Monday, September 25, 2006

William Faulkner

William Faulkner was born today September 25, 1897 in Albany Mississippi. A self described "failed poet" who became one of the pillars of 20th century American literature. I have read three of his books; As I lay Dying, Sanctuary and Absalom, Absalom, so I'm far from an expert on his work. His stream of consciousness and point of view narration may seem common today, but were groundbreaking in his time. My favorite example of this comes from As I Lay Dying, Vardaman's Chapter, which through years of patient and protracted study I have managed to memorize: "My mother is a fish." There it is in all it's simple beauty, the whole Vardaman chapter. Sanctuary must have been wildly controversial at the time because even today it still seems kind of seedy. It concerns the kidnap and rape of a college girl by a dysfunctional bootlegger named Popeye. It has been rumored that Faulkner wanted a best seller and knew that the salacious subject matter of Sanctuary would make it sell well. He was right.

1 comment:

Dexter said...

I love the Snopes trilogy (The Hamlet, The Town, The Mansion) as the best introduction to his work after As I Lay...then assault the big ones about the COmpsons saga in Absalom and Sound and Fury...his best.