House of Percy; Honor, Melancholy and Imagination in a Southern Family / Edition 1

House of Percy; Honor, Melancholy and Imagination in a Southern Family / Edition 1

by Bertram Wyatt-Brown
5.0 1
ISBN-10:
0195109821
ISBN-13:
9780195109825
Pub. Date:
11/28/1996
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
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House of Percy; Honor, Melancholy and Imagination in a Southern Family 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bertram Wyatt-Brown presents a compelling case that genetics predisposed at least six generations of my family to clinical depression. Bert also argues persuasively that nurture, the flip side of genes, produced its own persistent haunts in the family line--the Percy obsession with 'honor,' which he sees as aristocratic rectitude combined with a ruthless sense of entitlement to wealth and power. Exhaustively researched, methodically laid out, House is a solid work of history and a provocative and convincing text that often reads like a Southern-Gothic tale. It contains, however, a number of small errors, and one big blind spot: the question of homosexuality, its prevalence in the Percy family, and its relationship both to depression and to heredity. Bert falls victim to a common error, 'the presumption of heterosexuality.' Of Charles Percy's descendants through his son Thomas George, only four can be identified with certainty as lifelong Kinsey '6's' or near-'6's,' that is, as exclusively or almost exclusively homosexual: my first cousin once removed, the writer William Alexander Percy, my aunt, Lady Caroline Percy, my great-great uncle, Leroy Pope Percy, and me. But the family history is rife with suggestions that plenty of us were at least bisexual (Kinsey 2's-5's), and that these Percys, like so many other queers labeled as sinners, outlaws, and mentally ill, also grappled with depression, in some cases to the point of suicide. I can only speculate as to why Bert is not more open to this evidence, but nevertheless, he was written an excellent book.