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1. Wendell Berry’s example of a man who really knows his place in the Jefferson lecture is the farmer whose horizon doesn’t extend beyond the field behind his barn.

2. That doesn’t apply to Berry himself, but he has hung around his small-town part of Kentucky most of his life.

3. Ron Dreher, who’s a generous and charming man and very far from a fraud, moves around a lot and probably his longing to know his place will remain not fully satisfied. Maybe, Steve suggested, he doesn’t fully come to terms with his longings.

4. Maybe the best book every written by an American on knowing your place is William Alexander Percy’s LANTERNS ON THE LEVEE—an example of partly sublimated gay eros combined with stoic fatalism and aristocratic paternalism producing great art.

5. Percy genuinely loved the homeplace of his family—Greewood, Mississippi. He devoted much of his life to improving that Delta town, giving it a really outstanding public school system and other amazing cultural amenities. He also was particularly attentive to defending the weak and the vulnerable—including or especially the oppressed blacks. He also was all about defending manners and morals.

6. Will Percy spent much of his life as he could traveling in Europe (especially Greece) and to South Sea Islands, where he could be who he was in a different way. He thought of himself as both knowing his place and as basically a lonely tourist in this life. A contradiction. Sure.

7. Was he a Southern Agrarian? He certainly defended the freedom and nobility of that way of life. Was he a fraud? No. Did he fully cone to terms with his restlessness? Well, no, but few do. Was Walker Percy a better thinker? Sure. But maybe not a better man. He would have been nothing without his relationship with the great poet/philosopher Uncle Will.

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