Chapter

Thanatos and Lineage

Bertram Wyatt-Brown

in The House of Percy

Published in print October 1996 | ISBN: 9780195109825
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854240 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195109825.003.0019
Thanatos and Lineage

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The legacy of Charles Percy has led his descendants, over the years, to make efforts—fictional, genealogical, and legend making—to sustain a special sense of belonging. The fiction writers among the Percys, epitomized by Walker Percy himself, drew repeatedly on the family history for their characters as well as their themes. Just as Don Carlos founded two familial lines, his heirs followed separate courses to achieve familial self-projection by searching for their origins and kinship with the House of Northumberland. Descendants of Robert Percy, Charles's eldest son, undertook genealogical study to trace the noble line. Members of both branches, however, came to recognize a temperamental if not blood relationship with the noble house. The complicated account of these themes may help to explain how families, consciously and sometimes unconsciously, recapitulate old issues in new settings, displaying both resilience and occasionally a sense of the absurd in the process.

Keywords: Charles Percy; Walker Percy; Robert Percy; Percy; Don Carlos Percy

Chapter.  11932 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Local and Family History

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