From the opening words — not of the novel, but of chapter 1, “Loomings” — our narrator has moved fluidly from the present tense of the narration to the past tense of the story being narrated. To put it otherwise, Ishmael is a good storyteller. He often reminds us that he is telling a story, that he is spinning a yarn, and brings us to trust somehow more faithfully in his fiction. “Call me Ishmael,” he says. Because that is not his name? If so, he is being honest about his invention. But what if his name really is Ishmael? In that case he is laying bare the curious fact of all storytelling: even the truth is fictive when recalled. Then again, perhaps he is just asking us to let our guard down, to call him by his first name, to speak informally with him—he’ll do the same with us. (Or perhaps he just wants us to mind our Bible…)

In any case, he tells us to call him Ishmael, and then tells us: “Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.” This is more or less what he tells Captain Peleg when seeking to sail on the Pequod. But notice the frame: some years ago… We are not to mind precisely how long ago, only that time has passed. He highlights his imprecision and tells us to forget about it in the same breath. Fairy tales begin once upon a time, but the imprecision is immediately grounded by narrative, for there was a princess. Ishmael’s tale, on the other hand, is left on loose footing: never mind how long precisely. The effect this has on me is manifold, but two important aspects: (1) I know I both cannot trust Ishmael and have no choice but to trust him (in other words, I know he is telling a story, and a fishing story, no less), and (2) my sense of time is, so long as I am hearing Ishmael’s story, in his hands. When he switches into the present tense to take me through this or that scene, the imprecise span of “some years ago” is reduced to zero. On the other hand, when he describes this-or-that premonition of dangers at sea, the span between now and then lengthens, whereas the span between the moment of the premonition and the moment foreseen is temporarily reduced.

We see a vague, ominous painting (apparently) depicting a whale violently attacking a whaling ship; we hear a biting sermon about Jonah’s catastrophe; we discover that eventually Queequeg will have taken “his last long dive;” and, shortly before we learn of Ahab’s horrific encounter with a certain whale, Ishmael himself says: “It’s ominous, think I. A Coffin my Innkeeper upon landing in my first whaling port; tombstones staring at me in the whalemen’s chapel; and here a gallows! and a pair of prodigious black pots too! Are these last throwing out oblique hints touching Tophet?” (Chapter 15, “Chowder.”)

These and other hints and premonitions are, I think it safe to say, signs of Ishmael’s capability as a storyteller. Let’s just presume for now that he never strays from the truth. Even so, it is impossible to tell a story without selecting what to tell and how to tell it. Some storytellers make these selections more intentionally than others, and some make these selections more skillfully than others, but every story told is a story re-constructed by the imaginative (and most often verbal) act that memory is. Ishmael remembers thinking, “It’s ominous,” but he also makes this memory present: “It’s ominous, think I.” It would be tedious to say, “It’s ominous, I remember thinking,” especially if one were to insert that caveat in every nook and cranny of one’s story. It’s better storytelling to just immerse one’s listeners in the moment being related, to pull them into the story and then push them back outside again, to force them to accept as their own the experience being re-imagined in narration, and then to remind them: you don’t know what’s coming because you weren’t there yet.

But I see something else in the accumulation of foreboding images and associations in the first chunk of Moby Dick. Perhaps Dostoevsky’s maddeningly unreliable narrators and Proust’s Proustiness have gotten too far under my skin, but Ishmael’s present-tense past premonitions tell me what I’ve already suggested: telling a story, even a true one, is inherently fictive, and remembering is only a more immediate form of storytelling.

“Call me Ishmael,” he says, because he’s already someone else.

chowder cravings

James and I will probably always debate the merits of citing Webster or some such place in a piece of writing. I do think that in the right moment it can be useful in making a point. So, as it stands, Herman Melville and Sarah Jessica: 1, James: 0.

A collection of “Extracts” like that which opens Moby Dick cannot be done again. And as a person who loves to read and write about nautical themes, I’ll have to be careful. Opening my senior thesis with a page of bayou-names was well-enough received, wasn’t it?…er

Poking around the OED today, I find:

1. a few entertaining images:

c1330   Arth. & Merl. 1495   He hadde a bodi as a whal.
c1386   Chaucer Summoner’s Tale 222   Me thynketh they been lyk Iovinyan Fat as a whale and walkynge as a swan.
1609   Shakespeare Troilus & Cressida v. v. 23   And there they flie or die, like scaling sculls, Before the belching Whale.
1637   I. Jones & W. Davenant Britannia Triumphans 15   And then on Rock he [sc. the giant] stood to bob for Whale.
1845   C. Darwin Jrnl. (ed. 2) x. 214   A..piece of putrid whales-blubber.

2. that Melville, in addition to collecting his abstracts, created much of the whale vocabulary that we [may] use today.

1851   H. Melville Moby-Dick liv. 269   The ancient whale-cry upon first sighting a whale from the mast-head.
1851   H. Melville Moby-Dick lxxxi. 390   However curious it may seem for an oil-ship to be borrowing oil on the whale-ground.
1851   H. Melville Moby-Dick cv. 512   The far different nature of the whale-hunt.
1851   H. Melville Moby-Dick lxiv. 328   Don’t I always say that to be good, a whale-steak must be tough?

I’ll stop there for now and end with saying that I nearly missed New England after reading Chapter XV, “Chowder.” It is almost dinnertime and so I wonder if it will make any sense to order clam chowder when visiting Boston in July. Beantown natives, is it okay to eat in the summer?
“Oh! sweet friends, hearken to me. It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuits, and salted pork cut up into little flakes! the whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt” (65).


Our Faulkner summer did not take us as far into Faulkner as we had hoped. But! Since we can get away, I think, with attributing that to the anxieties et cetera of moving, it’s worth striking out this year with a new summer reading project. And so: we pursue the white whale.

It’s not yet June, so we don’t need to worry about the finer details just yet, but here are my opening thoughts. Let’s read Moby Dick at whatever pace we find ourselves reading it, and maintain an ongoing dialogue about it here. We don’t need to worry about scheduling, or about figuring out who’s read what by when, etc., but can instead just play it by ear. If we all manage to get through the famous work by summer’s end, hopefully we can extend the conversation out beyond just the end of the book. As with past summers, anything anyone comes across that seems relevant or worth mentioning is fair game, whether criticism or scholarship, pop culture, artwork, social events, or whatever.

We’ve switched up the banner at the top of our page, as well as our site icon, and will soon say a final farewell to last summer’s Faulkner group, and hello to Ishmael. We’ll see what happens!

Faulkner in Color

Before we dig in with a new post on Sanctuary, I’d like to point out this interesting new publication of The Sound and the Fury (though we won’t be reading that famous novel this summer).



This is, it seems, how Faulkner envisioned the text, though one wonders whether he ever imagined single copies of any of his books selling for over three hundred bucks!

Faulkner Interviewed

The writer’s only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one. He has a dream. It anguishes him so much he must get rid of it. He has no peace until then. Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the book written. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is worth any number of old ladies.

This interview is from 1956. I wonder, when we read through it a little, whether we will feel enlightened, bothered, conflicted, bored, curious, or what else. Pick out excerpts that strike you and post them here, highlighting them in that way. (I love his reference to our favorite Ode in the excerpt above.)

We’ve already pointed to some of the Joyce/Faulkner connections we’ve been sensing. (I sensed it in AILD, too — not in the visions of landscape and time’s movement, as in “Emily,” but in the eerily present presentness [like it were in your own ear, though not you] of the inner voices. Novels as brains type of thing. Are we tracing Faulkner moving inward? … Also, Darl’s string of yeses [pp. 254] didn’t exactly help my hearing JJ everywhere, either.) Now, here’s something in this past weekend’s NYT Mag for us to chew on: an adaptation of a new Modern Library intro to Absalom, Absalom!, which begins by invoking the JJ/WF connection, even though it doesn’t pursue it. (The title of the article in print is “The ‘Ulysses’ of Mississipi,” different from the online version.) Here’re two snippets I dug:

“Quentin has gleaned parts of this tale from his father and grandfather, from letters and in-town gossip. This is what Quentin is, we start to see, and what Southerners are or used to be: walking concatenations of stories, drawn or more often inherited from the chaos of the past, and invested here with a special, doom-laden meaning, the nostalgia that borders on nausea — the quality that most truly sets the South apart from other regions, its sheer investment in the meaning of itself. In Quentin this condition has reached the level of pathology.”

“The novel is about even more than that in the end. It attempts something that had never been tried before in the art of fiction, and as far as I know has never been since, not in so pure a form — to dramatize historical consciousness itself, not just human lives but the forest of time in which the whole notion of human life must find its only meaning. Not to have failed completely at such a task is indistinguishable from triumph. The South escaped itself in this book and became universal.”

… This also intertwines with a conversation James, Sarah, and I have started elsewhere, recently, about Souths.

Finished at a table at Pamplona under an umbrella drinking a ginger lemonade yesterday afternoon. I want to go right ahead—I mean, for the jugular—and ask about the final line of AILD. (If you haven’t yet finished the book, or’re planning on reading it sometime, forgive me.) The words are Anse’s, pa’s, come to us in a “Cash” section: “ ‘Meet Mrs Bundren,’ ” he says (261). Anse, now, with his mouthful of new teeth, turns out to have behind our backs married the woman he borrowed the two spades from, the one whose home had been issuing music. (“It’s a comfortable thing, music is” [236].) Is this the sharp tip of the present, what it’s all been leading up to? Where the Bundrens begin all over again? Is this what Anse and the woman were negotiating back there, off stage, when Anse was taking too long? Was this his plan the entire time? I wonder if it matters. Either way: the slow, increasingly mournful, flow of AILD is cut off by an almost—I think this word works—caustic note of replacement. Anse has replaced Addie.

In the “Editor’s Note” to my copy of the book (Vintage International version), Faulkner’s quoted on the writing of AILD:

“I set out deliberately to write a tour-de-force. Before I ever put pen to paper and set down the first words, I knew what the last word would be. Before I began I said, I am going to write a book by which, at a pinch, I can stand or fall if I never touch ink again” (264).

I knew what the last word would be — How? Does he mean Anse’s last words, really? (I don’t think he means “says,” though what do I know.) What to do with this claim of Faulkner’s? Do we think back on AILD, now, and see a single slow march headed for an inevitable end? We obliged to take this frankly cocky Faulkner at his word? Are we meant to feel had, a little, like the whole time Faulkner knew precisely where he was leading us while we plowed our way forward as if free? (Us, and the Bundrens—all of them except Anse, who’s last laugh, here, confirms several of the characters’ sense of the calculation lying beneath his air of dumb lugubriousness. … Or does it? What if Anse has surprised himself? What if this isn’t what he wants at all? Does it matter that Anse’s last laugh is mediated through Cash? That loosen things?) I wonder, too, if it’s Anse, not Faulkner, divinely driving the thing. The way the surprise of his last line’s delivered, it’s almost as if Anse knew, too, before the book even begins, what the last word will be. Faulkner, here, is far more grandiose than Anse, but maybe also closer to him than we think—I wonder if Faulkner’s self-description of AILD’s author also in some ways describes his father character.

But no, we don’t know. For all we know, the woman’s price for two spades was Anse. Anse, I mean, could be, is, I think, being driven no less than the others. But, then, by what?

Reading, you feel inevitability. But it isn’t, I don’t think, the inevitability of preordainment. It’s a different kind of inevitability—almost, I want to call it, the inevitability of our stupidity. (I thought this a few times reading: how, man, we are stupid.) There’s “fixing” Cash’s leg with cement, or crossing Tull’s bridge, anyway. Stupid, stupid, so painfully stupid. It’s angering. So, is it, what, this unreally stupid stubbornness that compels the Bundrens’ forward? (There must be a better way to talk about death wishes.) A pack of Bundrens: this image of about an almost brute march headlong, starting off slow but gaining speed as it rushes on, which brings itself to the end it was all along headed for, plus Faulkner’s cocky god-ish line above—it makes me think of this scene:

And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. (Matt 5: 13, KJV)

Well, has the lord put the devil in the Bundrens? Is it the devil that has them sending themselves straight forward off a cliff? Straight to Jefferson? (The drowned choked mules, feet in the air, stick in me.) What if there’s no lord, or devil, at work at all? Then what makes them move? Because I’m actualy not sure they’ve actually thrown themselves off a cliff at the end; they live on. And if they’ve gotten to where they’ve gotten possessed, in some way, motivated by, like, alien forces within, or at least, by burning human stupidity, still, I’m not sure that their forward motion is as singly headed for the book’s end as your more properly Christian account might have it. Anse himself is multiply single-minded: set on Addie’s wish, set on getting teeth, set on the curse of his sons, set on his own Jovian suffering (My name is Legion, says the man possessed, for we are many [Matt 5:9], a line I think tells you something about the “I” in AILD’s title, too—Addie’s not the only one laying, dying; maybe the Bundrens are many dying as one), and so on. And so there’s really no reason to believe that his actual secret single wish all along was to replace Addie with the woman with the spades and graphophone. It could be arbitrary. “Meet Mrs Bundren”: this last line at once punctures and holds the text’s threads together. It’s like an anchor, almost, or even, like a quilting point. (It’s honestly nearly a punch line, in the spirit of Portnoy’s Complaint.) In a comment, I suggested there’s something about AILD that reminds me of an arrangement of (musical) loops, and I’m thinking of that again, now: the sort of irruption of the last line might mainly just be a way to stop.

Which is not to say that there’s not, and this is weirdly tied up with the pleasure (even humor) of its surprise, awful in it. Anse, or, well, someone, has replaced Addie. One of the first or second things that came to mind, right in the wake of the last line, was just how much this book is a work of mourning. I’d been feeling this throughout, usually most intensely in the “Vardaman” sections (Vardaman, in that way that the scariest kids do, and perhaps on all of our behalves, creates a reality to live in in which his mother’s simply not gone at all, only now a fish). Each character feels and articulates Addie’s loss in particular ways, but then they also, together, literally carrying her around up until the point that they let her go (or, don’t), mourn her. The book’s task is to bury Addie. To handle her absence. Someone might say that replacing her the way she’s replaced in the last line is the mark of mourning well done. Healthily moving on, that sort of thing. But then, for me, the question arises: how haven’t the Bundrens rid themselves of her? Putting aside the hold that Addie’s wish has on Anse (according to Anse), how come it’s so hard for them to let go of her at all? How’ve they incorporated her, her being-gone? Is the hole she leaves really filled up just like that, with a new Mrs Bundren? Does the last line sting like it does because we sense, somehow, Addie’s irreplaceability? Or is it, man, because we sense the opposite—because we sense the fact that she is, in fact, replaceable? What if she wasn’t loved—could she still leave a hole?

I’ll stop here, with replaceability: in a “Cora” section, Cora recounts how she was one day compelled all of the sudden to get down on her knees in front of Addie and pray for her because Addie had spoken of Darl as if he were her Christ. She’d replaced God with Darl, so that now Darl was her cross, her salvation (168). What if replacing Addie like Anse does were just as awful? What other replacements does AILD run on? Addie herself talks about the children she gives Anse as replacements for one another—mainly, of Vardaman as a replacement for “the child I had robbed him of,” (176) which I think means Darl, though I’m not sure (too many secrets). I’m even compelled to think of the ways that proper names surface and are cycled and summoned and invoked over the course of the book (again, mainly by Vardaman) as having something to do with its working out who is replaceable (proper names means singular, irreplaceable entities), and if so, how. As if to list them, Darl, Jewel, Dewey Dell, were to try to keep them present. At least, I’ll stop by saying that my hunch is that AILD is propelled neither by the devil nor the lord nor the masterful powers of Faulkner, Author, but rather by its own mourning. “Meet Mrs Bundren.” This means: behold my new wife, your new mother, your future. But also at the same time: don’t stop feeling who’s she filling in for.


P.S.: I also want to put out there that I’d love to talk out how, on Earth, that coffin symbol (my page 88) emerges. And what it’s doing there.




**Note: The discussion/comment section of Sarah’s terrific post on “A Rose for Emily” will stay open! “A Rose for Emily” is available for download here; if you haven’t read it yet, or have and haven’t yet joined our conversation, know that we’ll remain eager to discuss it throughout the summer and beyond!**

The editors are so kind that they are no doubt right in thinking that nothing I have to say about the affairs of the universe would be interesting. But until they give me opportunity to write about matters that are not-me, the world must go on uninstructed and unreformed, and I can only do my best with the one small subject upon which I am allowed to discourse. (Helen Keller, The World I Live In, preface.)

As I begin As I Lay Dying, I notice the tense. Of course, everyone is tense because Addie Bundren is nearing her last breaths, and many of these characters are probably tense all the time, anyway. More so, though, I notice the present tense, in which so many of the voices are speaking to us. (To us? Is that preposition ‘to’ even relevant for the “speaking” they are doing?) I am only just beginning this absorbing story, but I already feel swept up by the tide of what’s happening. And I do feel it is happening. Cora, who doesn’t strike me as particularly insightful, does slip into an extended description in the past tense when describing “the sweetest thing I ever saw” (351*). Yet I wonder if she isn’t, in the present, romanticizing a just-past moment and already idealizing it from “that was sweet” to “that was the sweetest thing I ever saw.” And of course when Dewey Dell recalls “the first time me and Lafe picked on down the row,” she is, now, recollecting. But I’ll have to continue tracking the tense in which characters speak while the story progresses.

I will say, I feel swept up by it, and I feel that with each page we are moving forward, and time keeps on doing its thing, and as the moments pass we are getting insights into (what’s happening from) the minds of one character or another. If this is true, we can’t see the same moment from the perspectives of more than one character, at least not in the present tense. (Recollection is always possible down the line.)

Take the first section on/with/from Peabody, that interesting old man who made me think to begin this post with that insightful and biting remark from Helen Keller. Notice the way Anse speaks in Peabody’s section: “Hit was jest one thing and then another. [...] That ere corn me and the boys was aiming’ to git up with, and Dewey Dell a-takin’ good keer of her, and folks comin’ in, a-offerin’ to help and sich, till I jest thought…” (369). Earlier, when we hear [via] Tull, Anse sounds more like this: “No man mislikes it more than me. [...] She’ll want to get started right off. [...] It’s far enough to Jefferson at best. [...] She’s a-going. [...] Her mind is set on it” (357). I’ll say, though I am only just beginning this work, that I am already amazing by Faulkner’s ability to tell a story through such a fragmented narrative framework that nevertheless feels so immediately coherent and whole, and that sweeps one up so swiftly. Anse, for example, sounds totally different to Tull’s ears than he does to Peabody, and yet he is so clearly the same person in the same situation. How did Faulkner do that? Anyway, there’s a striking and essential insight here about identity and relationship, but I’d rather read on awhile than suppose just yet what that insight is and how it’s given voice…

Fellow readers, as we begin As I Lay Dying, how do its cadences sound to each of our ears? how do its characters and voices and themes begin to resonate in our respective minds? what translations and transformations and recreations are we each performing and becoming in the act of reading? In a while we’ll have a post in which we can discuss the work as a whole, and surely specific scenes and events and themes can be discussed at greater length and detail once we’ve all finished the novel. In the meantime, why don’t we discuss impressions, conjectures, and so on? Or–as ever–whatever else strikes your fancy and calls, in your view, for discussion. (Who’s read it before? Who’s loving it? Who’s hating it? Who’s confused? Etc., etc., etc….)


[*I am using the Modern Library edition of The Sound and the Fury & As I Lay Dying, hence the high page numbers.]

Greetings from Louisiana! The state that first got Faulkner’s creative juices flowing. He met Sherwood Anderson in New Orleans and did not stop writing after that. Though he first thought he’d be a poet.

To get my thoughts flowing I’ll begin with my experience reading the short story, “A Rose for Emily.” For starters, Josh, James and I read it aloud one night. It was their first time ever reading the story, and we were all struck by different aspects. They made connections with “The Dead,” James Joyce’s famous short story. They noted, as well, the strange role of the narrator. I would like to know other people’s thoughts on the narrator, narrating voice, of the story. He or she (I think she) seems to be an active participant in the story and the town’s history, as well as the activities he/she describes. So we have a nonobjective narrator, thus an untrustworthy or unreliable narrator. Thinking about this, I began to make my own chart of what I thought to be the story’s chronology. More on this in a second.

The narrator often characterizes Emily using nouns not traditionally applied to humans: “a tradition, a duty, and a care” (119), “an idol,” “a tableau” (123). The narrator emphasizes that the town finds her to be a burden but also enjoys seeing her struggle. These sorts of paradoxes seem to reflect one of Faulkner’s main themes in the story — that of the generational clash in the South after the Civil War. The different code of ethics or honor between “General Sartoris’ generation” and “the rising generation” is stark and produces the main tensions of the story (120,122). This is highlighted most interestingly in the detail of Miss Emily and her father being viewed by the town “as a tableau”: their antiqued silhouettes are a sour reminder for the town of its past, a past that saw both grandeur and defeat. Miss Emily embodies both of these characteristics just as the South did after the war. This tableau bit is important to follow, for, as I learned it, Faulkner was inspired by the Keats poem, “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” We will again see a type of tableau in As I Lay Dying, one that can be traced through the details back again to Keats’ poem. This is the most explicit usage of this motif by Faulkner, not surprisingly, as this is one of his earliest works.

I don’t want to go on too long, so I will stop myself there for now. I hope people will share their reactions – any at all, even if it’s just about the grossness of the storyline. Others have been intrigued enough to trace the timeline of the story as it is given in the text. If you find this difficult to do yourself, don’t worry, some have had to use “constraint logic programming” to figure it out. Also, other motifs in “A Rose for Emily” that you can look out for in later works include: dust, watches [ticking], windows, flags, and several others. We’ll identify some of these more as our reading group progresses, and maybe by the end of the summer we’ll have a sense of Faulkner’s use of various motifs throughout his career.

To get in the mood, I first wrote this on a typewriter. One sure-fire way to channel Faulkner. A few notes have been requested on this reading list. Being no Faulknerian, just a big fan, I will do my best.

–”A Rose for Emily” (1930): This early story is Gothic and gross, so I love it. Ms. Emily will remind you of many of Faulkner’s later old maids, namely Rose Coldfield from Absalom, Absalom and Joanna Burden from Light in August. Emily’s house, among other things in the story, is rotting. Need I say more? A perfect start to Faulkner I think. We will get a taste for his macabre tendencies as well as his fictional town, Jefferson, Mississippi, the complex setting of most of his later works.

As I Lay Dying (1930): One of my favorites. Where to begin? Another woman dies (this happens a lot in Faulkner). This time she has a family. Addie Bundren is dead in the coffin made by her son Cash. Honoring her last wish, the family attempts to take her corpse to Jefferson. Only they have a wagon and a flood of biblical proportions to contend with. Each family member has their own motivations for going into the city, even the little one Vardaman, whose “mother is a fish.” Told from multiple perspectives, the story gives voice to a poor illiterate bunch. At the time of publication Faulkner was criticized for placing poor white trash at the center of a high-literary form, the epic. Decide for yourself if that disconnect is problematic.

Sanctuary (1931): Faulkner wrote Sanctuary to make money. It is a racy crime thriller, with lots of booze and sex. Oh la la! Temple Drake, who has the best character name ever, is a rebellious southern belle who gets herself and others into painful, scarring trouble. If it was a fish in As I Lay Dying, it is a corncob in Sanctuary. I’ll stop there.

The Hamlet (1940): Almost ten years later and Faulkner has begun a trilogy. It centers around the Snopes family, residents of Jefferson. In this novel we see the family morph from poor tenant farmers to more powerful and disliked townspeople. A famous (and hilarious) scene involving wild horses is found at the end of the novel; it exists in short story form as “Spotted Horses.” If you want more animals in your Faulkner, I suggest “The Bear” and “Old Man.” The Town and The Mansion follow The Hamlet in the trilogy.

Requiem for a Nun (1951): Reenter: Temple Drake. Scene: Many years later, now with child, Temple reflects on her life. Turns out it was hard. This work is a mixture of play and prose. It is known for one of Faulkner’s most famous lines, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Requiem for a Nun is highly praised and an obvious pairing with Sanctuary.

–”Race at Morning” (1955): I am personally excited because this story features both a buck and a bayou! It is part of Faulkner’s hunting series Big Woods. We will be lucky enough to meet Ike McCaslin, an intriguing reoccurring character.

It should prove to be a great summer of Faulkner reading and I hope many of you will join us and share your comments and thoughts on the stories. Maybe you have your own personal Faulkner stories? Maybe some of you also read the lines “the iron New England dark” while shivering in the iron New England dark? In any case, I look forward to bringing in some criticism (both Hemingway and Baldwin had harsh words for Faulkner, while the Japanese and French adored him) and maybe some audio and video. Faulkner did a lot of Hollywood screenwriting in the 50s and many of his stories were adapted into film. Also, he has a great growly grandfathery voice. His Pulitzer Prize acceptance speech is always a good listen.

For anyone who wants a head start, here’s a PDF of “A Rose for Emily.” Until this summer!

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