In this Book

A Political Companion to Walker Percy
summary

In 1962, Walker Percy (1916--1990) made a dramatic entrance onto the American literary scene when he won the National Book Award for fiction with his first novel, The Moviegoer. A physician, philosopher, and devout Catholic, Percy dedicated his life to understanding the mixed and somewhat contradictory foundations of American life as a situation faced by the wandering and won-dering human soul. His controversial works combined existential questioning, scientific investigation, the insight of the southern stoic, and authentic religious faith to produce a singular view of humanity's place in the cosmos that ranks among the best American political thinking.

An authoritative guide to the political thought of this celebrated yet complex American author, A Political Companion to Walker Percy includes seminal essays by Ralph C. Wood, Richard Reinsch II, and James V. Schall, S.J., as well as new analyses of Percy's view of Thomistic realism and his reaction to the American pursuit of happiness. Editors Peter Augustine Lawler and Brian A. Smith have assembled scholars of diverse perspectives who provide a necessary lens for interpreting Percy's works. This comprehensive introduction to Percy's "American Thomism" is an indispensable resource for students of American literature, culture, and politics.

Table of Contents

  1. Front cover
  2. pp. 1-4
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  1. Copyright
  2. pp. 5-5
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Series Foreword
  2. pp. vii-9
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  1. Introduction. Walker Percy, American Political Life, and Indigenous American Thomism
  2. pp. 1-10
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  1. 1. Walker Percy: A Brief Biography
  2. pp. 11-28
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  1. 2. The Moviegoer's Cartesian Theater: Moviegoing as Walker Percy’s Metaphor for the Cartesian Mind
  2. pp. 29-45
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  1. 3. Walker Percy's Critique of the Pursuit of Happiness in The Moviegoer, Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book, and The Thanatos Syndrome
  2. pp. 47-68
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  1. 4. On Dealing with Man
  2. pp. 69-86
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  1. 5. Walker Percy's "Theory of Man" and the Elimination of Virtue
  2. pp. 87-117
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  1. 6. Confessing the Horros of Radical Individualism in Lancelot: Percy, Dostoyevsky, Poe
  2. pp. 119-144
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  1. 7. Walker Percy's Alternative to Scientism in The Thanatos Syndrome
  2. pp. 145-157
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  1. 8. Love and Marriage among the Ruins
  2. pp. 159-178
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  1. 9. Walker Percy's Last Man: Love in the Ruins as a Fable of American Decline
  2. pp. 179-206
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  1. 10. The Second Coming of Walker Percy: From Segregationist to Integrationist
  2. pp. 207-236
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  1. 11. Walker Percy, Alexis de Tocqueville, and the Stoic and Christian Foundations of American Thomism
  2. pp. 237-265
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  1. Selected Bibliography
  2. pp. 267-269
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 271-272
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 273-285
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