Allen, William Rodney. Walker Percy: A Southern Wayfarer. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1986. Allen reads Percy as a distinctly American, particularly southern writer, claiming that the formative event in Percy’s life was his father’s suicide, not his reading of existentialist writers or conversion to Roman Catholicism. Allen’s readings of individual novels emphasize the presence of weak fathers and rejection of the southern stoic heritage on the part of Percy’s protagonists.
Coles, Robert. Walker Percy: An American Search. Boston: Little, Brown, 1978. An early but always intelligent and certainly sensitive reading of Percy’s essays and novels by a leading psychiatrist whose main contention is that Percy’s work speaks directly to modern humanity. In Coles’s words, Percy “has balanced a contemporary Christian existentialism with the pragmatism and empiricism of an American physician.”
Desmond, John F. At the Crossroads: Ethical and Religious Themes in the Writings of Walker Percy. Troy, N.Y.: Whitston, 1997. Chapters on Percy and T. S. Eliot; on Percy’s treatment of suicide; on Percy and Flannery O’Connor; on his treatment of myth, history, and religion; and his philosophical debt to pragmatism and Charles Sanders Peirce. A useful, accessible introduction to Percy’s background in theology and...
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