Southern Literary Figure Hated Confederate Statues

Tweet Reddit Share

Will Percy (Walker’s cousin and guardian) was no fan of the Confederate monuments, saying they’re so pathetic, they don’t even qualify to be ridiculous:

[Y]ou will find in any Southern town a statue in memory of the Confederate dead, erected by the Daughters of something or other, and made, the townsfolk will respectfully tell you, in Italy. It is always the same: a sort of shaft or truncated obelisk, after the manner of the Washington Monument, on top of which stands a little man with a big hat holding a gun. If you are a Southerner you will not feel inclined to laugh at these efforts, so lacking in either beauty or character, to preserve the memory of their gallant and ill-advised forebears. I think the dash, endurance, and devotion of the Confederate soldier have not been greatly exaggerated in song and story: they do not deserve these chromos in stone. Sentiment driveling into sentimentality, poverty, and, I fear, lack of taste are responsible for them, but they are the only monuments which are dreadful from the point of view of æsthetics, craftsmanship, and conception that escape being ridiculous. They’re too pathetic for that.

Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter’s Son(1941). By William Alexander Percy. 348 pp. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. $3.

Will Percy was not a BLM advocate, much less an Antifa subversive. He was “the embodiment of Southern culture, ‘defender of traditions, poet, gracious host.’” Molly Finn, First Things, May 1993.

But aesthetics are aesthetics, and he wasn’t seein’ it.

And since he was apparently gay, we kind of have to defer to him on such matters.

(That citation above, btw (not blm), is a paste from a 1941 NYT review of the book.)