Lancelot (novel)

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First edition
(publ. Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Lancelot is a 1977 novel by the American author Walker Percy. It tells the story of the dejected lawyer Lancelot Lamar, who murders his wife after discovering that he is not the father of her youngest daughter. He ends up in a mental institution, where his story is told through his reflections on his disturbing past. The novel compares the protagonist unfavorably to his namesake, Sir Lancelot, as he experiences a vision of an empty modern American culture which invokes the symbolism of the mythical Wasteland.[1] Lamar's quest to expose this moral emptiness is a transposition of the quest for the Holy Grail; as he witnesses and records the increasing moral depravity of his wife and daughter during the filming of a Hollywood movie, he becomes obsessed with and corrupted by the immorality he seeks to condemn.[1] The novel is replete with Arthurian references, including characters based on Merlin and Percival.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Thompson, Raymond H. (1991). "Walker Percy". In Norris J. Lacy, The New Arthurian Encyclopedia, pp. 356–357. (New York: Garland, 1991). ISBN 0-8240-4377-4.