Unearthed: Walker Percy’s Fan Letter to Bruce Springsteen


Bruce Springsteen Berlin ConcertBuried in the Utne Reader library is nearly every issue of the sorely missed DoubleTake magazine. That’s where I stumbled across this letter from Walker Percy to Bruce Springsteen in 1989. When Springsteen finally responded, in 1993, it was to Percy’s widow. It’s a charming and intriguing correspondence that touches on the Catholicism and work of both men. DoubleTake ran the letters with a discussion between Springsteen and Percy’s nephew Will.

Here’s the exchange of letters:

Feb 23, 1989

Dear Mr. Springsteen—

This is a fan letter—of sorts. I’ve always been an admirer of yours, for your musicianship, and for being one of the few sane guys in your field.

The immediate occasion is that my favorite nephew, Will Percy, has even a higher opinion of you. He is a level-headed perceptive young lawyer and generally knows what he is talking about.

5/21/2018 7:14:42 PM

As Bruce once said of a friend, “they broke the mold when they made Dr. Percy. I called him one night after reading The Moviegower, late because I couldn’t stop reading it. I asked him to please write another book. In the most beautiful Southern drawl he said he was working on one, but he felt my call was an extravagance. I told him it was a privilege. I have all of his books, and I’m still amazed he has not received a Nobel.

10/25/2013 11:47:08 PM

What a privilege to be able to read all of this. I love Walker Percy and one of the saddest things in my life is that I didn't read him early enough to be able to write him a fan letter.

Michael Newhouse
2/28/2012 2:45:14 AM

PLEASE CORRECT THE TYPO. Flannery's quote of “I say that it it’s only a symbol, to hell with it.” It should read 'IF it's' not "it it's"...they typo ruins the very point of her outburst!

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