Percy, Walker

Percy, Walker,

1916–90, American novelist, b. Birmingham, Ala. Trained as a physician, Percy turned to writing after he contracted tuberculosis and was forced to retire from practice. His novels The Moviegoer (1961) and The Last Gentleman (1966) concern Southern gentlemen who are feeling the impact of changing times. Love in the Ruins (1971) is a science fiction satire. His other novels are Lancelot (1977), The Second Coming (1980), and The Thanatos Syndrome (1987). His occasional writings were collected in the posthumous Signposts in a Strange Land (1991).


See biography by J. Tolson (1992); studies by L. W. Hobson (1988) and J. D. Crowley, ed. (1989).

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Percy, Walker

(1916–90) writer; born in Birmingham, Ala. After the suicide of his father (1929) and death of his mother (1931), he and his brothers and sisters were adopted by their father's cousin, William Percy, who lived in Greenville, Miss. Walker studied at the University of North Carolina (B.A. 1937), and Columbia University (M.D. 1941). He worked as a pathologist in New York City, contracted tuberculosis, and spent three years in a sanatorium. He returned to Columbia to teach pathology (1944), suffered a relapse, and left medicine and New York City. He married (1946), converted to Catholicism (1947), and settled in Covington, La., to write. Starting with his first and best-known work, The Moviegoer (1961), he published several novels characterized by his conservative disillusionment with contemporary American life and values. A philosophic-intellectual man, he collected his essays on language in The Message in the Bottle (1975).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Percy, Walker. Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book.
William Alexander Percy, Walker Percy's adoptive father (to whom Walker and his siblings referred as "Uncle Will"), played a major role in the political and social development of the early twentieth-century South, and Walker's perceptions of racial identity could not have escaped the enormous influence of the older Percy.
Their practice lasted only a few years and then they parted amicably.(17) After the dissolution of Weatherly & Percy, Walker practiced law alone while residing with his family at 1921 Avenue J between 19th and 20th Streets.(18) One measure of the close ties between the DeBardelebens and the Percys is the enormous amount of legal work that Walker did for T.C.I., beginning formally when he was admitted to the Alabama bar and licensed to practice law in Alabama in 1893, and later when he was joined by his son in, 1913.(19) Once Weatherly left the firm, Walker looked for a new partner.
Percy, Walker. The Message in the Bottle: How Queer Man is, How Queer Language is, and What One Has to Do with the Other.
He devotes even more space to Walker Percy, Walker's grandfather, a lawyer who came to Birmingham in 1886 and married Mary Pratt DeBardeleben in 1888.