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The House of Percy

Bertram Wyatt-Brown

Published in print October 1996 | ISBN: 9780195109825
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854240 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195109825.001.0001
The House of Percy

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The novels of Walker Percy—The Moviegoer, Lancelot, The Second Coming, and The Thanatos Syndrome to name a few—have left a permanent mark on twentieth-century Southern fiction; yet the history of the Percy family in America matches anything, perhaps, that he could have created. Two centuries of wealth, literary accomplishment, political leadership, depression, and sometimes suicide established a fascinating legacy that lies behind Walker Percy's acclaimed prose and profound insight into the human condition. This book interprets the life of this gifted family, drawing out the twin themes of an inherited inclination to despondency and an abiding sense of honor. The Percy family roots in Mississippi and Louisiana go back to “Don Carlos” Percy, an eighteenth-century soldier of fortune who amassed a large estate but fell victim to mental disorder and suicide. The author traces the Percy family through the slaveholding heyday of antebellum Natchez, the ravages of the Civil War (which produced the heroic Colonel William Alexander Percy, the “Gray Eagle”), and a return to prominence in the Mississippi Delta after Reconstruction. As the biography of a powerful dynasty, steeped in Southern traditions and claims to kinship with English nobility, this book shows the interrelationship of legend, depression, and grand achievement.

Keywords: Walker Percy; Southern fiction; Percy family; Mississippi

Book.  0 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Local and Family History

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Table of Contents

The Demons of Charles Percy in The House of Percy

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A Son of Two Fathers in The House of Percy

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Brevity of Life in The House of Percy

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The Philadelphia Years in The House of Percy

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Two Southern Brontës in The House of Percy

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Sarah Dorsey in The House of Percy

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Collision of Minds in The House of Percy

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Enshrining the Lost Cause in The House of Percy

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A Knight-errant's Defeat in The House of Percy

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