Forthcoming: Walker Percy, Philosopher.
“There Must Be a Place”: Walker Percy and the Philosophy of Place
Patrick Connelly explores Walker Percy’s contribution to the philosophy of place by examining place-thinking in his fiction and nonfiction. Percy is first put in conversation with the contemporary philosopher of place Edward S. Casey. Both writers understand place as a source of meaning, the context for community, and the foundation for selfhood. This chapter then examines five major uses of place by Percy: the importance of embodiment in place, the concept of “nonplace,” the use of place in diagnosing individual and social pathologies, place as the context or symbol for the recovery of authentic selfhood, and the possibility of re-placement through pilgrimage and reentry. For Percy, place is central to human distinctiveness and dignity.