Book Reviews -- the House of Percy: Honor, Melancholy, and Imagination in a Southern Family by Bertram Wyatt-Brown

By Foster, Gaines M. | The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, April 1995 | Go to article overview

Book Reviews -- the House of Percy: Honor, Melancholy, and Imagination in a Southern Family by Bertram Wyatt-Brown


Foster, Gaines M., The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography


The House of Percy: Honor, Melancholy, and Imagination in a Southern Family. By BERTRAM WYATT-BROWN. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. xv, 454 pp. $30.00.

ANYONE interested in the Percy family--and anyone interested in southern history or American letters ought to be--should read Bertram Wyatt-Brown's compelling chronicle of this accomplished but tragic family, which in the twentieth century included William Alexander Percy, author of the fine and important memoir Lanterns on the Levee, and Walker Percy, a major novelist. Wyatt-Brown begins the story of this family with a carefully researched account of its American founder, the mysterious bigamist Charles Percy, who in the 1770s left England to settle in Spanish Louisiana, and of his sons by each wife, Thomas and Robert, who were important in the early history of the Gulf coast states. Of the nineteenth-century Percys, Wyatt-Brown writes primarily about the female line, especially two long-ignored writers, Catherine Warfield and Sarah Dorsey. The latter not only wrote, but she also let Jefferson Davis live in her home while he produced his memoirs and left Beauvoir, as it was called, to him in her will. Wyatt-Brown provides the fullest discussion historians have of Dorsey's own life and her role in Davis's. He then turns to the Percys of Greenville, Mississippi, who were leading planters and lawyers of the Delta. The first William Alexander Percy receives almost no treatment, nor is his son LeRoy's life recounted beyond his 1912 Senate race and his influence on one of his sons, the author William Alexander ("Will").

The remainder of the book, almost half of the text, analyzes the lives and writings of Will and his cousin and adopted son, Walker. The account of Will is probably the more valuable, if only because less has been written about him. Wyatt-Brown is at his best in discussing this fascinating man, whom he judges the most impressive member of the family. Wyatt-Brown ably shows why he thinks that, but not without acknowledging the flaws and limitations of Will's stoic, aristocratic view of his world. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Book Reviews -- the House of Percy: Honor, Melancholy, and Imagination in a Southern Family by Bertram Wyatt-Brown
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.