard to find.
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