Walker Percy, Books of Revelations

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In Walker Percy: Books of Revelations, Gary M. Ciuba examines how Percy’s apocalyptic vision inspires the structure, themes, and strategies of his fiction. This book explores the unity of the southern novelist’s fiction by focusing on its religious and artistic design—one of the first studies to approach Percy’s work from this perspective. Ciuba considers Percy’s six published novels—The Moviegoer, The Last Gentleman, Love in the Ruins, Lancelot, The Second Coming, and The Thanatos Syndrome—and also offers the first extended critical analysis of his unpublished work “The Gramercy Winner.” Although the novels are often seen as increasingly satiric jeremiads about the possible doom of America, Ciuba argues that Percy’s fiction is principally shaped by a demythologized and partially realized form of eschatology. This apocalyptic vision has less to do with the end of the external world than with the demise of the protagonists’ internal worldviews. According to Ciuba, Percy does more than offer direly comic warnings about the end of the world; he shows how the world actually ends and then may begin again in the everyday lives and extraordinary loves of his astonished seers.

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