- Walker Percy
Infobox_Person | name = Walker Percy
caption = Walker Percy
birth_date = birth date|1916|05|28
birth_place = Birmingham,
death_date = death date and age|1990|5|10|1916|5|28
death_place = Covington,
occupation = Author
spouse = Mary Bernice Townsend
Soren Kierkegaard, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Gabriel Marcel, Susanne Langer
Walker Percy (
May 28, 1916– May 10, 1990) was an American Southern author whose interests included philosophyand semiotics. Percy is best known for his philosophical novels set in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, the first of which, " The Moviegoer", won the National Book Awardfor Fiction in 1962. He devoted his literary life to the exploration of "the dislocation of man in the modern age."Kimball, Roger [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F07E5D81238F937A3575BC0A963948260 Existentialism, Semiotics and Iced Tea, Review of Conversations with Walker Percy] New York Times, August 4, 1985, Accessed September 24, 2006] His work displays a unique combination of existential questioning, Southern sensibility, and deep Catholic faith.
Percy was born in
Birmingham, Alabama, into a distinguished Mississippi Protestant family whose past luminaries had included a U.S. Senator and a Civil War hero. Prior to Percy's birth, his grandfather had killed himself with a shotgun, setting a pattern of emotional struggle and tragic death that would haunt Percy throughout his life.
In 1929, Percy's father used a shotgun to commit suicide. The Percy family then moved to
Athens, Georgia, where two years later, his mother died in a car crash when she drove off a country bridge—an accident that Percy regarded as another suicide. [Samway, Patrick, "Walker Percy: A Life". (Loyola Press USA, 1999) p. 4] Walker and his two younger brothers, Phin and Roy, then moved to Greenville, Mississippi, where his bachelor uncle William Alexander Percy, a lawyer, poet, and autobiographer, became their guardian and adopted them. “Uncle Will” introduced Percy to many writers and poets and to a neighboring boy his own age – Shelby Foote, who became Percy’s life-long best friend. ["The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage", by Paul Elie, Copyright 2003, Farrar, Straus & Giroux]
As young men, Percy and Foote decided to pay their respects to
William Faulknerby visiting him in Oxford, Mississippi. However, when they finally drove up to his home, Percy was so in awe of the literary giant that he could not bring himself to talk to him. Later on, he recounted how he could only sit in the car and watch while Foote and Faulkner had a lively conversation on the porch.
Percy joined Foote at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a brother in Sigma Alpha Epsilon, as was Faulkner (University of Mississippi), then trained as a medical doctorat Columbia Universityin New York City, receiving his medical degree in 1941. After contracting TB from performing an autopsy while interning at Bellevue, Percy spent the next several years recuperating at the Trudeau Sanitorium in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. During this period Percy read the works of the Danish existentialist writer, Søren Kierkegaard, and the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, and he began to question the ability of science to explain the basic mysteries of human existence. Having been influenced by the example of one of his college roommates rise daily at dawn and go to daily Mass, Percy, decided that he would become a Catholic (1947) and decided to become a writer rather than a physician—as he would later write, he would study the pathology of the soul rather than that of the body.
He married Mary Bernice Townsend, a medical technician, on
November 7, 1946, and they raised their two daughters in Covington, Louisiana. Walker Percy died of prostate cancerin 1990 eighteen days before his 74th birthday. He is buried on the grounds of St. Joseph's Abbey in St. Benedict, Louisiana.
In 1962, Percy published his first novel, "
The Moviegoer", after many years of writing and rewriting in collaboration with editor Stanley Kauffman. Percy later wrote of the novel that it was the story of "a young man who had all the advantages of a cultivated old-line southern family: a feel for science and art, a liking for girls, sports cars, and the ordinary things of the culture, but who nevertheless feels himself quite alienated from both worlds, the old South and the new America."
Subsequent works included "The Last Gentleman" (1966), "Love in the Ruins" (1971), "Lancelot" (1977), "The Second Coming" (1980), and "
The Thanatos Syndrome" in 1987. Percy also published a number of non-fiction works exploring his interests in semioticsand Existentialism.
Percy was instrumental in getting
John Kennedy Toole's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel " A Confederacy of Dunces" published in 1980, over a decade after Toole's suicide.
In 1987 Percy, along with 21 other noted authors, met in
Chattanooga, TNto create the Fellowship of Southern Writers.
University of Notre Dameawarded Percy its 1989 Laetare Medal, which is bestowed annually to a Catholic "whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church, and enriched the heritage of humanity." [ [http://newsinfo.nd.edu/content.cfm?topicId=21727 Notre Dame website] ]
National Endowment for the Humanitieschose him as the winner for the 1989 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, for which he read, “The Fateful Rift: The San Andreas Fault in the Modern Mind.” [ [http://www.neh.gov/whoweare/jefflect.html Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities] National Endowment for the Humanities, Accessed September 24, 2006]
The Moviegoer". New York: Knopf, 1961, reprinted, Avon, 1980.
* "The Last Gentleman". New York: Farrar, Straus, 1966; reprinted, Avon, 1978.
* "". New York: Farrar, Straus, 1971; reprinted, Avon, 1978.
* "Lancelot". New York: Farrar, Straus, 1977.
* "The Second Coming". New York: Farrar, Straus, 1980.
The Thanatos Syndrome". New York: Farrar, Straus, 1987.
*"Bourbon". Winston-Salem, NC: Palaemon Press, 1982.
*"The City of the Dead". Northridge, CA: Lord John Press, 1985.
*"Conversations with Walker Percy".Lawson, Lewis A., and Victor A. Kramer, eds. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1985.
*"The Correspondence of Shelby Foote and Walker Percy". Tolson, Jay, ed. New York: Center for Documentary Studies, 1996.
*"Diagnosing the Modern Malaise". New Orleans: Faust, 1985.
*"Going Back to Georgia". Athens: University of Georgia, 1978.
*"How to Be an American Novelist in Spite of Being Southern and Catholic". Lafayette: University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1984.
*"". New York: Farrar, Straus, 1983.
The Message in the Bottle: How Queer Man Is, How Queer Language Is, and What One Has to Do with the Other". New York: Farrar, Straus, 1975.
*"More Conversations with Walker Percy". Lawson, Lewis A., and Victor A. Kramer, eds. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1993.
*"Novel-Writing in an Apocalyptic Time". New Orleans: Faust Publishing Company, 1986.
*"Questions They Never Asked Me". Northridge, CA: Lord John Press, 1979.
*"Signposts in a Strange Land". Samway, Patrick, ed. New York: Farrar, Straus, 1991.
*"State of the Novel: Dying Art or New Science". New Orleans: Faust Publishing Company, 1988.
*"A Thief of Peirce: The Letters of Kenneth Laine Ketner and Walker Percy". Samway, Patrick, ed. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1995.
William Alexander Percy
*Coles, Robert, "Walker Percy: An American Search". Little, Brown & Co, 1979.
*Harwell, David Horace, "Walker Percy Remembered: A Portrait in the Words of Those Who Knew Him". University of North Carolina Press, 2006.
*Samway, Patrick, "Walker Percy: A Life". Loyola Press USA, 1999.
*Tolson, Jay, "Pilgrim in the Ruins: A Life of Walker Percy". New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.
*Wyatt-Brown, Bertram. "House of Percy: Honor, Melancholy and Imagination in a Southern Family." Oxford University Press USA, 1996.
*_____. "The Literary Percys: Family History, Gender & The Southern Imagination". Athens and London: University of Georgia Press, 1994.
* [http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/p/Percy,Walker.html Inventory of the Walker Percy Papers, circa 1910-1992] , in the
Southern Historical Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill
*Allen, William Rodney. "Walker Percy: A Southern Wayfarer". (University Press of Mississippi, 1986)
* [http://thefsw.org/page/members/charter-members/walker-percy Bio at The Fellowship of Southern Writers]
* [http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy/ The Walker Percy Project: An Internet Literary Center]
* [http://www.lib.unc.edu/rbc/percy/ Walker Percy: From Pen to Print] , a 2002 exhibit at the Rare Book Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill.
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Southern philosophical novelist
DATE OF BIRTH=
May 28, 1916
PLACE OF BIRTH=
Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America
DATE OF DEATH=
May 10, 1990
PLACE OF DEATH=
Covington, Louisiana, United States of America
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Walker Percy — (* 28. Mai 1916 in Birmingham, Alabama; † 10. Mai 1990 in Covington, Louisiana) war ein amerikanischer Schriftsteller. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Werk 3 Werke … Deutsch Wikipedia
Walker Percy — (28 de mayo de 1916, Birmingham 10 de mayo de 1990, Covington) fue un novelista estadounidense. Pasó su infancia en Misisipi. Tras licenciarse en la Universidad de Carolina del Norte en 1937, ingresó en la Universidad de Columbia donde, en 1941,… … Wikipedia Español
Walker Percy — noun United States writer whose novels explored human alienation (1916 1990) • Syn: ↑Percy • Instance Hypernyms: ↑writer, ↑author … Useful english dictionary
PERCY (W.) — Walker PERCY 1916 1990 Chose plus rare qu’on ne le croit, dans un pays où les généalogies s’inventent parfois du jour au lendemain, Walker Percy descend d’une très ancienne famille du Sud. C’est à la fin du XVIIIe siècle, au lendemain de la… … Encyclopédie Universelle
Percy — bezeichnet: Percy (Vorname), männlicher Vorname Haus Percy, englisches Adelsgeschlecht Percy (Film), britische Komödie von 1971 Percy ist der Name folgender Orte und Verwaltungsgebiete: Percy (Isère), Gemeinde im Département Isère, Frankreich… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Walker (surname) — Walker is a surname of English origin. In English, the name comes from the medieval profession of a ‘walker’, a person who trod on woollen cloth in a bath of Fuller s earth, and sometimes urine, in order to thicken the fibres and ready the cloth… … Wikipedia
Walker — Walker, Francis Amasa Walker, William * * * (as used in expressions) Bush, George (Herbert Walker) Bush, George W(alker) Evans, Walker Percy, Walker Walker Smith, Jr. Walker, Alice (Malsenior) Walker, Copa Walker, David Walker, James J(ohn) Jimmy … Enciclopedia Universal
Percy, Walker — born May 28, 1916, Birmingham, Ala., U.S. died May 10, 1990, Covington, La. U.S. novelist. He was orphaned in late childhood and was raised by a cousin in Mississippi. While working as a pathologist he contracted tuberculosis; during his… … Universalium
Percy (surname) — The following list includes people with the surname Percy:* Charles H. Percy (b. 1919), businessman, special ambassador, politician, Senator Illinois R (1967 ndash;1985) * George Percy (1586 ndash;1631), English explorer and author, governor of… … Wikipedia
walker — /waw keuhr/, n. 1. an enclosing framework on casters or wheels for supporting a baby who is learning to walk. 2. a similar device, usually a waist high four legged framework of lightweight metal, for use by a weak or disabled person as a support… … Universalium