William Alexander Percy
A Mississippi Delta planter,
lawyer, poet, man of letters, and gentleman from Greenville, William
Alexander Percy is best known for his autobiography, Lanterns
on the Levee, a book revealing not only the man but also the
region, the times in which he lived, and the culture that shaped
him. Though he considered himself primarily a poet, his autobiography
is today considered his major work. Spanning the years of his life
from his birth on May 14, 1885, to the book's publication
in 1941 Lanterns on the Levee looks upon the drastic
social changes of that period with a sense of foreboding, upholding
agrarian sensibility and the values of kindness, moral integrity,
and friendship instead of what Percy perceived as the prevailing
trends of declining moral values and technological progress. He
served as guardian to his cousin Walker
Percy after the death of Walker's parents. He died on January
- Sappho in Levkas, and Other Poems. New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1915
- In April Once, and Other Poems. New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1920
- Enzio's Kingdom, and Other Poems. New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1924
- Selected Poems. New Haven: Yale University Press,
- Collected Poems. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1943
- Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter's Son.
New York: A.A. Knopf, 1941
- Andrews, William L. "In Search of a Common Identity: The Self
and the South in Four Mississippi Autobiographies." Southern
Review 24.1 (Winter 1988): 47-64.
- Castille, Philip. "East toward Home: Will Percy's Old World Vision."
Southern Literature in Transition: Heritage and Promise.
Eds. Philip Castille and William Osborne, introd. by C. Hugh Holman.
Memphis: Memphis State University Press, 1983. 101-09.
- Cox, James M. "Trial for a Southern Life." Sewanee Review
97.2 (Spring 1989): 238-52.
- Dupuy, Edward J. "The Dispossessed Garden of William Alexander
Percy." Southern Quarterly 29.2 (Winter 1991): 31-41.
- Gretlund, Jan N. "Southern Stoicism and Christianity: From William
Alexander Percy to Walker Percy." The United States South: Regionalism
and Identity. Eds. Valeria Lerda, Tjebbe Westendorp, and Geo.
Pistarino. Rome: Bulzoni, 1991. 145-56.
- Gulledge, Jo. "William Alexander Percy and the Fugitives." Introd.
by Walker Percy. Southern Review 21.2 (April 1985): 415-27.
- Holdsworth, Carolyn. "The Gorgon's Head and the Mirror: Fact versus
Metaphor in Lanterns on the Levee." Southern Literary
Journal 14.1 (Fall 1981): 36-45.
- Holmes, William F. "William Alexander Percy and the Bourbon Era
in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta." Mississippi Quarterly: The Journal
of Southern Culture 26 (1973): 71-87.
- Lawson, Lewis A. "William Alexander Percy, Walker Percy, and the
Apocalypse." Modern Age: A Quarterly Review 24 (1980): 396-406.
- Rocks, James E. "The Art of Lanterns on the Levee." Southern
Review 12 (1976): 814-23.
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