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.