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As I Lay Dying
by William Faulkner


To:                ALL                   Date:    10/14
From:   KRWR75A    DALE THOMPSON         Time:     5:56 PM

_As_I_Lay_Dying--any comments? For example who is the woman 
w/ the phonograph at the end of the book? Darl, or someone, 
refers to her as Mrs. Bundren--was she a relative of Mr.    
Bundren or did she only become so by marriage during the    
burial of her predecessor?                                  
                                                            
Any comments about the theme of identity (To fall asleep you
must empty yourself, but first you must be capable of       
realizing the possibility of being empty... My mother,      
not-mother is a fish.)?                                     
                                                            
Dale                                                        


===============   Reply    1 of Note   41 =================

 
To: KRWR75A DALE THOMPSON Date: 10/14 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 10:43 PM AS I LAY DYING. . . . . . .Welcome, Dale. It's been a long time since anyone chatted up Faulkner in these parts. Glad you brought the subject up. On the other hand it seems a heavy undertaking to talk about the subject of identity in connection with AS I LAY DYING. The entire book dwells on this. However, your question immediately brings Dr. Peabody to mind. Remember? He was the obese physician who had to be pulled up the hill with a rope in order to treat--or attempt to treat (she was already too far gone)--Addie at the Bundren "residence." Vardaman, he of the famous fish chapter, blamed Dr. Peabody for his mother's death because the doctor's visits coincided with her decline and demise from his point of view. Dr. Peabody made a statement in the book that is one of the most thought provoking for me concerning identity in the context of his observations about death: "I can remember how when I was young I believed death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind--and that of the minds of the ones who suffer the bereavement." I believe him to be saying that our identity is defined by other minds around us and that dying is therefore by definition a disconnection of our own mind from the minds of others. Our identity is communal in other words. The book hammers this thought home time after time. Another example is Addie's own observations concerning her unvirginity and her children. In part they defined her. The books tracks the disconnection of their minds from hers during the process of dying as Dr. Peabody defines it. Is this your favorite Faulkner piece? Or do you have to do a paper? I like it a good deal, of course, but the big three for me are ABSALOM, ABSALOM!, SANCTUARY, and LIGHT IN AUGUST. On the other hand there is so much enjoyable reading to be found in the less acclaimed books, too, an example being THE UNVANQUISHED, another of my favorites. That's the way it looks to me here amidst the flyover states anyway. How's it look from around the Great Salt Lake? The Consigliere 10/14/95 9:37PM CT =============== Reply 2 of Note 41 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 10/15 From: KRWR75A DALE THOMPSON Time: 5:26 PM Steve, Thanks for you comments. Identity as communal is a scary thought--especially for hermits. I suppose the extension of this is that we are only completely dead when no one thinks of us anymore. (But what if we continue to think of them?) Or at least think of us as a person, not as a slippery fish, horse, etc. I am too old for school and read AS I LAY DYING for pleasure, recalling it was someone's favorite Faulkner. Of the books you listed I think I have read only ABSALOM, ABSALOM!, will have to do the rest. I read some of Faulkner's short fiction in college without any special connection but was totally blown away by THE SOUND AND THE FURY, read on a camping trip years ago by flashlight sitting in the car to get away from moths. I had the same experience as reading Virginia Woolf or T.S. Eliot's poetry--that though I could not immediately construct a plot line, I felt I understood what I was reading on an intuitive level. (I suppose this what is supposed to happen when the stream of consciousness technique is successful.) But what about the end of AS I LAY DYING? The last chapter was quite funny (for example Peabody's commentary on that bunged up Jesus, poor old Cash), but I wasn't sure what to think of Mrs. Bundren II. Any thoughts, The Consigliere? (By the way, what does this mean? Sounds like a corporate body of Italian ecclesiasticals.) The Great Salt Lake, by the way, is out of sight and out of mind for most of us here (except when the wind smells like a toilet). Its definitive function is mainly a metaphoric center for the Basin and Range landscape of Utah and Nevada, high desert with no outlet to the ocean. The city might have been named for its more prominent geographical features, the Wasatch Range. You'll find hundreds of business, streets, etc. in the phone books referring to the mountains and canyons; few referring to what is for many but a source of brine shrimp (aka "sea monkeys") and cessation of waste. The Sea Monkey =============== Reply 3 of Note 41 =================  
To: KRWR75A DALE THOMPSON Date: 10/15 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 11:41 PM AS I LAY DYING. . . . . .I'm too old for school, too, Dale, but I can say thank goodness you discovered THE SOUND AND THE FURY the way you did as opposed to having it forced upon you in come curriculum. In a time and place far away, I was an English major and utterly detested Faulkner. Every nickel-dime Twentieth Century American Literature anthology course included THE SOUND AND THE FURY. In my youthful "wisdom" (read arrogance), I considered it to be one of the grandest examples of exhibitionism by an author. All technique and style, no content. Never read another thing by Faulkner until I was forty years old. I can't recall what happened, but I determined to give him a very, very serious go. And I did. Luckily, I happened upon a very famous book put together in the late forties by a brilliant man named Malcolm Cowley called THE PORTABLE FAULKNER. It has excerpts from various pieces as well as a wonderfully enlightening introduction. For the first time I started to get a grasp of what the man had attempted and how far he had succeeded. It was breath-taking. (Getting downright gushy for an old goof, aren't I?) I then proceeded to read all the Yoknapatawpha County books, some twice, and several others. Became an utter Faulkner Freak. Visited Oxford to see his home and to personally ponder the Confederate Solder Facing South in the square. I'm running off at the mouth here. Let me get back to the point. AS I LAY DYING is funny as the dickens, especially on the second read. I agree totally about the last chapter. Addie is finally buried--finally dead--and before he has left town, Anse has come up with a new Mrs. Bundren. Female company is obviously an essential commodity for him. To change gears just a bit, Darl is an intriguing and difficult character for me. He appears to be able to perceive the thoughts and motivations of others by telepathy. Maybe that is why he must be sent to the asylum--for everyone else's piece of mind. When I read this again, I am going to concentrate on his parts. Another thing that is very interesting about this book--and very disconcerting at first--is the absence of the omniscient narrator of more traditional literature. There is no voice of the author explaining what is going on. This is something that we expect, but we don't get. I was delighted with you comment about reading the more difficult Faulkner stuff intuitively. That's my theory as to how it should be done to a tee. And again, the more of him you read the easier it becomes. But therein lies the major drawback for the casual reader. I don't see how anyone can truly appreciate this man's work without getting neck deep in it--no--submerging one's self in it. But if one chooses to make the effort, the rewards are fabulous. Why don't you take a break from the really tough stuff before wading into one of the big three and try a secondary work. Again, I must mention THE UNVANQUISHED--a truly entertaining and very accessible Civil War story and one that will introduce you to the infamous Snopes clan. The Consigliere 10/15/95 10:21PM CT By the way, as to the nickname, just rent THE GODFATHER and pay attention to the Robert Duval character. You will see a masterful concigliere in action. =============== Reply 4 of Note 41 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 10/16 From: KRWR75A DALE THOMPSON Time: 11:17 PM The Consigliere, Cowley's PORTABLE FAULKNER was my next-most-recent read of Faulkner. I was in Industrial Security training & tried to share Faulkner's insights on the subject a la the story about the padlock on the leather mail bags (same story as covers the little jail?), but no one was impressed. W/ your expert advice I will do THE UNVANQUISHED next. What do you think of THE SOUND & FURY now? I sort of thought all of Faulkner's books were set in Yoknapatawpha County. Which are, or which aren't? I agree w/ your implication that Darl in AS I LAY DYING perhaps oversteps bounds, subbing for a more-if-not-om- niscient narrator (that little lie we accept in most narrators that they always know a little more than they should & are a lot more articulate than they pretend), while the other voices are more like sidebars. (I like Cash, ticking away like a line and plumb pendulum, always trying to that damn load balanced.) Of course Catch 22 applies to Darl. Since he has the broadest comprehension of the Bundren family, he has to be nuts. By the way, I recall Duvall as General Counsel in THE GODFATHER, quite politic. (I'm sure he was supposed to be related to Michael, perhaps even a brother, but he seemed, with his Nordic looks, an outsider, as if the Godfather would take a referral from the state bar association.) What is the root of "Consigliere"--is it akin to diplomacy? Dale =============== Reply 5 of Note 41 =================  
To: KRWR75A DALE THOMPSON Date: 10/17 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 1:18 AM Dale, Since the consigliere has decided that he, like the Don himself, needs to have a lot of buffers, I'll answer for him.... Tom Hagen was indeed an outsider, adopted by the Corleones. So basically, he's one of the brothers. I think he was Irish. about that word--consigliere-- >>> consigliere consigliere (noun) plural consiglieri. An adviser or counselor, especially to a capo or leader of an organized crime syndicate.[Italian, from Latin consili rius, from consilium, advice.] The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition copyright 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from InfoSoft International, Inc. All rights reserved. >>> Special note to the consigliere: I just found out that the word is apparently pronounced in four syllables (which I knew) and that its final syllable contains a "short" e sound. The plural is pronounced with the "long" e. Just thought that we consiglieri should know that. After all, the old days are gone.... --Diamond J. P. =============== Reply 6 of Note 41 =================  
To: KRWR75A DALE THOMPSON Date: 10/17 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 1:18 AM Dale, You should also know that I'm a Faulkner nut too. THE SOUND AND THE FURY is my favorite of his. Closely followed by LIGHT IN AUGUST and AS I LAY DYING and (a little farther behind) ABSALOM, ABSALOM! For a new and different twist on Faulknerian language as applied to nature and the cosmos in general (as opposed to the inner reaches of the mind), don't neglect the world of Cormac McCarthy. --DJP =============== Reply 7 of Note 41 =================  
To: KRWR75A DALE THOMPSON Date: 10/17 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 2:22 AM Goddamn! I am so happy to have someone with whom to talk about this stuff. Okay. Non-Yoknatapatawpha Stuff: 1. SOLDIER'S PAY 2. MOSQUITOES 3. IDYLL IN THE DESERT (find that one if you can) 4. PYLON 5. A FABLE Now, having said that, don't bother to read a one of these. Really. The "secondary works" (my term) that I love are THE UNVANQUISHED and INTRUDER IN THE DUST. Furthermore, let me get cocky and tell you that you also will love these two. For sure. Good stuff. If you like these, then at some point you will have to dip into "The Snopes Trilogy"--THE HAMLET, THE TOWN, and THE MANSION. If you are like me, the word "Trilogy" makes your skin crawl. Usually, it implies someone saying in three books what they could have said in one. I cite John Dos Passos, for example. However, in this case not so. And if you determine to undertake these, you will make the acquaintance of the sexiest woman in American literature. Guaranteed. What do I think of THE SOUND AND THE FURY now? I think it was a revolutionary book. I think it was a ground breaker. But I also think it does not hold a candle to ABSALOM, ABSALOM! I just can't wait for you to read that and let me know your observations on it. If you detest it, tell me. I've nothing if I don't have an open mind. But for me that book was a mind blower. Read it three times. You stay with this program and we'll meet in Oxford next summer for a walk around and a few civilized toddies. The Consigliere 10/17/95 1:01AM CT =============== Reply 8 of Note 41 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 10/17 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 2:45 AM RE: The Consigliere. . . . . Couldn't have said it better myself, Marty. Thank you. The Consigliere 10/17/95 1:41AM CT =============== Reply 9 of Note 41 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 10/17 From: KRWR75A DALE THOMPSON Time: 9:50 PM Marty, Thanks for the much appreciated etymology & Tom Hagen bio. (You must have a good memory.) I have indeed read & much enjoyed SUTTREE. Speaking of dictionaries, I couldn't believe how many unfamiliar words McCarthy trundled out in a single page. ("Truncheon?" I kept saying. "Isn't that a wheelbarrow?") I guess the junkyard job predates the auto detailing in PULP FICTION. What in your opinion is McCarthy's best? --Dale =============== Reply 10 of Note 41 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 10/17 From: KRWR75A DALE THOMPSON Time: 9:51 PM The Consigliere, You know, ABSALOM, ABSALOM! is one I've read but 15 years ago. I enjoyed it but alas don't recall a single thing about it right now. (SOUND & FURY's plot is better in my mind for my having since seen the movie.) I do remember David's cry from the Genesis story. Was ABSALOM about the Colonel who hewed his destiny with his bare hands? Was this where that caravan of freed slaves appears (or is that somewhere in the short fiction)? The Colonel must have had a disappointing, intellectual/sensitive, liberal, or otherwise repudiating son somewhere along the way like (Compton?) in SOUND & FURY, Darl in AS I LAY DYING, & so many sons in American literature. Are we beating on the stern impassioned stress of Pilgrims and Pioneers (& southern slaveholders), myths of independent self-reliance, or what? (I suppose this must be a somewhat universal theme--e.g. Stephen Daedalus--art becoming part of an artist's attempt to atone for, resolve, his feeling of alienation from surrounding culture?) How would you describe the impact of ABSALOM, ABSALOM? Dale =============== Reply 11 of Note 41 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 10/17 From: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Time: 9:57 PM Steve, Don't forget GO DOWN, MOSES, which in my personal Faulkner list, comes right behind ABSALOM, ABSALOM and THE SOUND AND THE FURY. Actually, TSATF is numero uno in my list. Hard to rate the books, they are all so good. You are right about the lesser books. I have never been able to get into them, especially THE FABLE. I read AS I LAY DYING so long ago, my ranking may be off. Ditto LIGHT IN AUGUST. I have a sister who lives in Oxford, so someday perhaps we can all visit and spend some time with the southern-facing soldier, followed by a visit to Square Books. Felix Miller (http://pages.prodigy.com/TN/mountaineer/ursus.html) 10/17/95 9:52PM ET =============== Reply 12 of Note 41 =================  
To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 10/17 From: YHJK89A CATHERINE HILL Time: 11:50 PM I guess I should put in a plug here for the new book Bill Cobb read from right after Dale's excellent reading. I'm going to have to read HARRY REUNITED, because his rebellious character in that seems to express just what I feel about all this Southern angst. (Remember, I've LIVED with this stuff - first generation after the CW and all that.) This cat's signature for his pranks expresses it perfectly - "Everybody in Noonak dead." I've been thinking about it all day. The phrase is explained as having come from a B movie (or possibly a C movie, from the way it sounds) - the scene where the explorers sitting around the campfire sit alert and stare at the native scout ("in a kind of g-string made out of feathers") who has just rushed in to intone, "Ugh. Everybody in Noonak dead." - all without any explanation of where or what Noonak might be or why the state of the inhabitants should bother anybody. That just says it all - Everybody in Noonak dead. Cathy =============== Reply 13 of Note 41 =================  
To: KRWR75A DALE THOMPSON Date: 10/18 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 0:49 AM Dale, McCarthy's best is generally thought to be BLOOD MERIDIAN. It's an apocalyptic pilgrimage through the American west in the 1840s or thereabouts. Reads like a nightmare on acid. By the way, check out my web page...at the address below. --Marty in Memphis (http://pages.prodigy.com/TN/dctw04a/cormac1.html) 10/17/95 11:27PM CT =============== Reply 14 of Note 41 =================  
To: KRWR75A DALE THOMPSON Date: 10/18 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 0:49 AM Dale, TS&TF is revolutionary and amazing. And the folks that story's concerned with are Compsons--you were close. A,A! does indeed deal with Thomas Sutpen, who hewed his own destiny with his bare hands...almost Faulkner's exact words. A great book, but one that's seriously flawed (IMHO) by the fact that it's overlong. It's absolutely flawless until the middle, when it starts to get a bit shrill, and it never recovers. (I noticed this on second reading--the first time, the book blew me away--parts of it still do.) The book's main impact/influence is (I think) that it deals seriously with history and the perspective in telling same. The book as such is also about the whole narrative form; its style is absolutely essential to its theme. And the characters in there are indelible, and they and their presentation have influenced everybody who's written since Faulkner. He's one of those writers who have become part of our conscience--especially in the South. --Marty in Memphis (http://pages.prodigy.com/TN/dctw04a/cormac1.html) 10/17/95 11:35PM CT =============== Reply 15 of Note 41 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 10/18 From: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Time: 1:54 AM Steve - I agree TSATF is a "grand example of exhibitionism." And a good thing that it is exhibitionism by a master (could have been disastrous by a lesser light, no?) I read TSATF for the first time in high school, and probably because it's such a show-case, I had one of those wonderful, revelatory experiences one can only have before age 20. I had been gulping books down whole, so to speak, for years, and TSATF was truly the first book that made me realize novels were actually something created (rather than manna arriving from heaven, I guess). Anyway, I think the same things that bothered you about this book in college (at superior age and wisdom) are what still make it very special for me. =============== Reply 16 of Note 41 =================  
To: KRWR75A DALE THOMPSON Date: 10/21 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 5:58 PM THE UNVANQUISHED. . . Dale, this is the one with the caravan of freed slaves in it. And it is one of my favorites of the lesser stuff. Will get back to you on your other question. Life is so darned hectic right now. Glad we sucked Diamond Jim Priola into this discussion. And I am just as happy to seel good ole Theresa Simpson chime in. I shall return. The Consigliere 10/21/95 4:53PM CT =============== Reply 17 of Note 41 =================  
To: KRWR75A DALE THOMPSON Date: 10/26 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 11:58 PM ABSALOM, ABSALOM!. . . . . .Dale, I promised that I would get back to you concerning this book, and I have finally found a bit of time to do so. I don't exactly know the precise meaning of your question about the impact of the book. I really only know about its impact on me. However, it continues to astound me that this book is so ignored. I would substitute it for THE SOUND AND THE FURY in every one of those basic Twentieth Century American Literature courses in a New York minute. Even though it was not the last of the Yoknapatawpha County books by any means, it surely looks like the high point for Faulkner to me. It is in this book that he included that hand drawn map of the county that graphically summarized the books that had preceded it. He also included a genealogy and a chronology as if he were really trying to bring it all together. Even if this were just the story of Thomas Sutpen, the man with the great vision of the grandest of Southern plantations whose dream is destroyed through the agency of the son he fathered with a black wife in Haiti whom he then promptly abandoned, it would be wonderful. But to hear the story in part from the viewpoint of the incredibly complex Rosa Caulfield, who is by no means just a narrator, and to have Quentin Compson brought back one more time for his ultimate demise makes this book a blockbuster in my opinion. A heck of a story told as artistically, if I can use that word, as any story has ever been told. You know, its interesting that this book came out the same year as GONE WITH THE WIND. The one book, a breezy fairy tale really, takes the country--nay, the world--by storm; the other, an incredibly textured examination of the deepest darkest parts of the American heart (one is tempted to say the deepest darkest parts of the Southern heart, but that sells it short) hardly makes a ripple in the public consciousness. This book has a great number of meaningful things to say about race relations in this country, and it bears study today. I believe that as surely as I believe the sun will rise in the east in the morning. It addresses the issue, for one example, of the mixture of the races to the point they all look alike. It addresses the truly gutty issues of just how the races will live together if that is truly what we are about. Having noted Felix's comments about GO DOWN, MOSES, literally a history of the South, I will go out on a limb here and say that LIGHT IN AUGUST, ABSALOM, ABSALOM!, and GO DOWN, MOSES are the three best Faulkner books, principally because they tackle head on the difficulty that still may do us in as a nation--race relations. But they take it on to our enlightenment. And they also happen to be tremendous works of art. I would put THE SOUND AND THE FURY in the second tier. I really, really would. The Consigliere 10/26/95 10:46PM CT =============== Reply 18 of Note 41 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 10/28 From: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Time: 1:20 PM Steve, After reading your note to Dale on the supremacy of ABSALOM, ABSALOM!, I want to register a minor dissent. AA is a great book, and certainly covers the wide-angle view of southern history and the dark stain of slavery and race. TS&TF gives a narrow-focus look at the same themes, and to my mind, gains in intensity thereby. The very restriction of the scale of the book forces a much deeper look at family and its influence on the members-tragic and utterly destructive. I am partial to books that examine the workings of family and the relationship that our childhoods have on the kind of people we become. TS&TF tackles each of the major Faulknerian themes, the violation of the Indians' harmonic use of the land and the enslaving of human beings to work that land. Faulkner only explicitly brings up the Indian connection in the Appendix. Somewhere Faulkner described the writing of TS&TF as a succession of experiments with points of view, ending with the direct voice of the author in the Appendix. The Appendix supplies the historical framework for the Compson family, including the adventurer-gambler who exchanged a racehorse for a square mile of land from Ikemotubbe, a Chickasaw chief. The last sight of Caddy is also in the Appendix, with a wonderful scene between the librarian and Dilsey, to whom the librarian has brought a clipping showing Caddy in occupied Europe with a German officer. And it is Dilsey, finally, who knits together all the elements of the book, so much a foundation and a explication of the book's tragedy that in the Appendix, Faulkner needs only one line for her and her people: "They endured." Which is also the closing line of the book. Across the years covered by the book, Dilsey provides the one point of love and decency that the wretched Compson children have. Not the egocentric parents, lost in self-absorbed melodramas, their children conscripted actors with no voice in their roles or their destinies. Just Dilsey. The contrast between the "aristocratic" Compsons and the nobility of Dilsey is a powerful and personal commentary on the tragedy of race and southern society. Having said that, I will say that your judgement of AA is shared by quite a few people, in and out of academic circles. I have a running discussion with a good friend of mine on just this point. He is strong for AA, and I for TS&TF. Sometimes disagreeing about matters bookish is as much fun as agreeing. From the mountain, where I just finished THE SHINING, SHINING PATH. Two thumbs up! Felix Miller (http://pages.prodigy.com/TN/mountaineer/ursus.html) 10/28/95 1:22PM ET =============== Reply 19 of Note 41 =================  
To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 10/28 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 3:58 PM You guys have had such a good discussion going here, that I've resolved to go back and try Faulkner again. I read "As I Lay Dying" when I was in college and have very little memory of what was in it except that it was difficult. Ruth, putting Faulkner in her TBR folder. =============== Reply 20 of Note 41 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 10/31 From: KRWR75A DALE THOMPSON Time: 7:51 PM Steve, Thank you for your comments. I am now 1/4 thru Light in August, will get back to your later on that. Dale =============== Reply 21 of Note 41 =================  
To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 10/31 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 9:50 PM THE SOUND AND THE FURY. . . . . . Felix, if your opening remarks had been made with regard to GO DOWN, MOSES, I would have given them a hearty "Hear! Hear!" E'en so, I certainly concede that THE SOUND AND THE FURY is a remarkable and very original work. And of course, differences in opinion are what makes horse races. Your pal. 10/31/95 8:34PM CT =============== Reply 22 of Note 41 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 10/31 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 9:50 PM Ruthie, may I humbly suggest that the particular Faulkner book you should put in your TBR folder first is THE PORTABLE FAULKNER, edited by Malcom Cowley. There is a nice little Viking Portable Library edition available that would be perfect for your clutch bag, your purse, your backpack, your portfolio, your briefcase, your suitcase, your trunk. . . or your house, for that matter. Your pal. 10/31/95 8:40PM CT ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ To: ALL Date: 08/30 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 0:16 AM --AS I LAY DYING, by William Faulkner Well, I couldn't wait for somebody else to join me, so I just forged ahead on this one. In between Cormac McCarthy essays (Example: "McCarthy's Snot Symbolism: Disgusting Sinus Yuck, or, Glistening Globules of Eternity?") I'm picking my way up and down the Natchez trace, or some god-forsaken Mississippi trail, with the inimitable, indominatible and unforgettable Bundren family and their ever-ripening cargo of human remains. As most of you already know this is a remarkable book. How I could have gone so many years, being so ignorant of Faulkner's writing is an ever increasing source of embarrassment. What really floors me, however, is not so much that 'The Sound and the Fury' is so extraordinary, or that 'Sanctuary' is so well and darkly crafted, or that the story and characterizations of 'As I Lay Dying' are as seamlessly constructed as ancient stonework -- all of which are true, of course. No, what jumps up and gives me a virtual intellectual concussion, is the fact that these brilliant and stylistically very diverse novels were published in a span of TWO YEARS, by a man who was approximately 32-34 years of age. It's as if Faulker only needed to conceive a stylistic approach to a novel to execute that approach with genius. No computers. No Korrect- Type. Just scribble, scribble, scribble! Another brilliant book, eh, Mr. Faulkner? (to paraphrase, I believe, the Duke of Glocester). This guy is simply too much. It's like Mozart with a yellow pad. The only problem is, you guys have me mainlining so much incredibly good stuff, my taste for trash is getting harder to satisfy. I spent hours in the bookstore today and finally wandered off with a 'Time Magazine' -- just couldn't find a cheap, soggy mystery that looked good, or a sci-fi tale that sounded tantalizing. I'm afraid you all may have infected me with, and I know this will be hard to believe, but here goes: good taste. There. I said it. Dick in Alaska, back to the books; I gotta help get Addie across that damn river =============== Reply 1 of Note 68 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 08/31 From: KKPC10A STEVAN ALLEN Time: 0:26 AM Bingo. I've always been somewhat intimidated by Faulkner. The story about how he always wanted his books published in six or so different colors of ink to distinguish time frames and characters' interior monologues sounded like a ton of work. But As I Lay Dying easily gripped me. His command of language is amazing. I actually am surfing this section, not in search of artful literature, by the way, but for recommendations of good, solid, compelling political thrillers (fiction, although there is plenty of non-fiction!) Any suggestions? Stevan at kkpc10a. Thanks. =============== Reply 2 of Note 68 =================  
To: KKPC10A STEVAN ALLEN Date: 08/31 From: YHJK89A CATHERINE HILL Time: 0:56 AM You're welcome to do more than surf!! Alas, my age shows here, but I still think a political thriller people should read just for the sake of the ideas is SEVEN DAYS IN MAY. A late '60s book, certainly, but the points are more than well taken. Cathy =============== Reply 3 of Note 68 =================  
To: KKPC10A STEVAN ALLEN Date: 08/31 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 10:57 AM Stevan: There are all the obvious choices -- the Tom Clanceys, etc., which can be interesting but aren't what I would call "good, solid political thrillers". How about Robert Penn Warren's "All the King's Men"? Some of Graham Greene's earlier stuff was awfully good -- 'The Third Man' and 'The Quiet American' come to mind. And more recently, 'The Honorary Counsel'. All strong stories with Greene's typical difficult moral issues running through them. In a somewhat different vein, I also liked Forsythe's 'The Dogs of War', although that's more action oriented than political. It's hard to think of good choices in this category -- when you can read a biography of Churchill or DeGaulle or Stalin, it's hard to come up with fiction that really is equivalent. Dick in Alaska =============== Reply 4 of Note 68 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 08/31 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 1:01 PM Dick, I hope to join you in more Faulkner. When I read him in college (which included TSAF and DYING) I didn't like him at all. Couldn't figure it out. Now I don't worry about figuring it out, just go along for the ride and it figures itself out. Anyway TSAF left me with a taste for more. Unfortunately our local library is very low on Faulkner. (Why am I not surprised?) Ruth =============== Reply 5 of Note 68 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 08/31 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 5:30 PM Dick, just back from the library. Just as I suspected, no AS I LAY DYING. Guess I'll have to order it from the bookstore. Ruth =============== Reply 6 of Note 68 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 08/31 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 8:39 PM Ruth: Sounds like your library is suffering from the same malady as our own -- lack of books. We built a beautiful new central facility in 1982-1984 with some of that infamous oil money, and as was the case with many of our local projects, cost over-runs were enormous. I recall going to a Chamber of Commerce lunch during that time, where one of the city fathers (we had no city mothers in those days) explained that the latest, $7 million cost increase was no problem at all for the local business community, since they had simply 'borrowed' the money ear-marked for new acquisitions. Aside from Crown Book-level best sellers, I don't think they've ever waivered from that initial conviction that books were the least significant item in the library budget. Don't you have privileges at the university, though? I would have thought a college town (o.k., a college suburb) would have some advantages in that regard. Anyway, I'd love to hear from you on 'As I Lay Dying'. This is one gail's 'life interruptors' for me; and talk about deceptively simple -- just a little cracker-box of a book, but with so much going on. Dick in Alaska, where the library rest rooms are extraordinarily nice, and unlike the library itself, are quite functional =============== Reply 7 of Note 68 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 08/31 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 8:54 PM Dick, Our library was recently added on to and refurbished. It is in a lovely old moorish/spanish building and the new work (unlike a lot new additions to old buildings) blends seamlessly with the old. Leaded glass windows, golden oak tables etc, and a wonderful conservatory with gray-green slate floor, oriental rugs, wicker chairs and big windows looking out on an enclosed garden. It is a joy to be there. BUT, the collection sucks. It is since I joined CR and got such an extensive TBR list, that I realized how truly bad it is. When I first came to town I was merely incensed that they kept all the beautiful art books, along with things like (I kid you not) Gray's Anatomy, in a locked cage. Recently I have started a list of things that I cannot believe they are without. Next time I get into a tilting at windmills mood I plan to take them on. Ruth At least it's good for my friend Donna and her bookstore. It's an ill wind that blows no etceteras. =============== Reply 8 of Note 68 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 08/31 From: UPDQ58A PEGGY RAMSEY Time: 10:47 PM Ruth & Dick The Michigan library sytem has an interloan program that never ceases to blow me away. If my own, tiny little library doesn't have something, I can tap into their computer, locate it at any other state library, and have it sent to the local branch, usually within a couple days. And it's free! Of course, that didn't save me from having to buy a copy of SUTTREE... Peggy =============== Reply 9 of Note 68 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 09/01 From: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Time: 1:25 PM Sir Richard & All: In doing research for a magazine article, I just ran across this quote about Faulkner and his literary lineage that offers some food for thought. It's by David Kirby, from an essay in the Virginia Quarterly Review about the difficulty of analyzing the lives and achievements of major writers... *** The problem is compounded when the figure under scrutiny lived in the last century, a time when records were scarcer, photographs cruder, and descriptions couched in an English often foreign to contemporary ears. With a figure as inscrutable as Melville, the problem of understanding becomes almost insurmountable. He had achieved fame with his early, fact-based writings; startled the literary world with MOBY DICK, and then followed that masterpiece with the highly idiosyncratic PIERRE, a book so strange that one newspaper ran the headline "Herman Melville Crazy." In the end, of course, he produced a body of work that permanently altered the consciousness of a culture. For one thing, through his own eccentricity and that of his characters, Melville predicted better than any writer of his time the ambiguities of the 20th Century, thereby paving the way for such writers as William Faulkner. In WILLIAM FAULKNER AND SOUTHERN HISTORY, Joel Williamson notes that Faulkner's greatest books, such as THE SOUND AND THE FURY and LIGHT IN AUGUST, were about people who had lost their grasp of their racial or sexual identity. The novelist himself had a nature as protean as Melville's and, like Melville, he was as capable of a crippling inconsistency as he was of a range and depth that gave his work immense power. Williamson notes that Faulkner took every conceivable position on civil rights for African-Americans, from unstinting support to callous dismissal. Here I'm reminded of what William Pritchard says in his essay on T.S. Eliot in THE COLUMBIA HISTORY OF AMERICAN POETRY, that "It may even be the case that a great writer's power is commensurate with his power to offend," for inconsistency of character is double-edged. On the one hand, a protean nature puts the writer in touch with so great a variety of feelings and ideas that it can only be viewed as useful; on the other hand, it leads to the kinds of mistakes that constant, steady people are unlikely to make. Yet the curious thing about Faulkner is that, as Williamson notes, "none of his books had ever been met by a flood of rave reviews and an eager market." Instead, his celebrity status, his growing reputation in intellectual circles, and the awards and honors he had received (rather than the actual books he had written) turned him into a "Great Writer." Thus, when a book like THE FABLE appeared late in life, the public didn't really know what to do with an author whose work they had never read in the first place... *** Interesting, huh? Comments welcome, >>Dale, back to the grindstone in Ala. =============== Reply 10 of Note 68 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 09/01 From: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Time: 5:36 PM Interesting that in all the reading I've done about Tolstoy in the last year, the exact same personality traits are described. He took a hundred different approaches to life and, in the midst of each one, believed in it without hesitation. When he was younger, these changes could occur from one day to the next with equal fervor. Henri Troyat, the author of the bio that I've been reading of Tolstoy says, "he did not know that...it was his very flaws and inconsistencies that would later enable him to embrace the attitudes and inconsistencies of each of his characters in turn with equal sincerity, or that his diversity as a man would be the foundation for his universality as a writer." I'm not sure of Troyat's validity as a literary critic, but Tolstoy's changeable and often conflicting nature seems pretty well documented. Do you think this is a common quality of great writers? Barb =============== Reply 11 of Note 68 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 09/01 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 8:46 PM Dale: I bought that Williamson book awhile back, and it's very good. It does nothing to endear you to Faulkner, however. He was a first-class son-of-a-bitch, over and above his career as an abusive drunk. Should have locked him and Henry Fonda up in the same Skinner Box for about six months; maybe the survivor would have learned some human decency. But the boy could write, and that's a fact. As long as I don't have to have him over to dinner, everything'll be fine. Dick in Alaska, where he doesn't write so good, but is a heck of a nice guy =============== Reply 1 of Note 4 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 09/02 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 0:18 AM Dick in Alaska writes posts pretty good and is a heck of a nice guy. Ruth =============== Reply 2 of Note 4 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 09/02 From: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Time: 10:33 AM Dick: Ditto, on my non-desire for Faulkner as houseguest. Looking back on bios I've read, I'm hard-pressed to think of a literary great I'd want to socialize with. The possible exception as a dinner companion, as Sara Sauers (Divina, where art thou?) has pointed out here, is Henry Fielding. But even that one's iffy, I guess. BTW, two fascinating books I've run across in researching my magazine series on depression... TOUCHED WITH FIRE: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, by Kay Redfield Jamison THE THIRSTY MUSE, by Tom Dardis Both are chock full of thought-provoking quotes and observations; in TOUCHED WITH FIRE, French poet Antonin Artaud--who spent several years of his life in psychiatric hospitals--is quoted as saying, "No one ever wrote, or painted, or sculpted, or invented, except quite literally to get out of hell." >>Dale, laboring on Labor Day in rainy and cooler Ala. =============== Reply 3 of Note 4 =================  
To: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Date: 09/02 From: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Time: 10:36 AM Hi, Barbara: I think contradiction is definitely a thread that runs through most great literature--and by extension through the lives of the people such as Tolstoy who write it. Whoever applied the word "protean" chose well, I'd say. Isn't there an old saying about enlightenment (or wisdom, or something) being "the ability to hold in mind simultaneously two opposite ideas"? And considering that the writer works by free-associating almost manically at the level of pure intuition and nerve, outside the constraints of what William Styron calls "the mediating intellect," it's no surprise that consistency isn't their hallmark and some of the ideas that result are pretty scary and troubling. An editor once told Flannery O'Connor that she could be much more productive with her writing if she could learn to do a rough outline of her thoughts before she began. She replied in exasperation, "But how can I know what I think till I see what I've said?" I can't help but believe that so many good writers have been wretched and doomed human beings because that contrary, stir-em-up way of looking at reality is a genetic curse/blessing that can't be switched off when they get up from the keyboard, or quill, or whatever. Then, too, there's the idea that the greatest truths--spiritual and otherwise--are contradictory at their hearts: the Christian "He who shall give up his life for my sake shall save it," ad infinitum, the Buddhist concept that reality is a flame that's at once being stoked and extinguished, etc. So it makes sense that trying to get our mind around big truths is inevitably going to lead to unsolvable contradiction. I came across a quote this week from Henry James Sr. (it turns out that the whole James family carried the genetic tendency to severe manic-depressive illness, which I hadn't known) who said: "The natural inheritance of everyone who is capable of spiritual life is an unsubdued forest where the wolf howls and the obscene bird of night chatters." A comforting thought, what? >>Dale, ducking the obscene bird of night, in Ala. =============== Reply 4 of Note 4 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 09/02 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 11:48 AM Gosh, Dale, you don't seem tortued enough to be a writer. Shouldn't you be working on some substance and relationship abuse problems, kind of in public, to improve your chances of hitting the literary big-time? Dick in Alaska, abusing the coffee this morning =============== Reply 5 of Note 4 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 09/02 From: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Time: 11:59 AM Dick: My grandma taught me it's not polite to let one's inner demons out in public; that's what family's for. Thank goodness I have the outlet of microwaving puppies in between Prodigy sessions to settle my nerves. And the medication helps some, too. >>Dale, grinning but only partially in cloudy and gloomy Ala. =============== Reply 6 of Note 4 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 09/02 From: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Time: 2:04 PM I think it's overstating the case to claim that no one ever created art except to escape from hell. A lot of non-creative people are nuts. A lot of creative people are nuts, as well, and their mental instabilities become incorporated into their work, just as whatever is stable and healthy would also become incorporated. Art just allows them to glamorize their demons. Isn't there a term for making incorrect connections between two congruent, but unconnected occurences? Theresa =============== Reply 7 of Note 4 =================  
To: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Date: 09/02 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 2:52 PM Theresa: I know in science, statistics particularly, they try to pound into you that "correlation does not indicate causation". There's one famous example they use regarding the high correlation between the growth in church membership (or something like that) and convictions for public drunkeness during the late 19th century -- very high correlation (or R squared as they say in that business), and hence you could reason that churchgoing caused drunkeness (or vice versa). The teacher then reveals that the causal factor for these trends is really just general population growth. Dick in Alaska, where he's heard a few preachers that could drive you to drink, regardless of population size =============== Reply 8 of Note 4 =================  
To: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Date: 09/02 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 4:36 PM Theresa, I think you are absolutely right. I do get tired of the artist-as-injured-genius perception. The only reason I can see for a tad more trouble people (perhaps) in the arts, is that the arts are much more accepting of things like this. Nobody wants his banker or pilot to have a drinking problem, but with say, an author or painter, we look the other way and murmur about "a troubled genius". Besides, nobody ever writes about the artists/writers, etc. with perfectly normal lives (which means, of course, the normal share of traumas, etc.) That's just not interesting reading. Ruth, happily married artist/writer in suburbia =============== Reply 9 of Note 4 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 09/03 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 6:15 PM Okay, Dick,wait for me. Puff, puff. I got it. AS I LAY DYING. Plan to start forthwith. Ruth, hop-skipping behind you =============== Reply 10 of Note 4 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 09/03 From: TQWX67A ANN DAVEY Time: 7:08 PM Dale, I enjoyed Jamison's TOUCHED WITH FIRE very much, particularly the chapter on Lord Byron. I have also read her personal memoir, AN UNQUIET MIND, A MEMOIR OF MOOD AND MADNESS. This details her own personal struggle with manic depression and it much more readable than TOUCHED WITH FIRE. Jamison, a psychologist and expert in the field of manic depression, has always loved literature and would fit in very well here one CR. After resisting taking medication for many years, she finally reached the conclusion that the alternative to lithium was self-destruction. Unfortunately, the lithium dosage was so high that for many years she found herself unable to concentrate well enough to read adult books. She resorted to rereading the books she had loved as a child. Eventually, her medication was adjusted so her concentration improved, but the tradeoff was that she must cope with more mood swings. What exactly are you researching? If you are interested in the effects of manic depression on artists, there are some very interesting interviews with Kaye Gibbons in the book PARTING THE CURTAINS by Dannye Romine Powell. Gibbons rides the highs of her mild manic states to write. There is also an interesting interview with William Styron, who, as you know, had a life threatening bout of depression. I would love to have a copy of the article you are working on when it is finished. Ann =============== Reply 11 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/03 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 9:41 PM Ruth: m'dear, I'm just lazin' along. Time and more time, that's what we've got here.... Dick in Alaska, still trying to translate Marty's paper on 'The Outer Dark' from the original machine language =============== Reply 12 of Note 4 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 09/04 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 1:36 AM Well Dick, I've spent the evening with the Bundren clan and wrestled that coffin acrost the river. But before I go any further with these hapless adventurers I have a question for you. What do you make of the italics business? Sometimes I wonder if it's a change of speaker, sometimes I wonder if it's a change of time, sometimes it doesn't seem to be either. Or am I missing some clues here. Ruth =============== Reply 13 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/04 From: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Time: 6:34 AM My copy of THE SOUND AND THE FURY had some italics in it, but that edition was the one that made such a big deal about using the original language so I thought each italics was an indication of that. However, the key in the back never corresponded to the italics, so my thoughts were probably wrong there. As I got into the book, I started ignoring all of the little things because it took me out of the flow. I had the same reaction to looking up all of the words that I didn't know in SUTTREE (and, therefore, not following McCarthy's intentions if one of Marty's theories about all those words is correct.) Barb =============== Reply 14 of Note 4 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 09/04 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 8:25 AM My goodness, Dick, you ARE indomitable! Launched right into AS I LAY DYING, I see here. Good for you. Of the Big Six Faulkner books (and I won't bore everyone by listing them once again), I think AS I LAY DYING stands alone the best. By that I mean one does not have to have read two or three others of his books to make the most sense of this one. The technique used here is every bit as interesting to me as that used in THE SOUND AND THE FURY. There is absolutely no omniscient author present whatsoever. Did you notice that? The book relies strictly the multiple voices of the various characters. And again the basic organizing principle of chronology is also totally missing. In FAULKNER AT THE UNIVERSITY, which Felix called my attention to some time ago, Faulkner said, "The fact that I have moved my characters around in time successfully, at least in my own estimation, proves to me my own theory that time is a fluid condition which has no existence except in the momentary avatars of individual people. There is no such thing as WAS--only IS. If WAS existed, there would be no grief or sorrow." Ponder that one a bit, Richard. So you're on your way to Jefferson to get Anse his new teeth and a new wife; Dewey Dell her abortion; Cash his gramophone; Vardaman a bannana and a view of a toy train; and send Darl off to the insane asylum in Jackson. Only Jewel seems really focused on the ostensible purpose of the trek. And the funny thing is that we never actually see the burial of Addie. That is not portrayed. Interesting. Also, interesting--and haunting--to me is that deal about boring the holes into the coffin and into Addie's face. Whew! Why does that stick with me, I wonder? The fat old Doc, Peabody, is a quite a character, too. He made one remark that riveted me: "I can remember how when I was young I believed death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind--and that of the minds of the ones who suffer the bereavement." Pretty trenchant remark, that one, I think. The implication is in part that we exist only in the minds of others. But I could be wrong. In any event I am delighted that you have undertaken this one. Hope we can do LIGHT IN AUGUST together some time in the near future. Your pal. =============== Reply 15 of Note 4 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 09/04 From: SCYV62A TERESA HESS Time: 10:17 AM Dick, I have an audiotape of Faulkner reading from AS I LAY DYING that I would be most happy to send if you're interested. It also includes his Nobel prize acceptance speech and some excerpts from A FABLE and THE BEAR. I think you'll be surprised when you hear his voice -- IMHO, it doesn't jive at all with my mental image. I have great memories of listening to this tape while driving from Charleston to Beaufort, South Carolina in the driving rain. Spanish moss dripping from the live oaks...a virtual curtain of green (in Eudora Welty's parlance)...mists rising from the surrounding forest. I wouldn't have been at all surprised to see the Bundrens and that coffin around the next bend. Teresa, who once spent six months of her life reading nothing but Faulkner =============== Reply 16 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/04 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 11:02 AM Ruth: If'n your acrost the river, then nary a woman can say you didn't do your durndest. Lord knows what you've had to carry. I do. But now your acrost and can fetch 'er home. Gee, even faking that kind of language is hard work. Kind of like patting your head, rubbing your stomach, and writing all at the same time. Anyway, about those italics. I thought they were the character's inner thoughts and were italicized to distinguish them from the regular dialogue as well as from the narrator's point of view. Now that you mention time dislocation, though I can see that's a possiblity too. Now you have me confused. Have to go back and take a look. But that Bundren family -- what a strange, despicable, admirable crew. And poor little Vardaman. Do you think he's simple or just an ignorant little boy whose momma has died? There sure wasn't any significant beauty or sweetness in their lives, and what little there was gets devoured by Anse. I read that book in stretches, and would emerge from a session like I was bursting out of deep water, lungs burning, and gasping for air -- flooded with relief that I was educated and healthy and had possibilities and wasn't locked in the desperate despair of the Bundren's life. Dick in Alaska headed for the golf course in the sun =============== Reply 17 of Note 4 =================  
To: SCYV62A TERESA HESS Date: 09/04 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 11:09 AM Theresa: I would be delighted if you wold lend me the Faulkner tape -- thanks for the offer. As you can tell, I'm kind of smitten with this writer right now. Dick in Alaska, who has come late to the Church of Faulkner, but is making up for lost time with devoutness =============== Reply 18 of Note 4 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 09/04 From: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 1:46 PM Steve: I got old Addie buried, and have met the new Mrs. Bundren. This is indeed quite a book. I have never run into a sorrier, needier character than old Anse. And yet his family and neighbors have made a career out of caring for his worthless carcass. One of the essays I read on this book last week focused in on the economic/sociological issues reflected in 'As I Lay Dying' -- characterizing it as the 'last great novel written in the Roaring 20's [1929] and the first novel published in the Great Depression [1930]'. The essayist then went on to write that the south had BEEN in a depression for decades and that the issues of collectivism and Biblical economics (so-called 'sacred economics' -- I liked that phrase) were already well advanced in the south of the 1929, and were in many respects precursors of the national experience of 1930-1938. Interesting that Faulkner nee the Bundren family chose to name the youngest boy Vardaman after (I presume, anyway) James K. Vardaman, Mississippi's answer to Huey Long. They may have been unsophisticated country louts and bigots, but by God they knew who their friends were. Dick in Alaska, where it was darned chilly this morning =============== Reply 19 of Note 4 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 09/04 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 1:56 PM Dick, I think Barbara's on the right track with the italics thing. What edition do you have? I have t he Vintage International. There's a note in the front that says that it follows the text as corrected in 1985. Corrected by whom it doesn't say. (It also says it is Faulkner's ribbon-setting copy. What the heck is that?) Anyway, I can find no explanation for the italics except that on the second title page, under AS I LAY DYING, the words "The Corrected Text" appear in italics. I think that's our answer. Those are the corrections. So we can go ahead and ignore the fact that they're italics. Ruth, closing in on the finale =============== Reply 20 of Note 4 =================  
To: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Date: 09/04 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 2:01 PM Barbara, I think you've got it. Nice to know I can stop puzzling over the italics and just go with the flow. I'm loving this book. Strange that I have no recollection what ever of reading it when I was in college in 1955, except I know I did. I can see myself, in my funky old dorm room at USC, right across the hall from the elevator that usually didn't work, sitting there, nestled among a bunch of clothes I didn't hang up, with my feet on the bed, reading a library copy of AS I LAY DYING, and thinking "what the #^%$^ is going on?" I hated it. Thank my lucky teakettles for CR, forcing me back to Faulkner. Ruth, who read McCarthy like you did, no stops for visits to the dictionary. =============== Reply 21 of Note 4 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 09/04 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 2:05 PM Steve, I love this book, and I loved TSAF. I'm so glad CR forced me to reread Faulkner. (See my note to Barb). One question has been rolling around in my beady little brain ever since I started it though. It is so beautifully written. I particularly love the descriptive passages, so lyrical and image-laden. And such insights, like the mediation between "was" and "is", etc. If these are the thoughts of these sine qua non Beverly-hillbillies, where did they get this vocabulary? It may be picking a few nits, but it does make me conscious of the author behind everything, pulling the strings, like the Wizard of Oz. Ruth, celebrating your return to these august halls =============== Reply 22 of Note 4 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 09/04 From: SCYV62A TERESA HESS Time: 3:01 PM I'll send the tape post haste, Dick. You might want to forward it to Ruth once you're finished. Teresa...the one without an "H" =============== Reply 23 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/04 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 3:03 PM Guys, It's generally accepted that those italics (and especially the italics in THE SOUND AND THE FURY) were Faulkner's way of letting the reader he was changing time, place, or perspective. They were in the original books, and are not just part of the "corrected text," which was prepared, by the way, by Joseph Blotner and Noel Polk (two of the most eminent Faulkner scholars). --IDJP =============== Reply 24 of Note 4 =================  
To: SCYV62A TERESA HESS Date: 09/04 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 6:28 PM Yes, Theresa, I'd love to hear the tape. Thanks for offering it. Ruth =============== Reply 25 of Note 4 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 09/04 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 6:30 PM Thanks, Marty, for clearing that up. But now I DO have to worry about 'em. Sigh...... Ruth, within a few pages of the end =============== Reply 26 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/05 From: YHJK89A CATHERINE HILL Time: 0:47 AM Regarding the condition of the South before the general Depression, I still urge everyone who can find a copy at least to leaf through Edwin Mims's seminal THE ADVANCING SOUTH. This was published in 1935 and covers the progress and lack thereof of the South since the Civil War. I don't remember any references to Faulkner in the work, but then again the good doctor's focus was leading the South forward. His descriptions of agricultural, industrial, academic, and religious problems would give you a good idea of where those Bundrens came from. Cathy =============== Reply 27 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/05 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 8:36 AM So delighted that you are enjoying the book, Ruth. I am even more delighted with this little discussion of it, which has raised again many, many of the very same questions that have given rise to so much discussion of--and writing about--the book in the past. First, is Vardaman an idiot--another Benjy? Faulkner insisted that he was not. And actually this makes the best sense. It is Vardaman that asks all of the most profound questions about death. How can a corpse that obviously IS also be thought of as WAS? What does the void left by the death of the mother mean for Vardaman's own identity, which has been defined to a great extent in the past by the existence of his mother? Second, you have a lot of company in your puzzlement concerning the eloquence of the voices of these hillbillies. How does one square the poetic language and great vocaubulary with the characters that make use of them? Yet it is clearly the characters speaking and not some omniscient author. It is as if at times the voices are totally disembodied--don't belong to anyone. I think that this is one of the great novels about the questions posed by death. (This is made doubly interesting because the whole premise of the thing is quite comic.) The whole idea of a "self" is explored in the context of a rotting corpse and the reaction of other members of the family to that rotting corpse. The idea of the bodily integrity of the self is challenged. This whole difficulty is pounded into us continually for example with the "was" and "is" thing and the "she" and "it" thing. And it is pounded into us even more so by the fact that Addie's monologue occurs well into the novel--days after her death. I think that this book is appealing to the poet in you, Ruth, because it really is a long prose poem and not a novel in the sense we usually use that term. Your pal. =============== Reply 28 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/05 From: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Time: 9:29 AM Ruth and Theresa: I think the Artaud quote about all creative endeavor being an escape from hell is, like most good ones, a serious overstatement with a large kernel of truth at its center. (Isn't that the definition for quotable? Seems to be...) I don't know of anyone who maintains that all writers and artists are mentally ill, or that everyone who's mentally ill is a creative genius. But a great deal of very serious and thorough scientific research shows a staggeringly high correlation between art, writing, and severe depressive or manic-depressive illness. Various studies have found that poets and fiction writers suffer from these disorders at a rate of 10 to 30 times the average population. And a study of poets whose books were featured in the New York Times Book Review between 1960 and 1990 found the writers had a suicide rate of 18 percent. Flukes, maybe, but I doubt it. Kay Redfield Jamisons' book TOUCHED WITH FIRE is a great introduction to the subject... >>Dale in Ala. =============== Reply 29 of Note 4 =================  
To: TQWX67A ANN DAVEY Date: 09/05 From: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Time: 9:31 AM Hi, Ann: I agree, Kay Redfield Jamison's TOUCHED WITH FIRE was a bit dry and scholarly in spots but the overall premise was fascinating, I think. The section on Byron really stood out for me, too. I'd heard about the memoir on her own illness, UNQUIET MIND, and want to read it but it'll have to wait until I get a few more deadlines out of the way. I just turned in my magazine piece on depression to the editor today; it will run in a November issue, and I'll be glad to send you a photocopy. Styron was one of the people I interviewed. The story of his illness is heavy stuff, and DARKNESS VISIBLE is one of the strongest pieces of nonfiction writing I've seen in a while. >>Dale in Ala. =============== Reply 30 of Note 4 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 09/05 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 10:45 PM Steve, An interesting prespective on Faulkner from one of my friends and fellow McCarthy critics, Peter Josyph. I'll begin by saying that I think he's generally dead wrong about Faulkner's prose here, but the quote is a good one. It's from his essay entitled "Blood Music: Reading BLOOD MERIDIAN" that's to be found in SACRED VIOLENCE: A reader's companion to Cormac McCarthy (ed. by Wade Hall and Rick Wallach). "It's easy to say that out of a strong sense of self and of his fathers--among the famous we can best hear, or imagine we hear, Melville, Twain, Conrad, Crane, Joyce, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Faulkner, not to mention his greater great- grandfathers, the King James Biblicans and the prelectors of BEOWULF--McCarthy has forged a voice that is truly original; but what this misses is that in some respects McCarthy does not *need* to be original. We are all thieves in the night. The difference between *derived* and *derivative* is the difference between escaping and getting caught. Much that he does McCarthy can get away with for one reason: he has genius. How can ALL THE PRETTY HORSES sound so much like Hemingway without consigning McCarthy to his legions of pretenders? The answer is that in ALL THE PRETTY HORSES McCarthy *is*, in a sense, Hemingway: he is what Hemingway might have been had he lived to be Cormac McCarthy and write that book. Reread a chapter of Faulkner's ABSALOM, ABSALOM! if you want to refresh your memory of how completely he could fail at the kind of challenge for the absence of which he once, in a remark he later retracted, ranked Hemingway fifth, not first, among the best of his contemporaries. Listening to ABSALOM, ABSALOM!--I have just heard the entire book--only makes its failings more apparent, the most egregious being the fact that its prose is abominable. Any Mississippian would have been shot in three minutes for its run-on-forever orations, and if Faulkner's folk elude the prose police, it is only because everyone else in the book's Jefferson County talks as madly and maddeningly. *** And now, just to let Josyph make HIS point, which I do agree with, he can finish his paragraph: What my experiment on the language of BLOOD MERIDIAN [reading the entire book, from cover to cover, aloud] demonstrated is that it does not *sound* forced, *sound* strained, *sound* indulgent; it sounds beautiful, profoundly so, because the book is not an *attempt* at epic prose, it is the *achievement* of epic prose, which, as with those crustier, ancienter epics, is best read on the tongue. *** Also, remember that Vardaman is supposed to be very young...about four years old, when this book takes place. AS I LAY DYING is really a wonderful book; it amazes me that Faulkner would even CLAIM to have written it in six weeks on the back of a wheelbarrow while working nights in a factory--and without ever changing a word. --The Irrepressible DJP 9/5/96 9:33PM CT =============== Reply 31 of Note 4 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 09/06 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 2:17 AM I never felt that Vardamon was a Benjy, Steve. I just thought he was a mixed-up ignorant kid. Maybe a little weird, but not an idiot by any means. And who wouldn't be a little weird, growin up in that family? Which Faulkner do you recommend next? I'm not ready to abandon this discussion yet, but my appetite has been whetted. Ruth, who often gets herself in a tight =============== Reply 32 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/06 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 1:10 PM Ruth & Marty: I certainly didn't realize Vardaman was as young as 4 -- that really makes his part of the story heartbreaking. Dick in Alaska where the morning hike is now through knee high fields of kindergardeners, making their earnest little ways to school =============== Reply 33 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/10 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 2:10 PM If you serious, Ruth, about another Faulkner at this point--and I'm going to assume that you are--I really think that LIGHT IN AUGUST is the perfect next read. I note below that Richard has been reading it on his road trip. This is one hell of a book. Good story. Not so many experimental narrative flourishes. Interesting sex. A crime of passion. A good old fashioned love story mixed in. Interesting, interesting characters--most notably, Joe Christmas, a classic Faulkner figure. I'd be willing to read it a third time along with you if you are game. I think I can do that as well as knock off SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS in time to participate in some of the discussion of that one. Your old pal. =============== Reply 34 of Note 4 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 09/10 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 2:48 PM You're on, Steve. I'm off to the library tomorrow, although knowing how thin our library collection of Faulkner is (can you believe it? I would think they would have ALL of Faulkner) I'll probably end up at the bookstore again. Oh, well, I always like a chance to visit with Donna. (Who's going to carry my latest, BTW). Ruth,who's glad to see you around. You been mighty scarse of late =============== Reply 35 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/11 From: YHJK89A CATHERINE HILL Time: 1:12 AM If you're short on Faulkner out your way, Ruth, you can always take consolation in the fact that the University of California has the largest collection of John Buchan's works in the entire world. Naturally, this overseas website quoted to me didn't bother to say WHICH University of California or what branch. Still, it's nice to know you've got a lot of something fairly arcane. Cathy =============== Reply 36 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/11 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 10:23 AM Well, yes. I know I have been scarce. But things to go, places to meet, and people to do, you know. I have been off on a Continental Novel jaunt recently and am very nearly finished with THE CHARTERHOUSE OF PARMA by Stendhal. This was a book adamantly recommended to me by Vicki Karno's husband, The Judge, when I was in New Orleans last year. I must say, it is very entertaining. I had read THE RED AND THE BLACK by Stendhal a couple of times but had never read anything else by him. The Judge was right on this one. Not so sure it isn't better than THE RED AND THE BLACK, which is the standard college fare. Actually, LIGHT IN AUGUST would probably be the Faulkner that the library would have. Nonetheless, if you are reduced to dealing with Donna once again, see if she has the Vintage International paperback edition. I like these paperback editions of Faulkner, and we will then also have the same page numbers. Cool, huh? This is another one of those "corrected texts." I don't know if we ever established what a "ribbon setting copy" is. That is the basis for this text. I do know that Faulkner routinely initially wrote his books in long hand, and then immediately typed the text (with carbons) from his handwritten manuscript, which nobody else could really read. These are what these Publisher's Notes refer to as the holographic manuscript and the carbon typescript, to which the "ribbon setting copy" was compared. But what exactly the "ribbon setting copy" is, I still don't know. Maybe it is the original of the typescript copy. But then why would one want to compare that to a carbon? And then again, do any of us really care? Too, too arcane. [Hold on a minute. I need some more coffee. . .] * * * [There. That's better. I sure hope somebody has the sense to throw the coffee grinder and a pack of beans into my coffin with me.] Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, when you read this book, you are going to make the acquaintance of a really important character in American literature, Joe Christmas. This is a total outcast from society who does not know whether he is white or black and as a consequence does not know who he is at all. There develops this bizarre and violent sexual relationship between him and a spinster named Joanna Bundren, which winds up with a ring-ding ending. This is all framed by a sweet little love story involving Lena, a young unmarried pregnant gal who has taken off on foot from Alabama to find the child's father, and a hard-working young man named Byron Bunch. Also, you will meet Faulkner's lawyer, Gavin Stevens, who appears in many of his books, as well as a host of other classic Faulkner characters. So I'm hoping you'll enjoy it. Let's see what Richard has to say when he returns. Your pal. =============== Reply 37 of Note 4 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 09/11 From: WSRF10B SHERRY KELLER Time: 5:57 PM Dear Steve and Ruth, I just went out and bought LIGHT IN AUGUST. So I'd love to join the festivitites. Steve, I read ROUGE ET NOIR years ago and really enjoyed it, but have yet to read CHARTERHOUSE. I wonder, if I decided to do nothing else whatsoever except eat and sleep (and CR, of course) could I actually read all the books on my TBR pile (mental as well as physical). I have my doubts. Sherry hyperventilating with so many books, so many books =============== Reply 38 of Note 4 =================  
To: WSRF10B SHERRY KELLER Date: 09/11 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 8:43 PM I started The Red and the Black lo these many years ago. But it was one I just couldn't get into at the time. Maybe it's a sleeper, like Faulkner, that I should give a second go to. Don't have LIA yet, but plan a run downtown tomorrow. I may just buy it anyway. I think Donna has the edition you recommended. Anyway, that's what she had for AILD. Ruth, in Redlands where we had a big, scary brushfire 2 days ago, just down the road apiece from me =============== Reply 39 of Note 4 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 09/12 From: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Time: 6:39 PM Interesting about THE CHARTERHOUSE OF PARMA, Steve. Following my recurring obsession with Tolstoy, Stendhal is one of the few writers that T continually cited as a huge influence on his writing and didn't seem to ever criticize. With that in my head, I've toyed with the idea of reading him at some point. Do you think Parma is the one to read? I think I read THE RED AND THE BLACK in college, but that doesn't really count as reading it since I have no memory of it and, if I did, my impressions would probably be very different from today's. Barb =============== Reply 40 of Note 4 =================  
To: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Date: 09/16 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 11:21 AM That's a good question, Barb. Actually, there are only three novels by Stendhal. The third--something called ARMANCE (his first)--I don't think anyone has really read. I suspect that Tolstoy was more enamored with Stendhal's non-fiction. Take a look at an encyclopedia article about him. In any event I don't know what to tell you about whether to read THE RED AND THE BLACK or THE CHARTERHOUSE OF PARMA. Both are eqally good. Personally, I found the latter more entertaining, but that is probably just the result of personal idiosyncracy. The main characters in CHARTERHOUSE are Fabrizio, a handsome, young, devil-may-care rogue, and his aunt Gina, a Duchessa, who is just a bit older than he and is in love with him. The setting is nothern Italy just after the battle of Waterloo. We are in the principality of Parma where the court of the absolute prince is rife with factions, each seeking the upper hand over the others. The Duchessa engages in all sorts of intrigue not only to save Fabrizio from execution after he kills the lover of a young lady for whom he is quite hot but also to obtain his advancement as an Archbishop. There is lots of action, and the plot includes a harrowing escape from the Prince's fortress prison by Fabrizio, all engineered by the Duchessa. Loads of fun. Just to refresh your recollection of THE RED AND THE BLACK, which I have read twice, you will recall that it deals with a hero named Julien Sorel, a brilliant young man of humble birth who is ambitious. The setting is France, again just after Waterloo. The only two available careers for an ambitious young man of no means and no blue blood are the priesthood and the army. Julien had become educated under the tutelage of a cure, who took him under his wing. This cure gets him a position as tutor to a rich merchant's children. He has trouble keeping his pants zipped up (figuratively speaking, of course, because I don't think the zipper had been invented yet) and promptly seduces the merchant's wife. The cure then sends him off to a seminary after this scandal hits the papers. Then he is off to Paris where he promptly seduces a young debutante there. I mean, the guy just can't keep it together. Ends up being tried for murder and is guillotined. So I would say I guess THE CHARTERHOUSE OF PARMA is a preferable read. Both male protagonists have a serious hormone problem, but Fabrizio manages to survive his with the help of a good and loyal woman. Much the more satisfying plot. Your pal. =============== Reply 41 of Note 4 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 09/16 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 2:29 PM While further pondering THE RED AND THE BLACK and THE CHARTERHOUSE OF PARMA, Barb, it has occured to me that there is a very interesting parallel between these two books. In the former both of Julien's lovers, the young and beautiful Mathilde and Madame de Renal, work their tails off to save him from execution. (This is rendered doubly extraordinary because Madame de Renal is the one he shot--it was ATTEMPTED murder I should have said in the previous note.) In the latter both the Duchessa and a young and beautiful little gal named Clelia, whom Fabrizio debauches AFTER he gets out of prison, also work their tails off to get him out of the fortress prison before he is poisoned or hung or offed in some other nasty way. In neither case do the male heroes, Fabrizio nor Julien, really cooperate whole-heartedly in their own rescue. Both seem bent on their own death. And in both cases two women, a younger one and an older one, do their best to save these young screw-ups in spite of themselves. I don't know precisely what that means, but it seems significant to me. I think maybe I'll put together a series of little pamphlets on the classics called STEVE'S NOTES. They will have garish chartreuse and puce covers (my old high school colors). Given the teeming hordes of young college students who deperately wish to avoid actually reading these books, it seems to me that there is plenty of room in the marketplace for CLIFF'S NOTES, MONARCH NOTES, and STEVE'S NOTES. And I think I can penetrate this market by using, say, a more contemporary idiom in running down these plots. I know I will have made it when the core lit. professor at Ohio State finds a reference to Julien Sorel's zipper in three different final exams written by three different acne plagued young men who all wear "No Fear" teeshirts and identical Nike high tops but are otherwise unacquainted.Then we'll all go to Acapulco on me, drink pina coladas, smoke big black cigars, bugaloo into the night, and generally raise hell. Your pal. =============== Reply 42 of Note 4 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 09/16 From: TQWX67A ANN DAVEY Time: 6:01 PM Ah, Steve, your notes are so good you really should be getting paid for this, you know. I think this STEVE'S NOTES for the classics could really fly. We are starting ADAM BEDE on the Classics Corner this week, in case you have any George Elliot NOTES to contribute. BTW, a few of us read THE RED AND THE BLACK on CC last year. It's extreme cynicism seemed quite modern to me. It's style is very different from that of Tolstoy. I don't want to give away the plot to Barb, but the ending, when Matilde had her final reunion (so to speak) with Julian, was one of the most gruesome I have ever read. Incidentally, Matilde was so awful I could hardly blame Julian for preferring death. Ann =============== Reply 43 of Note 4 =================  
To: TQWX67A ANN DAVEY Date: 09/16 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 11:46 PM It is a very cynical novel, Ann. Astute observation. In fact I think it would be fair to say that cynicism was Stendhal's stock and trade. CHARTERHOUSE OF PARMA was every bit as much so, particularly with the constant sarcastic asides contrasting the Italians with the French, very much at French expense. But overall, it was written in a much more light-hearted vein, which may be a better way to articulate why I preferred it. I don't yet have a WILD MAN'S NOTES on ADAM BEDE prepared because I have not. . .ah. . .er. . .read ADAM BEDE yet. (Of course that sort of thing never gave Cliff pause, did it?) I do have WILD MAN'S NOTES on ANNA KARENINA all ready for the publisher though. Perhaps I shall post them here in the near future as a kind of test run. Oh, and Ann, please feel completely free to send the old Wild Man a check any time the spirit moves you. He is a heavy tipper and any little stipend will certainly go toward a worthy cause, I assure you. Your pal. =============== Reply 44 of Note 4 =================  
To: TQWX67A ANN DAVEY Date: 09/16 From: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Time: 11:47 PM I read The Red and the Black long ago. Remember naught. I read about one-quarter of Charterhouse last summer. Can't remember why I stopped. Fabrizio's adventures on the battlefield with Napoleon were hilarious. Theresa =============== Reply 45 of Note 4 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 09/17 From: BHBA40A MIKE TALBERT Time: 0:27 AM Dale it hasd been too long since I have seen you incisive writing. I personally think AS I LAY ius a Faulkner commen6tary on Moby Dick =============== Reply 46 of Note 4 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 09/17 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 11:01 AM So back to LIGHT IN AUGUST for a bit. First of all, it has occurred to me what a neat progression we have made from SANCTUARY to LIGHT IN AUGUST with THE SOUND AND THE FURY and Addie Bundren thrown in for good measure. We have moved from Temple Drake on to Joanna Burden, and we have moved on from Popeye to Joe Christmas. As far as Joanna is concerned, I do think Faulkner chickened out a bit. There is no reason that she had to be a Northerner, a woman of "Abolitionist" stock, other than one. Can you imagine the reaction that would have arisen among some of his Southern contemporaries had he portrayed her as a representative of Southern womanhood? As I say, I think he chickened out here, and probably with good reason. Remember those strange references to Popeye as black? Now we have Joe Christmas who is admittedly black. But then again, is he? This is one of the two questions that intrigue me the most about LIGHT IN AUGUST. Faulkner could easily have made Joe Christmas unambiguously a black man. No problem. But there is no way this is the same book if he had done so. Instead, we have a man who thinks maybe he's black based upon some vague hearsay of hearsay about his father, but also, a man who passes back and forth between racial identities. Why? One thing this does, it seems to me, is to bring to the forefront the issue of miscegenation, the utterly absurd "one drop" rule, and the whole question of racial identity as it has been treated in our history. It was an absolutely brilliant stroke, but I am still struggling with why it is so brilliant and all of the ramification it has for this book as a whole, even as I read it for the third time. The second question I have about the book is with regard to the structure of the thing. It really is difficult to see the relationship between the story of Joe and the story of Lena Grove and Byron Bunch. The only overt connection between their story and Joe's that I can find is when Lena makes that bizarre statement about getting confused sometimes and thinking that the man in jail, "Mr. Christmas," is the father of her own child. It is even difficult, though a bit less so, to see the relationship between the story of Joe and the story of Hightower. (And you know something? It is even difficult to see the relationship between Joe's story and that of Joanna Burden, now that I think about it. It is as if they simply collide.) Why not three novels instead of one: the Joe Christmas novel, the Hightower novel, and the Lena/Byron novel? Yet I cannot imagine this. There is something about the simultaneous unraveling of all these stories that makes this book what it is. Have to give this more thought. In any event it has been a delight to finally have some folks with whom to discuss these novels. This is the first time I have had the benefit of that since I first became entangled with these books. And how cool it would be to participate in a seminar on the literature of race in America and read NATIVE SON by Richard Wright and THE INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison back to back with LIGHT IN AUGUST and ABSALOM, ABSALOM! and then discuss them in the context of each other. Maybe even throw in FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN by James Baldwin and GO DOWN, MOSES. What an interesting thing that could be! But then wouldn't we have to include THE CONFESSIONS OF NAT TURNER? Wouldn't we have to throw in UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. Oh, hell. The thing has gotten to unwieldy already. Your pal. =============== Reply 47 of Note 4 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 09/17 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 12:41 PM Steve: Obviously I have to shake off my post-trip triste and get with the program here. I'll be back later with some "Light in August" under my belt, for sure. Meanwhile, thanks for the help on finding dead people in Iowa. I'll let you know if we actually locate any. Dick in Alaska, who actually witnessed the macarena this weekend, and who believes it should probably be made illegal for anyone over about 35, especially that little wiggly part where you screw yourself into the ground =============== Reply 48 of Note 4 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 09/17 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 7:44 PM Glad you started this discussion, Steve, although we may have to wait for Dick to play catchup. Sherry, are you with us? In all, I would say that I wasn't as intrigued with LIGHT IN AUGUST, as I was with either AS I LAY DYING or THE SOUND AND FURY. It was a good story, or group of stories, as you pointed out, but I'm not going to remember it like I will AILD or TSAF. I think it's because this is the most conventional writing style of the 3 books. (I didn't read SANCTUARY). I loved the language games in AILD and TSAF. LIA does have its moments of poetry though. The whole book was worth it, if for nothing else, for the words which open Chapter 6. "Memory believes before knowing remembers." I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I am sure that it's important. And that I'll tease it around in my mind for a long time, not only for the meaning, but for the music. I, too, was puzzled by how little Faulkner intertwined the separate stories. I began to think that perhaps he wrote without an outline. Started out with Lena, but then found Byron interesting and followed him for a while, then got waylaid by Joe Christmas. I've attempted enough fiction to know a character sometimes has a mind of its own. Faulkner's too good a writer to let this be the sole reason for these almost-separate stories, but there might be a tad of truth here. But you notice he frames the whole thing with Lena, the most passive of all the characters. Strange. Yes, Lena did have the gumption to git up and go hunting her man, but once set in motion, she followed the principal of inertia and just kept on going, as did her mind set. What about these names? Faulkner is more than a bit Dickensian with names. Hightower. Interesting name for the character he was. Is there any signficance for the fact that Addie Bundren and Joanna Burden have last names that are practically anagrams of each other. And, of course, Joe Christmas.... And what about the title? I ran it through my Bartlett's to no avail. I'm afraid I may be on the verge of a Faulkner binge. That's something I keep telling myself not to do. I've done it with lots of authors. Discovered someone I like, dived through all their books, one after another, only to realize, a few years down the line, that everything has melded in one big fat generic Steinbeck or Faulkner or Austen. Ruth, who picked up her hat off the lawn today, and clapped it on her head without checking for bees =============== Reply 49 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/17 From: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Time: 10:29 PM Has anybody here read Gardner's Nickel Mountain? Does anybody agree with me that it was very, very heavily influenced by Light in August? I tried to convince someone of this once, without much success. Since I read Nickel Mountain several years after I first read Light in August, I don't think it was merely contiguous reading which gave me this idea. Theresa =============== Reply 50 of Note 4 =================  
To: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Date: 09/17 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 11:51 PM Theresa, I read Nickel Mountain. In fact, I have the book. I can see it in my mind's eye, brown and white cover, I think, in the bookcase in the hall, right outside my bedroom door. The only thing I can't recall, it seems, is anything about what's between the covers. However, you've rubbed my curiosity bump and since there's nothing new in the house to read except Time, Newsweek, and Science News, I'll put them on hold and see if my mind's eye is correct as to exactly where Nickel Mountain is. Ruth, south of you, where it was a gorgeous day =============== Reply 51 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/18 From: WSRF10B SHERRY KELLER Time: 0:03 AM Dear Ruth, I've started LIA, but have only just. Lena has left the house where the woman-in-charge broke her rooster bank to give her some coins and she bought sahdeens with it. Joe Christmas got a job. I'll read a little more tonight. Just saw the play ARCADIA. Very well done. Sherry =============== Reply 52 of Note 4 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 09/18 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 1:17 AM Steve, LIGHT IN AUGUST is one of my favorite Faulkner novels. You may have already said this, but the business about Christmas's identity and racial makeup is intriguing (partially) because Faulkner manages to tangle it up with some of the principal themes in his work: history, the past affecting the present, and identity. I know I'm speaking in broad terms here, but in some ways this is the same...in terms of plot...as ABSALOM, ABSALOM! Both Christmas and Quentin Compson are searching for their pasts, trying to find out who they are. And the search is bound up in other concerns of storytelling and how we get our history that make it endlessly complicated and fascinating. --IDJP PS--My paper on Cormac McCarthy's THE CROSSING suggests that the whole book is about--on one level at least--the way in which we make our stories and our history. I'll send you a copy if you want one; just ask. =============== Reply 53 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/18 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 1:42 AM Ruth, You could do worse than a Faulkner binge. As to the significance of the title, some have said that LIGHT IN AUGUST was meant to be a reference to Lena's pregnancy, but Faulkner said that it was meant literally; something about the sun in the late afternoons in Mississippi gives the land a peculiar glow in the month of August. And Dick, I'd like to know how Lena compares in your mind with Rinthy Holme of Cormac McCarthy's OUTER DARK--it is that one you've been reading, isn't it? --IDJP =============== Reply 54 of Note 4 =================  
To: WSRF10B SHERRY KELLER Date: 09/18 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 1:42 AM Just after I read LIGHT IN AUGUST, my creative writing class did a free-writing exercise where we were supposed to take a sentence and run with it--no punctuation, no stoppage of pen movement. I think I basically ripped off Faulkner that day. I'll post this gibberish if I can find it. If, that is, any of you are interested. --The Irrepressible DJP 9/17/96 12:35PM CT =============== Reply 55 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/18 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 2:24 AM Well I found Nickel Mountain. Took a while because the once brown and white cover had faded on the spine to green and white. I'm now almost halfway through. Another Byron Bunch type in Henry Soames, dedicating himself to another much younger pregnant girl. But, so far at least, Henry Soames seems much more helpless than Byron Bunch. Ruth, toting Nickel Mountain off to bed =============== Reply 56 of Note 4 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 09/18 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 11:58 AM Marty: Lena and Rinthy seem cut from the same bolt; I'd almost say suspicously so. I read somewhere that Lena is a 'natural' character, sweet and peaceful as she wanders the highways and byways of the south, looking for that fertile rascal Lucas Burch. So far, I think these descriptions left out 'bovine'. I can almost see her jaw working, slowly, ceaselessly, as she plods down some god awful dirt road. I've been wondering about the title too -- I noticed that Lena's march to the Mississippi (or wherever she's going) starts out in August, and there is some description of the hard, summer light on that flat landscape that suggested the title. Made me sweat. Dick in Alaska, dripping and wondering if we're going to get some religious symbolism here out of that 'Joe Christmas' character =============== Reply 57 of Note 4 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 09/19 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 0:58 AM Dick, Yeah, you are gonna get some religious symbolism outta Joe Christmas. When you get to it, (you'll know) pay attention to the chapter number and go to the corresponding chapter in one of the gospels; I forget which one. There's a phrase from somewhere I've heard--"fearful symmetry"--that seems to fit. --The Irrepressible DJP 9/18/96 6:20AM CT =============== Reply 58 of Note 4 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 09/19 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 10:43 AM Marty: Speaking of fearful symmetry -- how about Lena's dinner/breakfast at the Armstid's? Wasn't that lifted virtually verbatim into 'Outer Dark' in a couple of Rinthey's road meal scenes? I guess that's the difference between us and genius; if we did that, they'd say we're plagerizing. When McCarthy does it, it is a literary allusion. The rich -- even the intellectually rich -- really ARE different. Dick in Alaska, middle class all the way P.S. You have a good trip to Nashville. Keep us stay at homes properly informed. =============== Reply 59 of Note 4 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 09/19 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 12:53 PM Marty, Tiger, tiger, burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry. Ruth, quoting, perhaps inaccurately, from William Blake =============== Reply 60 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/20 From: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Time: 3:04 AM Yes, yes, Ruth. And did you get to the goat lady yet? And the way Gardner describes her? Light in August is the father of that prose, I'm certain. I had some other confluences, but can't remember what they were. Theresa =============== Reply 61 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/20 From: ACCR69A JOSEPH BARREIRO Time: 11:12 AM When the stars threw down their spears And water'd heaven with their tears: Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee? Joe B, throwing another stanza on the fire =============== Reply 62 of Note 4 =================  
To: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Date: 09/20 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 1:00 PM Theresa, I finished NICKEL MOUNTAIN yesterday. Thanks for getting me to read it again. I remember that I didn't much care for it the first time around. But I'd forgotten it so thoroughly this was like a first-time read. This time I liked it. Not crazy about it, but definitely better than MARIETTE IN ECSTASY. There are lots of threads where I can see why you connected them to LIGHT IN AUGUST. The strange passivity of the pregnant Callie reminded me of Lena. I wanted the book to be about how Callie and Henry came to terms with their marriage, but of course, it wasn't. It definitely devoted itself to the larger themes of death, religion, et al. Are we the masters of our fate? The weird Hightower in LIA, the religious rantings of Bale in NM. I found elements of Byron Bunch in Henry's selfless devotion to Callie, and in George Loomis, the perennial outsider. And parallels between the talks of Byron & Hightower, and Henry & George. As far as the goat-lady. I presume you mean stylistic similarities. I'll need to take another look at that scene. But, here another consonance stuck its head out at me. Wasn't there a goat-man in SUTTREE? (I know I ran into a goat-man somewhere recently, and I think that's where. ) Are these goat-people common in the south? Or has McCarthy been reading Gardner? I did peek at the copyrights of both books. Gardner's comes first. Ruth, expecting Marty to pop in here =============== Reply 63 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/20 From: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 5:59 PM Ruth: I recall Giles Goat-Boy by John Barth. There was a dense word confection if I ever I saw one. Dick in Alaska, way overworked this week =============== Reply 64 of Note 4 =================  
To: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 09/20 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 8:22 PM Dick, Giles Goat Boy was one I gave up on. If you stuck it through to the end you have my unbounded admiration. Ruth, in socal, where it's balmy and breezy =============== Reply 65 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/20 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 10:17 PM Ruth: Nope, I bailed on Giles the goatish boy, although it had a few funny lines in the 250 pages or so I managed to get through. Hope your weather holds through next week -- I'll be down Wednesday. Any possibility of a mini-gathering? I'm actually going to be in Torrance which I believe is relatively near Lynn, but far from you. Dick in increasingly cold Alaska =============== Reply 66 of Note 4 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 09/21 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 1:34 AM Next Wednesday???? Damn, damn and double damn. I can't. Details in a more private arena. Ruth, into her second book for today =============== Reply 67 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/21 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 4:17 PM Ruth, Thanks. I knew I'd read the phrase--I just couldn't remember where. And I didn't get to go to Nashville. Law school and all. --IDJP =============== Reply 68 of Note 4 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/21 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 4:17 PM Ruth, People who have lived in Knoxville tell me that the goat man in SUTTREE was not fictionalized, but was an actual person. Call it atmosphere. --IDJP
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (1 of 85), Read 135 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 12:26 PM I generally have a difficult time reading Faulkner, but two friends recently have mentioned how much they loved this book so I figured I'd give it a go, and I'm so glad I did. The story of the Bundren family's travels across Mississippi to bury Addie Bundren, wife and mother, told from the perspective of each family member, covers the gamut of moods from black humor to pathos. Ruth, I believe you're a Faulkner fan...the characters seem a bit familiar to me, even tho my Faulkner experience is limited. Were these characters also in the Snopes trilogy? This is an outstanding novel and so much easier to read than other Faulkner novels I have read. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (2 of 85), Read 128 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 12:38 PM Are you finished with the novel, Beej? Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (3 of 85), Read 131 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 12:47 PM Actually, no I'm not. I'm about 2/3rds through it. But I will probably finish it today. (Its hard to put it down.) After this one, I think I'm going to pick up 'The Sound and The Fury', also recommended to me by a friend who is a die-hard Faulkner fan. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (4 of 85), Read 130 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 12:56 PM my favorite chapter so far was one from Vardaman that said: "My mother is a fish." And that was the entire chapter. In all of literary history, I don't think such few words ever carried so much meaning. (With the possible exception of "He wept.") Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (5 of 85), Read 129 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 01:18 PM The thing I find the most interesting about this novel is sorting out the motives of the various members of the Bundren family, including Addie herself. While I'm not arguing with the fact that The Sound and the Fury is a great novel, I do have some argument with throwing someone into that one early on in their experience of William Faulkner. I notice your statement that you've had difficulty with Faulkner before. There are fully six great, great novels by him among the many. Those six include the one you're reading and The Sound and the Fury. I have never understood why everyone seems to insist that we read the latter, a very experimental novel, as part of our introduction. Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (6 of 85), Read 130 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 01:24 PM Forgive me, Beej, but when Steve and I and several others here went on our Faulkner binge a few years back one result was that the books have somewhat blended in my mind. Help me here, Steve. Doesn't the fish thing refer back to either an earlier chapter in AILD or one from S&F where the idiot boy has caught a fish? Ruth "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Albert Einstein
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (7 of 85), Read 137 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 01:25 PM What would you suggest a relative Faulkner newcomer (I have read the first two of the Snopes trilogy) read next? (I think I might have read 'Requiem For A Nun' years ago, but if so, its story has taken a complete nose dive into the great circular file of my gray matter.) Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (8 of 85), Read 135 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 01:47 PM Oh, darn it! Why do I always seem to read these great books that have already had a rip-roaring discussion here? Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (9 of 85), Read 136 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 03:27 PM Remember, Ruthie, the youngest Bundren, Vardaman, had caught a fish. He looked at it lying dead there in the dust, and his youthful little brain confused the abstract idea of death with the concrete idea of the fish. Ergo, his mother was a fish. I sounded like a know-it-all, Beej. In my own defense, I do believe that many get turned off Faulkner by reading The Sound and the Fury too early on. The damned universities and colleges have killed more interest in Faulkner among young people this way, I am convinced. Here they are. The big three and the lesser three: 1. The Sound and the Fury 2. As I Lay Dying 3. Sanctuary 4. Absalom, Absalom! 5. Light in August 6. Go Down, Moses You could write these titles on little slips of paper and arrange them around your son's dart board at roughly the 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 o'clock positions. Then throw darts. If you hit The Sound and the Fury, so be it. I myself am hoping you hit Go Down, Moses and Absalom, Absalom! in that order. Therein you would learn about the origins of Yoknapatawpha County. Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (10 of 85), Read 137 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 03:32 PM By the way, Light in August is Faulkner's chick book. Just a little more information. Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (11 of 85), Read 140 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 03:56 PM Oh, I am just soooo pleased with myself! The brain cells are only half dead; I was mistaken about how far I am in this..I'm only half way through it, but, BUT! Suddenly there is mention of none other than the Snopes! And by golly, if these here darts didn't hit 'Go Down Moses'! I will read that one next on your trustworthy recommendation. Thanks. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (12 of 85), Read 137 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 04:14 PM I just had a wonderful time looking back on our discussion of The Sound and the Fury in the archives. The discussion of Absalom, Absalom! is there, too, but I don't know where I was when that went down. In any event, opinion was deeply divided on A,A! So what do I know? Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (13 of 85), Read 137 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 05:06 PM I well remember that scene with Vardamon and the fish, Steve. I just don't remember which book it was in. Was it S&F or AILD? I just might do Go Down Moses with you, Beej. I don't believe I've read that one. Ruth "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Albert Einstein
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (14 of 85), Read 138 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 05:16 PM I'm a happy person by nature anyway, but I am just jumping beside myself now!..one, because there are archived discussions of two books I will soon read, and two, because you might read 'Go Down Moses' with me, Ruth! Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (15 of 85), Read 140 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 05:20 PM Oh yes, Ruth. The story of Vardamon and the fish is in 'As I Lay Dying'. (The poor kid had oneheckofa time gutting and scaling it!) Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (16 of 85), Read 139 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 05:28 PM Steve the great and small of the top six -- what a hoot! And Light In August a chick book -- too funny -- I loved it. Light In August was actually the Faulkner read in one college class and As I Lay Dying recommended and another class A,A and Sanctuary -- I haven't read any Faulkner in a long while -- think I'll change that soon. Beej, I know how you feel about missing out on some of these discussions -- trouble is I'm STILL doing that -- I intend to read a book on the lists and then don't manage to do so -- so my own thoughts get stalled and unexplored. Or even not the list selections -- other threads, for example, I'm just now finally tackling Ulysses -- but that's okay -- there are other times -- like with you and Kay where I get involved with a big book and discussion like Les Mis -- it balances out really. Dottie
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (17 of 85), Read 134 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 09:35 PM I am just amazed with Faulkner's ability to make you laugh and gag... both with the same sentence! There's one sentence (I can't find it offhand for some reason,) where Cash is drilling nail holes for Addie's coffin lid. Her body is inside and he accidently drills into her face. its just so awful but so funny at the same time. (they also bury Addie in her wedding dress, but make a veil of mosquito netting to cover the holes in her face...I know this is terrible, but..and I really am ashamed to admit this..it totally cracked me up!) I suppose that's what dark comedy is all about. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (18 of 85), Read 128 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 10:53 PM Will you consider it dark comedy if I tell you I just discovered I've already read Go Down Moses?I remember it now that I've found it sitting on the second shelf of the bookcase in Bedroom A, alongside my other WF books. It's 4 short works, including The Bear which Steve and Felix (if I remember correctly) were nutso over, but which I thought went on about 60 pages too long. BTW, Steve, this chick liked AILD much better than LIA Ruth "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Albert Einstein
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (19 of 85), Read 127 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Susan Pardue spardue@carolina.rr.com Date: Monday, October 15, 2001 11:26 PM Same here. I much preferred AILD to LIA. My daughter is finishing up a unit on LIA right now. She had to read it over the summer. She hasn't had much to say about it, so I don't think she's too keen on it. I've got both A,A and GDM on my tbr shelf. S&F was my first Faulkner and I've read it twice. Susan
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (20 of 85), Read 118 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 07:31 AM Ruth, its not as dark a comedy as holes in the face but it is kinda funny! And I'm sure you will still be willing to discuss it with me after I read it. Right? Susan, Its encouraging to know that you enjoyed your first Faulkner read of The Sound and the Fury enough to want to read it a second time. (I was feeling just a touch intimidated.) As I've mentioned before, I tend to get 'author stuck' and when I like a particular writer will read all he or she has written, so I'm sure I will get to The Sound and the Fury down the road. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (21 of 85), Read 115 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 12:09 PM I assumed that Light in August would appeal to women because it is the one with a very appealing female character, Lena Grove. The novel sets her slowly developing but heart-warming union with Byron Bunch against the disturbing and ultimately violent affair between Joe Christmas and Joanna Burden. The novel is filled with vivid characters of both genders. Obviously, I should have first asked some real women who had read it before characterizing it as I did. Beej, Go Down, Moses is really a collection of short stories. As Ruthie says, one of those is "The Bear," the first section of which is the best hunting story I have ever read and features a valiant dog. The second section that Ruth has her doubts about is certainly as difficult as anything Faulkner wrote, but I like to think that I have figured out how to handle it. It is well worth the effort. (You will need a cheap copy of your own that you can mark up.) Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (22 of 85), Read 114 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 12:39 PM I can't even remember I've read a book, and you want me to discuss it with you, Beej? Hahahahaha. Ruth "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Albert Einstein
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (23 of 85), Read 114 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 01:44 PM Steve, I love short stories but I am not really a hunting type of lady. If I were a pre-twentieth century Native American, I'd have starved! So I approach this book with a little trepidation. but I will give it a try. Now. Light In August sounds good to me, tho when I hear a 'chick's book' I think of Harlequin novels. I'm going to, however, trust my instincts that Light in August is definitely not THAT sort of chick's book! I have heard good things about Absalom, Absalom! So, I think I will get my hands on that one too. (Ruth, have you read Light In August?) Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (24 of 85), Read 108 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 01:56 PM Light In August is definitely not a Harlequin but it is a wonderful book -- enough so that I have read it at least once and maybe twice since I bought it for that mmmmmmmmyears ago college class. Last time was still long enough in the past that details are once again lost in the fog. I'll see what Faulkner I can find in the bib when I go there Saturday -- that's my plan anyway. Or check De Slegte. Or both. Dottie
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (25 of 85), Read 112 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 02:02 PM Last night I went back and re-read a lot of As I Lay Dying and found out some of what I didn't understand was now clear. I think Faulkner tells us his characters' thoughts before he tells us what is behind these thoughts. Am I right? Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (26 of 85), Read 108 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 02:12 PM Very good way to put it, I think, Beej. The problem with the doggoned guy--a problem depending on how you look at it--is that you cannot simply read his stuff. You have to reread it. Let's go back to the dart board idea. And let's not leave As I Lay Dying too soon either. I agree with you about the humor in the book. One is aghast at what one laughs at. Putting a broken leg in a cement cast. The buzzards hovering over this strange procession as Addie's body gets ripe. The reaction of the onlookers. Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (27 of 85), Read 107 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 02:16 PM I think I will read Go Down Moses next. I love dogs. Is it a hunting story or a dog story? Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (28 of 85), Read 113 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 02:18 PM Let's call it a dog story. Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (29 of 85), Read 105 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 02:14 PM I've read LIA, Beej. When Steve and I and Felix and was it Dick, and others had our Faulknerfest. Ruth "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Albert Einstein
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (30 of 85), Read 108 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 02:22 PM Oh good! I love dog stories. How many of his book did you read during this marathon? Gosh, I wish I was here back then! Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (31 of 85), Read 108 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 02:26 PM Oh, and Beej, you might want to pick up The Portable Faulkner edited by Malcolm Cowley. Cowley's introduction is a great read and a wonderful overview of what's going on there in Yoknapatawpha County. Just a thought. Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (32 of 85), Read 106 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 02:23 PM It has always seemed to me richly ironic that the strange Darl is the only one who truly appreciates the absurdity of this whole trek, but he is the one that ends up in the insane asylum. Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (33 of 85), Read 98 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Robert Armstrong rla@nac.net Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 02:56 PM Beej, I read ABSALOM ABSALOM! when it was a Classics Corner selection a while back and I loved it. Robt
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (34 of 85), Read 90 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 04:02 PM Another recommendation for Absalom, Absalom! Addie's story touched my heart. she 'lay dying' her entire life. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (35 of 85), Read 92 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 04:05 PM I've done both S&F and AILD twice. And I'm chuckling again at the thought of AILD. Yeah, Steve, that cement cast...and the buzzards. Ogawd. Heeheeheehee. Yuck. Ruth "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Albert Einstein
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (36 of 85), Read 95 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 07:49 PM The idea of those buzzards after Addie's body is just such a PUKEY thought! And I sat here laughing every time those boys tried to chase them off! But what really got me was the scene in the city when all the people who walked past the buggy had to hold cloths over their noses because of the putrid smell. I have a confession to make...the reason I re-read parts of this was because I didn't get the ending. i figured I must have missed something, and am still not certain I haven't. The book says: He pulled up at Mrs. Bundren's. It was like he knowed. Then, at the very end Anse introduces the children and tells them: "This is Mrs. Bundren." Where the heck did THIS Mrs. Bundren come from and how did they know it was her house? I DON'T GET IT! I figured Anse married her, but did he already know her? I mean he was hell bent on getting Addie's body to Jefferson. Was it because of this other woman? Was it because he knew she would buy him TEETH? btw, this book has absolutely sold me on Faulkner for all time. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (37 of 85), Read 98 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 07:53 PM Ruth wrote: Ogawd. Heeheeheehee. Yuck. Well, that sure about sums it up! I said the very same thing myself through out the entire book! Perfect, Ruth! Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (38 of 85), Read 91 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2001 08:34 PM Not to be crass or anything, but what exactly was going on with Jewel and that horse? Was it what I think it was? Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (39 of 85), Read 85 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Theresa Simpson theresa.a.simpson@gte.net Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 01:28 AM Sound and the Fury was my first Faulkner, in high school. I thought it was fantastic and have read it 2 more times over the years. I also loved Light in August; I'm still trying to decide if it's actually a chick book, never thought of it that way. I've tried to read Absalom a couple of times, without success. By the way, "squaw" is generally considered to be a derogatory term (equivalent of sp**, ki**, all the other lovely terms we've found to call each other.) Theresa I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused. Elvis Costello
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (40 of 85), Read 87 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 07:33 AM Squaw is derogatory? I didn't know that and will go back and change it. I thought it was just an archaic word meaning a female native American. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (41 of 85), Read 80 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Kay Dugan okaychatt@yahoo.com Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 08:13 AM It's been a long while since I read AILD. I thought Jewel's horse was symbolic for him - independence, temporary escape from poverty, statement of individuality, emotional retreat. That horse was the only bright spot in his life. I wanted to hurt Anse when he sold that horse. But something niggling at the back of my mind has me nodding with your question. As to the new Mrs. Bundren - Anse obviously knew her from way back. He needed teeth, he needed a new wife to abuse. Hence the trip to bury Addie. Which novel are you starting with, Beej? I'll try to keep up. K
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (42 of 85), Read 79 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 11:13 AM I don't know, Kay. Anse borrowed the shovel from this "duck-shaped woman" (I love that!) in order to bury Addie. I have always thought that this was the first time he had met her. But who knows? As I said earlier discerning the motives of these folks is one of the things that is so enjoyable. I don't think we can trust Anse when he says over and over that he is fulfilling his promise to Addie with this trek through flood and fire. He wants new teeth and a new wife if he can find one. Dewey Dell wants an abortion. Vardaman wants toys. Cash wants a phonograph. Am I correct that Anse is the only one who gets everything he wants? Beej, I don't recall any real evidence that Jewel has sex with his horse. Clearly, he loved the horse, but I don't think it went that far. Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (43 of 85), Read 76 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 11:33 AM Dewey Dell. I forgot Dewey Dell. Gad, whatta name. Heehee. Ruth "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Albert Einstein
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (44 of 85), Read 78 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 11:47 AM On the other hand, Beej, anything is possible. There is a Faulkner story featuring a young man who falls deeply and romantically in love with a cow. It rings in my mind that this guy was a mentally deficient member of the Snopes clan. Perhaps Felix can refresh my recollection about this and the book it is in. Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (45 of 85), Read 79 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 11:52 AM >>>mentally deficient member of the Snopes clan. Just one? Ruth "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Albert Einstein
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (46 of 85), Read 81 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 12:14 PM Yep. Just one. The others were all cagey rascals. Never mind, Felix. It was Ike Snopes in The Hamlet. Found it: . . . smelling and even tasting the rich, slow, warm barn-reek milk-reek, the flowing immemorial female, hearing the slow planting and the plopping suck of each deliberate cloven mud-spreading hoof, invisible still in the mist loud with its hymeneal choristers. Then he would see her; the bright thin horns of morning, of sun, would blow the mist away and reveal her . . . Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (47 of 85), Read 83 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 12:24 PM On 10/17/2001 12:14:00 PM, Steve Warbasse wrote: >Yep. Just one. The others were >all cagey rascals. > >Never mind, Felix. It was Ike >Snopes in The Hamlet. Found >it: > >. . . smelling and even >tasting the rich, slow, warm >barn-reek milk-reek, the >flowing immemorial female, >hearing the slow planting and >the plopping suck of each >deliberate cloven >mud-spreading hoof, invisible >still in the mist loud with >its hymeneal choristers. > >Then he would see her; the >bright thin horns of morning, >of sun, would blow the mist >away and reveal her . . . > > >Steve Steve -- I am sorry but nothing in that passage says to me that this poor boy -- whatever his mental capacity is deeply and romantically in love with that cow -- it tells me that he is deeply appreciative of the experience of being at one with the smell and sights and maybe even the tastes of nature -- that cow in the early morning and the milk and barn smells and the sounds -- must be more to this, eh? And a simple soul would be more apt to be content in the rhythms and the smell and sights of nature/the farm/rural life -- which is where these folks were definitely rooted. Dottie
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (48 of 85), Read 89 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 12:34 PM The Hamlet just happens to be one of the other Faulkner books I've read. He did not just fall in love with the cow. He moved in with the cow. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (49 of 85), Read 88 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 12:43 PM I might have been influenced by my knowledge of the cow affair in The Hamlet, but I was convinced Jewel had more than a platonic relationship with the horse. (I'm not so sure now.) I need to go back and reread some more about this. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (50 of 85), Read 96 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 01:05 PM Kay, I'm going to read Go Down Moses next, and then Light In August probably. But if you have a different Faulkner you would like to discuss, I'm more than willing to read it with you. Do you think Anse knew Jewel was not his son? And Jewel. Did Jewel know? It seems Darl knew. He says to Jewel, "Your mother was a horse (and what is it with that?) but who was your father, Jewel? Jewel replies: "You goddamn lying son of a bitch." I gather with this that Jewel did not know, but how did Darl know? There are just questions upon questions in my mind concerning these characters. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (51 of 85), Read 85 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 01:34 PM Well -- I guess I'd better go read The Hamlet for myself then! I stand by my assessment of that quote, however, Steve. Dottie
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (52 of 85), Read 74 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Susan Pardue spardue@carolina.rr.com Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 02:03 PM I think Darl was supposed to know everything. . . Susan
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (53 of 85), Read 82 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 02:24 PM I think you're right Susan. For example, Dewey Dell realizes that Darl knew she was pregnant: ...and then I saw Darl and he knew. He said he knew without the words like he told me that ma was going to die without the words... This ability of Darl's to know things was one of the reasons I had thought Jewel was having sex with the horse..Jewel developed a 'sleeping sickness' and the family began to think he was meeting a woman at night when he should have been sleeping. Darl sees him with his horse one day and then says he realized exactly where Jewel was going during the night. (Of course, riding a horse at night doesn't mean he was doing anything else..) Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (54 of 85), Read 81 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 03:43 PM I've just returned from the library but could not get Go Down Moses. Instead, I got one called 'Big Woods', which is a collection of four stories, including The Bear..could this be the same as Go Down Moses? I also picked up LIA and A,A!.. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (55 of 85), Read 76 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 05:55 PM That would certainly be the same bear, Beej--the same bear, that is, if it includes a second very difficult section after the conclusion of the hunting story. Your library didn't have a copy of The Portable Faulkner? Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (56 of 85), Read 75 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 07:55 PM Oh, darnit! I meant to look for it too, but I forgot all about that one. I'll look for it on my next trip. Each of the four stories is accompanied by another story. The one following The Bear is 11 pages long and appears to be, at a brief glance, about a runaway slave..Does that sound familiar? If it doesn't, I'll look for it at my little used bookstore. Besides The Bear, this includes three other stories; The Old People, A Bear Hunt and Race at Morning. The cover of the book says these are 'the hunting stories of William Faulkner'. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (57 of 85), Read 59 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Thursday, October 18, 2001 06:38 AM Wouldn't you know it, I go on vacation and come back to find a discussion on a book I've wanted to read for some time, but my other book groups weren't interested! Unfair! Now I have to play catch up! I've read Sound, in high school, and agree that that's too early, though I remember kind of liking it. I've also read Light and liked that one. I've wanted to read more Faulkner but wanted to be able to discuss him, so I guess I better get going before this discussion dies. Sherri
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (58 of 85), Read 66 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, October 18, 2001 07:46 AM Sherri, Please do read 'As I Lay Dying'. Though I am moving on to other Faulkner novels, I really would like to get into more discussion of this one. I particularly would like to talk more about Addie herself. There's not a lot written about her life, opposed to her death and all that follows it, but I think Faulkner says just enough to make us see what a very sad, very emotionally empty life she lived. Steve had mentioned the irony of Darl. To me, Darl was the heart of this family (and look what happened to him as a result.) A lot to talk about there, too, especially with the barn fire. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (59 of 85), Read 65 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, October 18, 2001 07:59 AM (If you haven't read this book and plan to read it, you might not want to go further, here. I'm not posting a spoiler warning because we've already said so much.) And Anse...just look at Anse, the most self centered, worthless character in the book. Cash ends up with a permanently botched leg. Dewey Dell ends up still pregnant after being used by someone who fools her into thinking she is having an abortion. Darl ends up in an insane asylum. Jewel ends up losing his beloved horse and Addie, well, we know how Addie ends up. And who ends up on top? Anse. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (60 of 85), Read 59 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Thursday, October 18, 2001 11:29 AM Did you pick up on where Anse got the ten dollars for his new teeth? Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (61 of 85), Read 63 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, October 18, 2001 12:04 PM Well, I'm a little bit confused on that deal. I know he took Dewey Dell's money, but I thought she had give that money to the 'doctor'. To be perfectly honest, I hadn't connected that ten dollars to his teeth. And if that's how he bought them, why did he tie up with this new Mrs. Bundren? (Man, what a shifty, sneaky, lowhanded, callow fellow this Anse was...Not to mention lazy, heartless and scheming!) Another person who rubbed me the wrong way was Cora. The more I think about it, the more certain I become that the copy of The Bear I have isn't the one with the other, more difficult story following it. I might go on to Light In August until I can get Go Down Moses. (Kay, will you read this one with me?) Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (62 of 85), Read 64 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Thursday, October 18, 2001 12:09 PM Don't let me confuse you. I am talking about the ending section that is a part of "The Bear," not a story after it. Nonetheless, Light in August is a fine selection. I am confident you will enjoy it. We will start off once again on the pregnant Lena Grove's long dusty trek with you if you wish. Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (63 of 85), Read 62 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Thursday, October 18, 2001 12:20 PM That's all a difficult question about the teeth, Beej. I don't think the pharmacist got the money, just some sort of sex from Dewey Dell. Anse clearly got the money and used it for the teeth. . . .I think. As far as the "duck-shaped" woman goes, it seems clear to me that Anse needed another wife to slave away for him. Cook, clean (in a manner of speaking), and generally tend to him. You know, if Anse ever broke a sweat, it would kill him as he himself tells us. It is therefore essential that others do everything for him. Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (64 of 85), Read 69 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, October 18, 2001 12:28 PM Somehow, I think this new Mrs. Bundren is going to give Anse the shaking of his life! then we see her behind him,...a kind of duck-shaped woman all dressed up, with them kind of hard looking pop eyes like she was daring ere a man to say nothing. Addie just might get the last laugh after all. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (65 of 85), Read 56 times Conf: Constant Reader From: S.F. Strahan Date: Thursday, October 18, 2001 07:07 PM Just to drop in my two cents worth here...if you've read the first two of the Snopes trilogy (The Hamlet and The Town) then you GOTTA read The Mansion which is the third and final book in the trilogy. (How can you not read the end of such a great story??) :-) I'd like to thank whichever CR mentioned this trilogy earlier this year (last year?). That's what made me track down the books and I loved 'em. :-) ~~Susan~~ "Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?" ---Winnie The Pooh
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (66 of 85), Read 56 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, October 18, 2001 08:04 PM Actually, I'm surprised I got through the first two of the trilogy! Ruth, myself and I think Sherry, too, bought the edition that had all three stories in it, and the print was so itty-bitty that it was a chore to read it. (I need to get a copy of the Mansion with bigger print, is all.) But I just loved AILD, and plan on starting LIA tonight. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (67 of 85), Read 56 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, October 18, 2001 09:05 PM From Light In August: The wagon is halted again. The woman is preparing to descend. "Even if you get to Varner's store before sundown, you'll still be twelve miles from Jefferson," Armstid says. I know the Varners are in the Snopes trilogy, and I know Jefferson is where they buried Addie Bundren. Do most, or even all, Faulkner's stories take place in Yoknapatawpha County? Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (68 of 85), Read 52 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Janet Mego vsjego@cs.com Date: Friday, October 19, 2001 06:05 PM Beej, Glad you started this thread--just got drawn into it with great enjoyment. In college lit classes I started with SARTORIS (aka FLAGS IN THE DUST) and had a distinct sense of being in the presence of genius but the uneasy sense of not being sure why (I was young and inarticulate back then, as opposed to middle-aged and garrulous). Then I read ABSALOM, ABSALOM! which left me gasping--incredible. THE SOUND AND THE FURY was next, a great companion to AA, as the Compsons (foils to the Snopses) are characters in both. It's probably my favorite because of the idiot (today he'd be "mentally challenged" but in that time he was the former) Benjy's section and its juxtaposition with the genius Quentin and the good ole' boy who follows (Jake?). I'm glad I didn't start with SOUND though; Steve's probably right in that it does better on the heels of something else. Read AILD on my own and loved it. Stephen is currently making his way through the Snopes Trilogy, having just finished THE HAMLET, chortling gleefully and reading some aloud to me, including scandalous/priceless passages involving said cow and her significant other. He (Stephen, not the cow's "other," well maybe him too) is having the best time. He also read me the first half of THE BEAR aloud several months ago, which worked fine until I couldn't tell who was addressing whom at some point. There are obvious problems with listening to Faulkner as opposed to reading him oneself. At least, with my concentration span. But I'm sold on reading the Trilogy at some point--this has to be Faulkner at his most tongue-in-cheek ironic-outrageous best. Don't know if this has already been mentioned or not, but it occurs to me that not only is mother a fish because she's dead, but because she stinks. . .don't you love it? Janet
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (69 of 85), Read 59 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, October 19, 2001 08:10 PM Hey, Janet! I'm reading LIGHT IN AUGUST now, and just loving it. But, as soon as I finish with that, I'm going to tackle ABSALOM, ABSALOM! How insightful that was of you to link the stinking fish to the stinking Addie! That's precisely why I love to discuss books with y'all. I would never, never get all this wonderful insight on my own. I've spent a huge part of my life reading fine literature and, in my experience, I just don't think it gets any better than Faulkner. When I read the first couple chapters of AILD, all I could think of was that joy I felt when I discovered Updike. I didn't think I'd find another author that I would enjoy as much as I enjoy Updike..but I sure did with Faulkner! (I feel like a little kid in a candy shop. I just want more.. and more.. and more..) Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (70 of 85), Read 45 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Saturday, October 20, 2001 04:13 AM Beej -- I got Light In August at the local bib so I'm going to get started today later -- I'll try to keep up with you but shall we start another thread for this one -- I think yes? Having read just the opening lines -- I'm ready to jump into this again I know! Dottie -- and there are other Faulkner volumes awaiting at the bib -- Intruders in the Dust and -- and -- oh well, I'll look next time!
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (71 of 85), Read 48 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, October 20, 2001 11:43 AM Its a good one, isn't it Dottie? I think I like it even better than As I Lay Dying! I'll start a new thread on it when I get a bit further..or you can, if you'd like. I have to take the kids to the pumpkin patch in a little while and then I'm going to spend the entire remainder of the afternoon on my back porch with Lena and her 'Burch search'. Have you met Christmas yet? Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (72 of 85), Read 42 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, October 20, 2001 11:55 AM I think one of the biggest kicks in reading Faulkner is his choice of names...Christmas, Dewey Dell, Eula, I.O., to name a few. I bet Faulkner even amused himself with his name choices! Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (73 of 85), Read 30 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Monday, October 22, 2001 06:35 AM Playing catch up here, I'm just to the point when Addie dies. A couple of things, I like how they say that she was just tired out. Not that she was sick but that she got too tired and decided that was it. Sort of like she had a choice on whether to die. I'm having a little trouble keeping the characters straight, but that will get easier the further on I get. I like the different chapters, the different voices, gives it a sort of circle view of the situation. Sherri
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (74 of 85), Read 31 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, October 22, 2001 07:44 AM Sherri, I had a little trouble keeping the characters straight for awhile, too. But they all straightened out in my mind as the story went on. Its kind of neat to go back and reread the book. That's when everything really falls into place and Faulkner's genius becomes crystal clear. I think Addie totally lost all will to live. Who wouldn't, being married to Anse? The true adventure of this novel is the trip across Mississippi. I felt I was right in that wagon with them all. Poor, poor Addie.... Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (75 of 85), Read 33 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, October 22, 2001 07:54 AM Oh, Sherri, another thing..somewhere near the middle of AILD, you will get to know Addie a bit better and see just how sad a life she lived. I'm looking forward to hearing your reaction to Addie's 'circumstances'. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (76 of 85), Read 28 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Monday, October 22, 2001 01:34 PM I've been thinking that no one likes Anse. He seems to be the laziest, get in the way, take no responsibility kind of guy. Just from the way they say that Addie just got tired, made me feel she must have had a hard life. Looking forward to finding out about her. There was a funny thought by Tull, "I think that if nothing but being married will help a man, he's durn nigh hopeless. But I reckon Cora's right when she says the reason the Lord had to create women is because man dont know his own good when he sees it." Sherri
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (77 of 85), Read 33 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, October 22, 2001 01:43 PM Hey, Sherri! I thought Cora was just so damned sanctimonious. She reminds me of a Pharisee in the New Testament..always on her knees thanking God that she is better than anybody else. Not only is Anse all you say he is, he also uses people. It seems others' value goes only as far as what they can do for him. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (78 of 85), Read 35 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Monday, October 22, 2001 02:11 PM always on her knees thanking God that she is better than anybody else. I love it, Beej. Ruth "I don't have a favorite song. I only have the song I'm singing today" Berenice Reagon
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (79 of 85), Read 27 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Dottie Randall randallj@ix.netcom.com Date: Monday, October 22, 2001 05:56 PM Sanctimonious -- could well be, Beej BUT -- I loved that quote, Sherri -- it gave me a good chuckle! Dottie
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (80 of 85), Read 26 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, October 22, 2001 07:31 PM I liked that quote, too, until..and I don't want to say too much, at least until Sherri reads a bit further... I read Cora's little conversation with Addie. Cora seemed to like Darl A LOT..I wonder if she was attracted to him or if she was just tired of Addie's preferential treatment of Jewel. Again without saying too much, I wonder if this preferential treatment would have bothered Cora as much as it did if she knew what was behind it. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (81 of 85), Read 16 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 07:02 AM Beej - this post has me hooked! Can't wait to get further and solve your cryptic message! Sherri
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (82 of 85), Read 11 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 04:20 PM What is with Darl and his saying he is if he is he are and having no mother and Jewels mother is a horse? Is he trying to say that he and Jewel have different mothers? I'm just past the "my mother is a fish" chapter. That I get, but the horse thing has me puzzled. And Anse saying how disrespectful the boys are being, like he really cared. Sherri
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (83 of 85), Read 12 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 09:43 PM Sherri, I didn't understand that 'your mother is a horse' business either! Maybe those more knowledgeable in Faulkner can explain it to us. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (84 of 85), Read 6 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Thursday, October 25, 2001 07:26 AM Ok, some more thoughts, and I finally read through all the posts here. Jewel was going out at night to work for someone to buy the horse, it wasn't a woman he was seeing. The sleeping sickness was because he was working so much, to get the horse, whether there's anything sexual I don't know, but he loved the horse because it was his alone, and Anse had nothing to do with it. I find that Darl's chapters seem poetic, and very cryptic, sometimes I don't understand what he is saying. I'm getting to know Addie, and boy is she depressing. What a life. She says "my father used to say that the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time" If you go through life with that kind of attitude, you will not have a good one (of course getting stuck with Anse didn't help) It seemed to me that she chose to marry him, not that she had to. She seemed to think having the children was her obligation and nothing more. And she only loved Jewel because he had a different father. I feel that Jewel knew this too. Another Addie thought: "That was when I learned that words are no good; that words dont ever fit even what they are trying to say at. When he was born I kenw that motherhood was invented by someone who had to have a word for it because the ones that had the children didn't care whether there was a word for it or not..." I find this book a little slow going because I can only read a little at a time, it's depressing and intense. Sherri
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (85 of 85), Read 6 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, October 25, 2001 08:09 AM Sherri, I felt so bad for Addie. She didn't really like her kids (because they were Anse's maybe?) She was raised by a father whose outlook on life was incredibly negative, she had a miserable life with Anse. It seems her only happiness was with Jewel's father, and that was fleeting at best. Even all that happened after her death was belittling..the accidental drilling of holes in her face, the rotting corpse, Anse using her death as a way to get what he wanted. This was a woman who lived a joyless life. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (86 of 87), Read 8 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Friday, October 26, 2001 08:03 AM I finished this last night and all I can say is Anse is an s.o.b. If I heard him say "I do the best I can" one more time I was going to strangle him. He was the most selfish man. The way he treated his family, and then acting like he's the one who suffers. Taking the horse, taking Dewey's money, pouring concrete on Cash's leg, etc. Poor Addie being dragged all over, decomposing, no peace even when she's dead. All he ever cared about was his teeth. And the way he showed up at the end with teeth and Mrs. Bundrun, not a care about anyone else but himself. I could just smack that man. A couple of questions: Does Darl go crazy? What happened to Jewel? I'm so glad I read this,but I'm furious at the same time. Sherri
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (87 of 87), Read 8 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, October 26, 2001 08:31 AM Sherri, I think Darl really did go crazy. He seemed to be the only one who saw the lunacy in all of this. I can understand his desire to destroy Addie's body with that barn fire and put an end to all the nonsense, but he set the barn on fire with all those animals still in it! I can't find my copy of this book off hand, (things seem to walk away on their own volition around this house) but when I do find it I'll re-read the end because I can't remember what happened to Jewel! (Why am I thinking he bought another horse? Do you remember anything about that?) Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (88 of 92), Read 17 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Saturday, October 27, 2001 06:59 PM Don't you hate it when you do something you swore you'd never, ever do? Even though it's a petty thing to swear you'll never do something as simple as read a book? And don't you hate it worse when you actually DO that thing and kind of, well, enjoyed it? Thus my current conundrum. I am reading AS I LAY DYING and am loving it. Every last, confusing, incredible word. Here's the story. I got caught up in the discussion here and decided to get out of my comfort zone and try him. Steve and Beej were having so much fun, and I wanna come play, too. So while browsing the bookstore in Carmel, there it was. I swear it burned my hand to pick it up, but the pain subsided quickly. And then there was THE PORTABLE FAULKNER. Felt pretty good to touch but I forced myself to put it down. Why get it. I might just not like old Bill, and then I'd be stuck with another damn book. So, I compromised. Read AILD, and if I like it, then I can buy TPF. It's in my cart at Amazon, along with Absalom, Absaolm and Go Down Moses. All this agony because a really rotten high school English teacher made me diagram a sentence from a Faulkner novel as punishment. (I don't recall the crime, but this sadist paddled boys; and if a girl acted out, she had to choose a boy classmate to "receive" her punishment. I refused to choose. He gave me my first intro to Faulkner. The diagramming was a snap for a geek like me, but the foul taste has lingered to this day.) Seems to me the sentence (paragraph?) was about a mule. I hope to find it again as I read more. But here's the really sick part. I can't stop trying to diagram some of these sentences as I read! I'll just have to keep reading to break that urge, I guess. So, thanks you guys. I think. Now I'm out of here. Got to finish the last half of this book or I'll get nothing done this weekend! Anne
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (89 of 92), Read 16 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Saturday, October 27, 2001 08:10 PM Your note made me laugh, Anne. (All except the part about that seriously weird teacher.) I'm defintely tempted to read this one again. Ruth "I don't have a favorite song. I only have the song I'm singing today" Berenice Reagon
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (90 of 92), Read 18 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, October 27, 2001 08:58 PM Anne, isn't it amazing how 'turned-off' on Faulkner past experiences have made some of us!? As I Lay Dying has completely and forever opened the door to Faulkner for me. (Wait until you read Light In August! Ohmygawd, that's an awesome book!) BTW, I have Absalom, Absalom! right here beside me, and will start reading that one tomorrow. But, after that one, on to both Go Down, Moses and The Portable Faulkner. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (91 of 92), Read 12 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Sunday, October 28, 2001 12:34 AM I feel a Faulkner-fest descending upon me. And in Martha Stewart's words,"It's a good thing!" Anne, wondering if Faulkner and Martha belong in the same sentence, much less the same thought...Never mind, I've had a wee bit too much Syrah tonight!
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (92 of 92), Read 10 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Sunday, October 28, 2001 12:37 AM Just as long as you don't start babbling about William Stuart and Martha Faulkner! Ruth "I don't have a favorite song. I only have the song I'm singing today" Berenice Reagon
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (97 of 100), Read 24 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Monday, October 29, 2001 10:30 PM I finished this last night and almost started over again. Every time I thumb through looking for a certain passage, I find something I missed. One part really stuck to me. Cora was giving Addie hell for not being saved by the Lord. Tied into this was Addie's "being partial to Jewel that never loved her and was its own punishment..." Then Addie says, "He is my cross and he'll be my salvation. He will save me from the water and from the fire. Even though I have laid down my life, he will save me." I thought at first she was talking about God, not Jewel. I read that passage a few times. Then came the flood. Then came the fire. Addie sure knew how to call 'em, didn't she? Now I'll go back and read the other posts. I sure loved this book. Anne
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (98 of 100), Read 27 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, October 29, 2001 10:39 PM Anne, I had forgotten those prophetic words. Thanks for posting them. (BTW, I sat down with 'Sanctuary' this afternoon and read the first 60 pages without looking up once.) Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (103 of 109), Read 24 times Conf: Constant Reader From: S.F. Strahan Date: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 04:09 PM I am, as usual, playing catch up. You all caught me off guard with how the Faulkner discussion mushroomed...I had to scramble to get As I Lay Dying and Light In August. I read AILD last Saturday and am over halfway through LIA. There is one persistent point of confusion for me in As I Lay Dying. Vardeman was the youngest child, only about 4 or 5. Jewel has one of the spotted horses that Snopes brought back from Texas in The Hamlet. Vardeman is in The Hamlet. He is a grown man of some years who is a travelling salesman (sewing machines). I thought at first that this was young Vardeman, as a child--who grew up to be the adult Vardeman in The Hamlet--until I was told that Jewel's spotted pony was one of the ones the Snopes had let loose on the county some years earlier--in the presence of the adult Vardeman. So, this has to be a completely different person. But is there a connection between the child Vardeman in AILD and the middle-aged man in The Hamlet?? If so, I couldn't find it in AILD and I found the use of the same name confusing. What was the purpose of giving the child the same name as the man in the earlier episode?? ~~Susan~~ "Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?" ---Winnie The Pooh
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (104 of 109), Read 18 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 07:57 PM Susan, there is also an Armstid in both 'The Hamlet' and in 'Light In August', and a Gowan in 'The Town' and in 'Santuary.' But I am not familiar enough with the time frames of the Snopes books' to know if these are the same characters, or different characters with the same names. I'm going to do a search to see if I can find a genealogy and/or a chronology for the people in Jefferson. This is becoming confusing to me. Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (105 of 109), Read 21 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 08:16 PM Seems to me that Steve had a avenue to some sort of geneology chart for Faulkner's characters someplace on the web. I was still pretty confused even after I read it. Ruth "I don't have a favorite song. I only have the song I'm singing today" Berenice Reagon
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (106 of 109), Read 24 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 08:25 PM Thanks, Ruth..maybe Steve would be willing to post a link to that. In the meantime, I did find this neat glossary: http://www.mcsr.olemiss.edu/%7Eegjbp/faulkner/glossary.html Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (107 of 109), Read 18 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 10:22 PM Susan, I've spent the last hour absorbed in this glossary. According to this, the sewing machine salesman in 'The Hamlet' was named Vladimir Ratliff. But, who knows? It also says that it was Vardeman who accidently drilled the holes in Addie's face and I could SWEAR it was Cash who did that! (I'd look it up, but I returned the book to the library.) Beej
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (108 of 109), Read 12 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 10:42 PM I own a copy. But damned if I remember where in the book to look. Ruth "I don't have a favorite song. I only have the song I'm singing today" Berenice Reagon
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (109 of 109), Read 8 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Sherri Kendrick sheval@hotmail.com Date: Thursday, November 01, 2001 06:28 AM One of the things I do remember is that it was Vardaman who drilled the holes and Cash that filled them up. Cash was very careful to carve little pieces to fit snug, and someone had made the comment that he could just make a quick cover, but Cash was slow and exact about it. Sherri
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (110 of 112), Read 26 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Thursday, November 01, 2001 10:24 AM Susan, I believe that V.K. Ratliff, the sewing machine salesman in the trilogy, is a different character than Vardaman. Beej, you already found the glossary that I did. That's it. Did y'all know that Faulkner spent a whole six weeks writing As I Lay Dying? Steve
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (111 of 112), Read 16 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Thursday, November 01, 2001 11:23 AM A whole six weeks, huh? No wonder it's so good. Ruth "I don't have a favorite song. I only have the song I'm singing today" Berenice Reagon
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (112 of 112), Read 13 times Conf: Constant Reader From: S.F. Strahan Date: Thursday, November 01, 2001 03:21 PM Ok, I remember Ratliff is the sewing machine salesman; now that I've dug out the book again, I think I must have been thinking of Varner, but the name Vardeman still sounds really familiar to me. I'm probably remembering it from some other non-Faulkner book. ;-) Thanks for the URL of the Glossary. :-) ~~Susan~~ "Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?" ---Winnie The Pooh
Topic: As I Lay Dying: Wm. Faulkner (113 of 113), Read 10 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Friday, November 02, 2001 01:07 PM But by golly, Susan, there is another Vardaman in The Hamlet--or one of those. Vardaman Snopes. He is one of twin sons of I.O. Snopes. Steve

 

William Faulkner
William Faulkner

 

 
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