Saturday, September 25, 2010

William Faulkner: Birthday Boy

Today is Mr. Faulkner's 113th birthday. His novels, mostly set near his home in Oxford, Mississippi tell the story of the early 20th century American South. White, black, rich, poor, smart and not so smart, farm and town. To modern ears they are a tough read.

The Faulkner House Bookstore, around the corner from St. Louis Cathedral, in New Orleans recommends Faulkner's short stories to those unfamiliar with his novels. My favorite collection is the Modern Library's "Selected Short Stories." Many of the themes, characters, and set pieces from the novels had the origin in the shorts.

If you are interested in a true throwback, the University of Virginia taped several lectures and question answer sessions of Faulkner's while he was writer in residence at the university in 1957-58. They may be heard here.



NCJack said...

Do high schools still use "The Sound and the Fury" as their intro to Faulkner? I remember thinking "What the $%@#?& is THIS?" and vowing never to read him again. This is the LAST Faulkner to be read.

Fortunately, someone gave me a copy of "Sartoris", and I was hooked. He needs to be read chronologically so people can figure out, e.g., just who Quentin Compson is and how he got to Harvard, etc.

For an in depth study of status, real and perceived, in a society, Faulkner is still hard to beat.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, Mr. Toad. Rainy weekend here, this link to the UVa lectures will be wonderful indoor activity [after I go to amazon for your recommendation, as well as NCJack's]. Will look forward to the comments posted here today.

Gorilla Bananas said...

Did Colonel Sanders write any novels?

little augury said...

Faulkner's words are part of the mystique and realities about the South-as God is my witness.