Constant Reader
WebBoardOrientationReading ListsHome WorksActivities

Buy the paperback

The Sound and the Fury
by William Faulkner

The ostensible subject of The Sound and the Fury is the dissolution of the Compsons, one of those august old Mississippi families that fell on hard times and wild eccentricity after the Civil War. But in fact what William Faulkner is really after in his legendary novel is the kaleidoscope of consciousness--the overwrought mind caught in the act of thought. His rich, dark, scandal-ridden story of squandered fortune, incest (in thought if not in deed), madness, congenital brain damage, theft, illegitimacy, and stoic endurance is told in the interior voices of three Compson brothers: first Benjy, the "idiot" man-child who blurs together three decades of inchoate sensations as he stalks the fringes of the family's former pasture; next Quentin, torturing himself brilliantly, obsessively over Caddy's lost virginity and his own failure to recover the family's honor as he wanders around the seedy fringes of Boston; and finally Jason, heartless, shrewd, sneaking, nursing a perpetual sense of injury and outrage against his outrageous family.

If Benjy's section is the most daringly experimental, Jason's is the most harrowing. "Once a bitch always a bitch, what I say," he begins, lacing into Caddy's illegitimate daughter, and then proceeds to hurl mud at blacks, Jews, his sacred Compson ancestors, his glamorous, promiscuous sister, his doomed brother Quentin, his ailing mother, and the long-suffering black servant Dilsey who holds the family together by sheer force of character.

Notoriously "difficult," The Sound and the Fury is actually one of Faulkner's more accessible works once you get past the abrupt, unannounced time shifts--and certainly the most powerful emotionally. Everything is here: the complex equilibrium of pre-civil rights race relations; the conflict between Yankee capitalism and Southern agrarian values; a meditation on time, consciousness, and Western philosophy. And all of it is rendered in prose so gorgeous it can take your breath away. Here, for instance, Quentin recalls an autumnal encounter back home with the old black possum hunter Uncle Louis:

And we'd sit in the dry leaves that whispered a little with the slow respiration of our waiting and with the slow breathing of the earth and the windless October, the rank smell of the lantern fouling the brittle air, listening to the dogs and to the echo of Louis' voice dying away. He never raised it, yet on a still night we have heard it from our front porch. When he called the dogs in he sounded just like the horn he carried slung on his shoulder and never used, but clearer, mellower, as though his voice were a part of darkness and silence, coiling out of it, coiling into it again. WhoOoooo. WhoOoooo. WhoOooooooooooooooo.

What Faulkner has created is a modernist epic in which characters assume the stature of gods and the primal family events resonate like myths. It is The Sound and the Fury that secures his place in what Edmund Wilson called "the full-dressed post-Flaubert group of Conrad, Joyce, and Proust." --David Laskin

[Prodigy discussion, June 1996]

WebBoard discussion, February 2002 Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (1 of 46), Read 92 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 08:24 AM I've finally gotten to this one, having put it off through pure intimidation. I know it has been discussed before, and I'll get to the archived discussion when I'm done reading it. I read the first Benjy section, tossed the book aside and went to the library to get cliff notes. That helped a lot, because there was just no way to understand who was who, much less what was going on, without help! I'm going to read through this book, and when I'm done, I'm going to immediately go back to page one and read it through again. I don't think this is a novel that can be understood or fully appreciated with only one reading. To be honest, I have a feeling that even two readings might not be enough. We'll see.. Anne Wilfong...I sincerely hope you join me in this. I think I'm going to need your help with this one. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (2 of 46), Read 61 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 10:52 AM Just keep driving right on through it, Beej. I will never, ever forget my first reading. It was an assigned text in college, and I had read no Faulkner previously. I was desperate because I had no idea what was going on. I find it so interesting that Faulkner's most admirable and appealing characters are black women. We mentioned this once before in connection with Sanctuary. In that regard Dilsey in The Sound and Fury takes the cake. I have a very mixed reaction to every character in this book except her--and Benjy of course. Well, come to think of it, I am also quite taken with the little black kid who has to baby sit Benjy. He is a little, tiny, bright guy who accompanies this large idiot around. The image of those two together amuses me for some sick reason. Steve
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (3 of 46), Read 58 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 11:37 AM This was my first Faulkner, too. Just like Steve, I had to read it in college. I plowed thru, just taking it like a bath. But I really enjoyed it on my 2nd reading whenever it was that we had our Faulknerfest here. However, I still recommend taking the Benjy section like a bath - just let those words wash over you. Pure poetry. Ruth "Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for the love of it, then you do it for a few friends, then you do it for money." Moliere
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (4 of 46), Read 61 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Robert Armstrong rla@nac.net Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 11:45 AM THE SOUND AND THE FURY was also my first Faulkner and still my favorite. Robt
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (5 of 46), Read 62 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 11:59 AM We had lotsa fun discussing this one, Robert. I wish you had been around then. Steve
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (6 of 46), Read 68 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 12:10 PM Boy, I wish I had been around then, too. I'm sure glad to get encouragement from y'all. Thanks. Ruth said: 'However, I still recommend taking the Benjy section like a bath - just let those words wash over you. Pure poetry.' Benjy: 'I could hear the clock, and I could hear Caddy standing behind me, and I could hear the roof. It's still raining, Caddy said. I hate rain. I hate everything. And then her head came into my lap and she was crying, holding me, and I began to cry. Then I looked at the fire again and the bright, smooth shapes went again. I could hear the clock and the roof and Caddy.' I ate some cake. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (7 of 46), Read 63 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Martin Zook mlzii@aol.com Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 12:24 PM >I still recommend taking the Benjy section like a bath - just let those words wash over you. Truer words were never written. My wife always compared reading Faulkner's stream of consciousness to letting a stream take the reader away. And it's only when you do that that you can experience the full value of the text. Stream of consciousness. It's how the mind works. And Faulkner does a masterful job of portraying what can't be portrayed because it's beyond words by writing about those flickering points of contact right before consciousness submerges into the subconsciousness. Speaking of idjits, isn't it interesting that this story begins in the mind of an idjit and, in Absalom, Absalom!, the story ends with the reader witnessing an idjit howling in the ashes of the great house?
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (8 of 46), Read 65 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 12:28 PM We got a little punchy after awhile in that discussion. I did at least. Beej, you can help me with some confusion about a character named Nancy in The Sound and the Fury, a character of the same name in a short story featuring Quentin, Jason, and Caddy called "That Evening Sun," and a statement about this character by Malcolm Cowley in his essay. So please keep track of Nancy references as you read, wouldja? In order to pose the problem that gave rise to my confusion, let me simply repost what I wrote on July 1 in some year of Our Lord: Well, dis sho nuf is a pretty mess I have made heah! I look in da big book, and it say, lets see if you can still see Nancys bones I havent thought to look in a long time have you. Den I look in da little book (Mistah Cowley), and he say . . . and we discover from an incidental reference in The Sound and Fury that the Negro woman whose terror of death was portrayed in "That Evening Sun" had indeed been murdered and her body left in a ditch for the vultures. Den I look furrer in de little book and sho nuf, that gal's name wuz Nancy. So I sez, "Dis mus be de spot." Well, den I look back in de big book. It say heah "Dogs are dead." Caddy said. "And when Nancy fell in the ditch and Roskus shot her and the buzzards came and undressed her." But den I axe myself, "What wuz de name a' dat young man in de little story?" De man wid the straight razor wuz a name a Jesus. Twarn't Roskus. Whas mo', and mo' partickly, back in dees times when de mule fall in da ditch and break hisself, we mos likely shoot 'im. But when de woman fall in de ditch, we mos likely try to pull her outta deah. So I's concludin' that Mistah Cowley don't know a damned thing he talkin' bout. Steve
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (9 of 46), Read 68 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 12:40 PM Steve, that particular reference to Nancy is in the very beginning of The Sound and the Fury, and when I first read about the vultures picking Nancy's flesh to the bone, I hoped to God that Nancy was a dog. But, I knew she wasn't. When the name of 'Jesus' was mentioned, I sat up and took notice, because the first thing I thought of when I read that Benjy was thirty three, was that Jesus was the same age when he was crucified. I think Benjy is also threatened with a reminder of Nancy's bones in the gutter, and I'll look for that section later today and post it..and I sure will keep an eye out for any other reference to Nancy. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (10 of 46), Read 71 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 12:47 PM You're a sport, Beej. Thanks. I remain fixated on this problem of whether Nancy is a mule or a woman, and I think it may be intentionally created by Faulkner as confusion in these children's minds--or Benjy's--but most certainly in mine. If you get a chance--and I know you have a lot of reading on your plate right now--take a look at the short story "That Evening Sun." It is a very famous Faulkner story and a perfect companion piece to this book. Also, congratulations on noticing Benjy's age and the significance thereof. Steve
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (11 of 46), Read 68 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 01:05 PM Oh boy. I just rummaged through bags of my books trying to find my copy of this one. Its the first Faulkner I read too, and I loved it. I would love to read this right now. May have to run out and pick up a copy. I am always taken by how many books have owed to Faulkner, but especially this one. Trainspotting, Beloved, Blood Meridian, True History of the Kelly Gang, Junkie. If only they owe because of style... Candy
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (12 of 46), Read 72 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 01:09 PM Well, I've spent the last half hour searching for 'That Evening Sun' online. I can't find it, but I'll pick it up from the library when I'm done with this book. I loved that piece I quoted where Caddy is devastated and Benjy is frightened and its raining hard. He cries but then eats his birthday cake. He really is, as one of the kids in the book says, "three years old for thirty years." Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (13 of 46), Read 64 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 02:30 PM Oh, Beej, "That Evening Sun" would still be copyright protected. Just pick up Collected Stories the next time you're at the library. Steve
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (14 of 46), Read 64 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Martin Zook mlzii@aol.com Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 02:34 PM Steve, That was funny. It also reminds me of Blotner's admonition against expecting cross-story references to be air tight. The Nancy quandry is new to me. From reading the posts here, I couldn't help but wonder if Faulkner wasn't driving at the sentient being common denominator; so made it impossible to determine whether Nancy was four legged beast, or two legged; instead chosing to emphasize that Nancy suffered.
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (15 of 46), Read 68 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 02:40 PM Thanks, Martin. I worked my butt off on it way back then. Those were the days, for example, when Haggart would post thousand-word notes at a crack. Great discussion. And then we got into an exchange about the use of dialect and Langston Hughes' views on that and James Baldwin. The good old days. Steve
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (16 of 46), Read 58 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 07:50 PM Beej, I'm a jump ahead of you! I finished this last week! What saved me during the Benjy section was the Faulkner web site for the synopsis of each narration. Also, check out The Portable Faulkner when you finish. There's an appendix in the back that summarizes the characters and what became of them. I thought Nancy was a cow! I'd better reread that. I did buy his short story collection, so I'll browse this tonight or tomorrow. I'll most more when I can. Anne
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (17 of 46), Read 58 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 07:55 PM And I thought Nancy was a ol' blue-tick hound! Ruth "Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for the love of it, then you do it for a few friends, then you do it for money." Moliere
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (18 of 46), Read 63 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 08:10 PM Anne, I'm so delighted you and I get to discuss another Faulkner! I just now got my copy of 'The Portable Faulkner' out of my bookcase. I thought I had read it all, but apparently I stopped after 'The Bear.' I hadn't seen the appendix and you're right! Most of the characters are summarized. Thanks.. AND! I just saw 'That Evening Sun' is in here, too. So, I'm all set. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (19 of 46), Read 67 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, January 31, 2002 10:27 PM The old light bulb in my brain went on tonight as I was going over Benjy's section again... It's not in chronological order! (I don't know how I could have missed that, but I did.) And, when a section is in italics, it means another 'time switch,' usually a flashback for Benjy, brought about by some sort of association to something happening in the present. Like fire. (Faulkner sure seemed to love fire. I think there's fire in each of his books I've read so far.) Am I right? I went back and re-read. NOW it makes more sense. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (20 of 46), Read 60 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Friday, February 01, 2002 10:43 AM Beej, As you read, take note of the dates used as chapter headings. Things bounce around a bit, but it all comes clearer in the end. Before I understood the time sequence and Benjy's narration, I was really confused by all the different caretakers he had. From Versh to TP to Luster, it was as much a jumble in my mind as it must have been in poor Ben's. Anne
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (21 of 46), Read 61 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Friday, February 01, 2002 10:53 AM . . .it was as much a jumble in my mind as it must have been in poor Ben's. I think that's exactly the point, Anne. Benjy himself has no concept of time, and therefore we jump around in time just as he does in his poor addled brain. Steve
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (22 of 46), Read 64 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, February 01, 2002 10:55 AM Hey, Anne! Well, once I figured out this chronology business, those various caretakers helped me sort out where Benjy was, time wise...I knew Luster was Dilcey's grandson, so when he was the caretaker, Benjy must have been an adult. By the same token, Versh and TP were Dilcey's sons, so when they were with Benjy, I knew he was a child. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (23 of 46), Read 63 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, February 01, 2002 11:38 AM (Ruth, I read your directions to William on how to post a jpg..let's see if I get it right.) 'William Faulkner A to Z is the first comprehensive reference to his life, including writings, characters, people, events, and ideas that influenced him as a person and a writer. More than 1,500 cross-referenced entries include synopses of Faulkner's fiction, poetry, and nonfiction; descriptions of characters in Faulkner's fiction; details about his family, friends, colleagues, and critics; real and fictional places important to Faulkner's life and literary development; and ideas and events that influenced his life and works.' I was reading thru the Faulkner site, and saw this became available in paperback last month! I'm off to Barnes and Noble to pick it up. (I am sooo darned proud of myself for getting that pix to post!..And they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks.. Thanks, Ruth!) Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (24 of 46), Read 57 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Martin Zook mlzii@aol.com Date: Friday, February 01, 2002 01:03 PM >first comprehensive reference to his life, including writings, characters, people, events, and ideas that influenced him as a person and a writer. I'm going to take a look at it, too. But, "first"? Ha. How unread do they think we are?
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (25 of 46), Read 65 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, February 01, 2002 02:59 PM I'm about half way through Quentin's section, now..I'm taking this novel nice and slow..and the references to 'shadows' is INCREDIBLE. In my mind, I see these shadows referring to time, past and future. Shadows from the past effecting the present, and as they do so, casting more shadows for the future, almost like a pre-destination. Quentin suffers so over Caddie, and tries as he walks, to step on his shadow and shatter it. But, no matter where he goes, there's his shadow right ahead of him. Anyway, that's my take on all these references to shadows, in both the Benjy and Quentin sections. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (26 of 46), Read 53 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, February 01, 2002 08:29 PM Water seems to have quite a bit of symbolic meaning, too, I think. Reading Quentin's section feels like slogging through mud, its just so difficult to witness his self-battering. Here's someone who seems to need everything lined up neatly in life, and all around him is chaos and disorder. Even little details out-of-order in life agitate his senses..like the broken feather on the hat of a woman on the bus (I knew when I read that, it would bother Quentin,and it did; he thinks of it later.) If only he could call out "mother, mother!".. Mother, in this case, would never have answered. She was too busy listening to herself. She screwed up these kids, more than anything else. The only real mother in this book was Dilcey. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (27 of 46), Read 49 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, February 01, 2002 09:21 PM I know I'm 'over-posting,' but I was reading thru the thread and had a thought. Martin, you wrote: . From reading the posts here, I couldn't help but wonder if Faulkner wasn't driving at the sentient being common denominator; so made it impossible to determine whether Nancy was four legged beast, or two legged; instead choosing to emphasize that Nancy suffered. I think you're right, but maybe it goes beyond that. Maybe Faulkner is driving at the idea that, yes, Nancy suffered, but suffer terribly or not, in the end all that will be left of any of us, is a bunch of dried out, undressed bones. Even in Quentin's section we are reminded of Nancy's bones. (I haven't read Jason's section yet, but I have a feeling they'll be mentioned there, too.) Faulkner kept the thought of those bones throughout this book for a reason, I'm sure. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (28 of 46), Read 38 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Saturday, February 02, 2002 08:53 PM Beej, While you're in the Quentin section...what do you make of his discussions with his Dad about women and virginity? And his own "confession" of incest with Caddy? (I hope I'm not spoiling anything here for you. But one thing I've found about reading Faulkner--Someone may mention a pertinent point on the board, and I'll either forget it or it won't mean anything till I actually read the part.) Anne
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (29 of 46), Read 39 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, February 02, 2002 10:01 PM You're not spoiling anything for me, Anne. I've only about 14 pages left to read. When I finish, I'm going to go back and read all the Benjy section again. Wow. That false confession of incest was something else. I think Quentin might have been trying to ease Caddy's sin of promiscuity. There was something that went on the line of..if he said it was incest, it would become true in his mind, and if it became true in his mind, it would become truth. And if his confession of incest with Caddy became the truth, she would again be pure. In a way, Quentin was also a Christ figure. His father believed woman were inferior to men and a natural evil. I think he didn't consider a woman's virginity important, because he didn't really think women were important. I think, since he felt women were by nature evil, it didn't surprise him, or even bother him, that Quentin and Caddy may have had an incestuous relationship. I think, tho he might not have considered it a normal thing, he thought it was a natural thing; simply, that any man can fall prey to the evil of any woman. In fact, he laughed. Are these anywhere near the same takes you had? I'm curious to hear what those here who are more knowledgeable about this book have to say about these two subjects. Quentin was obsessed with Caddy's promiscuity; she was the object of what seemed to be a 'Madonna complex.' And, when he seeks help for his anguish from his father, the elder Compson laughs and considers the entire thing a folly. Can you just imagine how that reaction sent Quentin over the emotional brink? The writing in TSATF is simply exquisite. I love this description, in the beginning of the fourth section, of Dilcey: 'She wore a stiff black straw hat perched upon her turban, and a maroon velvet cape with a border of mangy and anonymous fur above a dress of purple silk, and she stood in the door for awhile with her myriad and sunken face lifted to the weather, and one gaunt hand flac-soled as the belly of a fish, then she moved the cape aside and examined the bosom of her gown. The gown fell gauntly from her shoulders, across her fallen breasts, then tightened upon her paunch and fell again, ballooning a little above the nether garments which she would remove layer by layer as the spring accomplished and the warm days, in color regal and moribund. She had been a big woman once but now her skeleton rose, draped loosely in unpadded skin that tightened again upon a paunch almost dropsical, as though muscle and tissue had been courage or fortitude which the days or the years had consumed until only the indomitable skeleton was left rising like a ruin or a landmark above the somnolent and impervious guts, and above that the collapsed face that gave the impression of the bones themselves being outside the flesh, lifted into the driving day with an expression at once fatalistic and of a child's astonished disappointment, until she turned and entered the house again and closed the door. God, that's absolutely perfect. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (30 of 46), Read 39 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, February 02, 2002 10:25 PM What I really wonder about is why there wasn't a Caddy section. We heard about each of her siblings, but not her. I especially would love to know her thoughts about her mother. That mother did more damage to this family than any other character, I think. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (31 of 46), Read 32 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Sunday, February 03, 2002 04:25 PM Beej, You hit the nail on the head with the above passages about the incest and the Father's lack of concern for his daughter's (or any woman's) virginity. The Mom was a classic martyred Southern woman. Reminded me of my own Grandmother in her concern for only herself and her ability to manipulate a child to win him over to her side, so to speak. How could that horrible Jason ever have a chance? Did you read THE EVENING SUN yet? You'll get another glimpse into how pitiful she wants you to think she is. Faulkner must've patterned her after someone quite close to him--I'll probably need to read his biography to figure it out! I agree, I really wanted to hear Caddy's voice and her side of the story. She's the centerpiece of this work and we're left with everyone else's' take on her. Which is what WF had in mind, I'm sure--to make us hungry to know and understand. Anne
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (32 of 46), Read 31 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Janet Mego vsjego@cs.com Date: Sunday, February 03, 2002 06:13 PM Hi--I told Beej I'd throw in my two-cent's worth on this novel some time ago and haven't had a chance, but maybe this is a good place. I've always been so in awe of this novel that I almost can't stand to comment--it seems like the spell might be broken by attempts at analysis. I don't know if that makes sense or not. But ironically, the last points about Caddy's point of view being a missing piece and the idea that Faulkner WANTED us to feel that way, Yes, yes yes, exactly, I think. It's like she is the eternal mysterious enigmatic/tragic woman-force in this novel, and we get Benjy's reverence and two-dimensional love of her and Quentin's intricate and almost indecipherable love/hate-related incestuous (?) attraction to her, but she is not allowed to speak for herself, and it's not fair. But that is LIFE. She is to remain a mystery, a tragic one. In a thread some months ago, I THINK it was a thread on punctuation and the lack thereof to enhance an author's style (like in Joyce and Faulkner), I posted the section where Quentin and Caddy are arguing by the brook, about her promiscuity. I think the essence of Caddy might be there. Quentin is angry, desperate, accusing, threatening; she is gentle, sadly philosophical, resigned, almost apathetic. As a woman, she is locked into society's expectations vs her own persona and physiology. She is doomed to be torn and shredded by circumstance, and I think she knows it. What a crapshoot life, love and sexuality are. What a genius is this writer. Janet
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (33 of 46), Read 31 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Sunday, February 03, 2002 07:30 PM Janet, You can throw your two cents' worth in any time, okay? I love hearing your thoughts on this complex man and his complex, confounding works. What a master and genius, indeed! I agree with the feeling that you just can't analyze this. The words were meant to wash over you. The story and characters are felt deep, to your marrow. It's an imprint that you aren't consciously aware of, yet there it is when you come up for air. I'm in awe... Anne
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (34 of 46), Read 40 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, February 03, 2002 08:16 PM I'm in awe, too, Anne. When I finished the book, I had shivers running down my spine. My senses were overloaded, I think, trying to sort it out. It's just too big to fully comprehend. But, like Quentin, we want it all in order, and I don't think we can do that, anymore than Quentin could. Each of these sections, except the last, is the story of how one woman, Caddy, affected each brother's life. All suffer because of her, in their own ways. And yet, Caddie seems so gentle, vulnerable and hurting. At least for these brothers, Mr. Compson was correct, that 'man experiences tragedy only through someone else.' Poor, poor dear Benjy..waiting at that gate for Caddy to come home. God, what a deeply sorrowful thing when they had him castrated. My heart hurt for this manchild. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (35 of 46), Read 27 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Felix Miller felix3rd@bellsouth.net Date: Tuesday, February 05, 2002 08:06 PM I am coming late to this discussion, but I am enjoying every post. (Beej, there is no such thing as "overposting" on TSATF.) I remember Steve's inspired dialect rendition of the Mystery Of Nancy in the Ditch. Laughed hard then, harder now. I think my take on this question was that somewhere there was a reference to a draft animal (mule? horse?) named Nancy, and it was she that the birds "undressed" in the ditch. The floating time scheme in Benjy's section becomes much simpler once you realize the significance of the italicized passages. I believe that at one point Faulkner had convinced his publisher to print the sections in differing colored inks. I don't think that the colored ink idea lasted, though. In 1929 publishers had plenty of ways to go broke, they didn't need to mix ink colors in uncommercial novels. As mentioned above, the Appendix that Faulkner did for The Portable Faulkner helps immensely to clarify characters and time frames. It also has some fine scenes, especially the one between the librarian and the old Dilsey in Memphis, where the librarian has taken a wartime clipping of Caddy riding in a Nazi staff car. I expect that now my journey with all the Compsons will begin anew. I keep re-reading books lately, rather than take up new ones. I just finished the trilogy of The Lord of the Rings, which I last read in the late '60s. Some days you win. Some days you lose. Some days it rains.-Baseball Manager-maybe Earl Weaver. Felix Miller
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (36 of 46), Read 40 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, February 05, 2002 08:54 PM Felix, Gosh, I'm glad there's no such thing as over posting on this book because it has just about knocked me for a loop. The more Faulkner I read, the more I hunger to read! Steve, despite the fact that you had said you wrote that dialect post, I didn't realize you meant you WROTE it (for some reason I had thought you meant you had posted a quote) until you told Martin how hard you had worked on it. THEN I went back and re-read it..funny stuff! Brilliantly funny! I did go on to read That Evening Sun, but, nowhere did it mention that Jesus actually killed Nancy. There, were, however, many, many references to the ditch. Tho I do tend to believe Nancy in TSATF was a mule, and I do know comparisons between Faulkner's works turn up inconsistencies, I have a niggling feeling about this business. Who knows for sure whose bones they were. I think the death of Nancy in TSATF was before the grandmother's death, and in fact was the first experience of death any of these kids had. So, maybe Malcolm Cowley was right. The children might have been confused, reasoning, to take the liberty of quoting Steve: 'when de mule fall in da ditch and break hisself, we mos likely shoot 'im. But when de woman fall in de ditch, we mos likely try to pull her outta deah. Maybe the kids reasoned that it wasn't pulled out, so therefore, it HAD to be a mule... (Had any adults seen the bones? I don't think so...) Another question..did Jason murder Roskus? I've begun reading 'Absalom, Absalom!' and was delighted to meet up with young Quentin, again! (sorry, Anne. I know I told you I'd wait, but I couldn't help myself! But, I promise I won't post on it until you're ready!) Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (37 of 46), Read 28 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, February 05, 2002 09:09 PM Oh. One other thing; I did go back and read the Benjy section after I finished the novel, and beginning to end, it was as clear as a bell. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (38 of 46), Read 21 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 11:11 AM Beej, That's okay, read on and post as you need to before you forget things! I'm feeling pressure from library books and the new CR selection, but I'll be darned if AA won't end up in my hands sooner than I planned. I'll be there soon, I promise! Anne
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (39 of 46), Read 21 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 12:43 PM I agree that the Nancy in The Sound and the Fury is clearly a mule. The mystery lies in Malcolm Cowley's remarks about the book: . . . and we discover from an incidental reference in The Sound and the Fury that the Negro woman whose terror of death was portrayed in "That Evening Sun" had indeed been murdered and her body left in a ditch for the vultures. And a little later he says this woman's name was Nancy. I think he was mistaken. I know I seem fixated on this issue, but I can't help it. Steve This is a simple game; you throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball; sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains. --Crash Davis, Catcher, Durham Bulls, 1989.
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (40 of 46), Read 18 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 03:02 PM it's just so difficult for me to believe someone like Cowley would make that sort of mistake! But, it looks like that's exactly what happened. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (41 of 46), Read 20 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 03:16 PM Particularly when, as I understand it, he submitted his introduction to The Portable Faulkner to William Faulkner himself to read before publishing it. Steve
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (42 of 46), Read 15 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Felix Miller felix3rd@bellsouth.net Date: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 08:02 PM QUOTE:>>>he submitted his introduction to The Portable Faulkner to William Faulkner himself to read before publishing it.-Steve And what makes you think that Ol' Bill took time out from his whiskey to carefully proof (no pun intended) Ol' Malcolm's book? It has always seemed to me that what happened after he finished a book was more an opportunity for sardonic amusement for Mr. Faulkner than anything else. And, as WF said in a preface to (I think) The Town, he felt that his characters had changed in the interval between appearances in books, and that the reader would allow for this. This may apply to things like multiple references in different ways to names and incidents from earlier books. Of course, I could be all wet on this. Time for another Bushmill's. Heh. Some days you win. Some days you lose. Some days it rains.-Baseball Manager-maybe Earl Weaver. Felix Miller
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (43 of 46), Read 14 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Thursday, February 07, 2002 10:05 AM Point well taken, Felix. Let me join you at the bar, and try to forget about this. Steve
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (44 of 46), Read 24 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, February 07, 2002 10:34 AM Oh, great! You guys get me all hung up on this issue and then bail out and head for the bar! I was reading thru Malcolm's intro to 'The Portable Faulkner, and came upon a different reference to a 'Nancy.' I don't know if it's in 'Sanctuary' or 'Requiem For A Nun'..I tend to think it's the latter, tho...Cowley writes that Temple Drake calls a woman named Nancy Mannigoe "a n***** dopefiend whore." (Wasn't Nancy in 'That Evening Sun' an addict and a prostitute?) If this is the same Nancy, then Cowley has contradicted himself, especially if Temple said this in RFAN, which was written in 1951, long after those bones were written about in TSATF. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (45 of 46), Read 19 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Thursday, February 07, 2002 10:46 AM If I've said it once, I've said it a million times. That Temple Drake ought to be ashamed of herself. Steve
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (46 of 46), Read 25 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, February 07, 2002 10:48 AM (I don't think Temple Drake liked Nancy Mannigoe very much.) I'm going to step upstairs to that post and clean up her nasty language a bit. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (47 of 59), Read 36 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Thursday, February 07, 2002 08:59 PM I just picked up a copy of 'William Faulkner A to Z',and looked up 'Nancy.' It referred me to 'Mannigoe, Nancy.' There it says 'A character critical to 'That Evening Sun' and 'Requeim for a Nun.' In fact, this book quotes Faulkner as saying Nancy IS the nun. So there solves the mystery. Cowley was mistaken, just as y'all thought. Btw, this is a HUGE reference book! I'm really glad to have it. I would have expected it to be a whole lot more than $17.95. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (48 of 59), Read 24 times Conf: Constant Reader From: S.F. Strahan Date: Friday, February 08, 2002 04:56 PM I just finished this one and after reading the posts here I think I'm more confused. ;-) I thought the whole Quentin incest confession was true, not false. I mean the whole book sets up such an unbelievably close relationship between the two of them. Remember when her "beau" meets Quentin for the first time he says something to the effect that she'd talked so much about Quentin--and in such terms--that he was jealous and didn't realize until she actually introduced him that Quentin was her brother not an old boyfriend! (Or words to that effect.) I thought the reason Quentin was so tortured about the direction Caddie's life went was that he was in love with her (and I'm not talking brotherly love) and he was her "first", so it was agony for him to see that she had moved on to someone else. He badgers her with the question "Do you love him?" like he's afraid that she will say yes. I got the impression that as bad as it was that she had slept with someone else it would've been worse if she'd said that she loved the other guy, too. Of course, given how confusing and muddled the narrative is I could be mistaken about the incest being real. Maybe it only happened in his mind, maybe he lusted after her so badly that after a while he forgot that they didn't actually do it. Biblically, it would amount to the same thing...in God's eyes if you commit evil in your heart it's a sin as much as if you had actually committed evil. On an unrelated aside...was I the only one to notice how often the sense of smell was evoked in this book? It began with Benjy and a reference to him being able to smell things, as if his sense of smell was heightened in compensation for "sense" he lacked, but the references to smelling and to strong odors continues through all the narratives...with the three most prominent being honeysuckle, gasoline and camphor. It's an interesting leitmotif, but I can't really figure out what the significance of it is in the book as a whole. ~~Susan~~ "Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?" ---Winnie The Pooh
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (49 of 59), Read 34 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, February 08, 2002 07:41 PM Susan, Quentin approached Caddy with the idea of having sex (and/or a double suicide?). My take was that she agreed, and then at the last moment, it was Quentin who backed out. For what it's worth, I also saw the knife in that scene as a phallic symbol. When he dropped it, he was dropping any idea he had of incest. (I think the inclusion of that knife in this scene was loaded with TONS of symbolism.) I thought he was hoping she would say she loved these men she slept with. I thought Quentin figured if there was love involved, it would redeem Caddy, at least somewhat. I did notice the constant references to Benjy's heightened sense of smell, and thought maybe it was a tool to show just how severely mentally challenged Benjy really was...like an animal who uses its sense of smell as a primary means of identifying people, places, things, as well as emotions and death...sort of an anthropomorphism in reverse. By the same token, maybe this continuation regarding the sense of smell into the other sections is symbolic of these characters acting on pure animal instinct, the basic instinct of survival; for example, Jason and the smell of gasoline and camphor in the auto when he was chasing his niece after she stole 'his' money,...he was going on pure animal instinct. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (50 of 59), Read 26 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Saturday, February 09, 2002 12:11 AM Susan, Beej's note on this incest question is very good. For my own part, I remain convinced that the incest took place only in his mind. [See archived discussion of the book.] But that remains a matter of opinion. However. . . . Biblically, it would amount to the same thing...in God's eyes if you commit evil in your heart it's a sin as much as if you had actually committed evil. You don't really believe this New Testament thing, do you? Is there really no difference between deeds and thoughts? By way of caveat, I have big issues with St. Paul. In fact I think it was St. Paul that screwed up the religion. Steve
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (51 of 59), Read 24 times Conf: Constant Reader From: S.F. Strahan Date: Saturday, February 09, 2002 09:38 AM There are a lot of Biblical references in Faulkner and at least some of his characters are religious. Then, more so than now, most of the people would have been aware of the bit of theology I presented which is why I brought it up. It is something that would have surely been a part of Quentin's consciousness, part of the general zeitgeist. Regarding Quentin, incest, and the knife scene...incest was alluded to before this happened. I am now wondering if that whole scene wasn't about Quentin maybe realizing that he had corrupted her and started her down the path she was on and the only way he could see to right it and wipe out what they had done was to wipe out themselves. Am I right that Quentin (later) was a suicide? That's the impression I picked up somewhere in the last section. This book was really confusing and I'm going to have to read it again to sort if out, but it's so dark and grim that I don't think I'll be picking it up again anytime soon. About the sense of smell...I don't think it's related to pure animal instinct because the camphor is mentioned frequently in text about "Miss Cahline" and she'd not acting on instinct in the sections where it is..it's just noted in passing that she needs some camphor or something like that. Last night I had another idea about the use of these three particularly strong scents: honeysuckle, gasoline, camphor. I think they each might be tied to a specific emotion or condition of the characters. Honeysuckle to me seems a very sensual fragrance...and the plant is just rampant, covering everything (there's where a good argument of animal instinct comes in!). Gasoline: flammable, volatile, explosive. We get the gasoline odor when he's been in the fight, he's furious, violent...explosive. Camphor at that time was used as a medicine; I think it used to be the main ingredient in ointments for sore muscles or arthritis. Nowadays we use stuff with aspirin, menthol and eucalyptus. I grew up with a camphor tree in the backyard. I loved that tree. The bark, branches and even the leaves smelled so good, so spicy. OTOH I did some reading on blending scented oils and every reference to camphor referred to it as smelling "medicinal". I think the medicinal reference comes from it's use in medicines. When I smell camphor I think of carefree summer days of sunshine and youth. :-) It all depends on your frame of reference. Since camphor was medicinal, references to it could be linked to characters who were physically weak or ill. Some of you who are doing an immediate second reading of the book can check me on the references to specific odors being linked to the character's condition: physically weak, furious, sensual etc. ~~Susan~~ "Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?" ---Winnie The Pooh
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (52 of 59), Read 36 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, February 09, 2002 10:27 AM Susan I really enjoyed your post, and particularly your thoughts on the symbolism of the sense of smell in this book. I'll go thru the book again this afternoon with an eye out for any common thread with these smell references. Quentin did commit suicide, but interestingly, not with a knife (think 'phallic, phallic.'), He drowned himself. First we hear his laments of the lack of 'Mother, Mother.' Then a jump into the water..a symbol of the womb, maybe?..of baptism and spiritual cleansing? This intrigues me, this water business. A striking scene, one loaded with incredible symbolism, I believe, is the scene where as a child, Caddy gets muddy water on her underpants. I think this is tied in somehow with the idea of woman born evil. Isn't it Quentin who is most affected when she gets muddy? Boy, if that didn't carry straight thru his life, and into his death. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (53 of 59), Read 31 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Saturday, February 09, 2002 01:14 PM Yes, Susan, these are excellent notes that you are contributing. Beej, I think it is fair to say that the muddy underpants that Caddy crawling up that tree with muddy underpants is the most famous image in this book. It has been cussed and discussed again and again by the lit. crit. crowd. Incredible how much ink has been spilled in connection with those underpants. I point this out only to say that you are not the only one who is intrigued with the symbolism of that image. Steve
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (54 of 59), Read 28 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Felix Miller felix3rd@bellsouth.net Date: Saturday, February 09, 2002 04:52 PM Faulkner himself said that that image was the one from which the whole story sprang. The image of a child trying to do something forbidden, being somewhere inappropriate and being caught. From Faulkner in the University, a collection of lectures and classroom q & a at the University of Virginia: question: [since] Caddy figures so prominently, is there...any reason why you didn't have a section...giving her views or impressions of what was going on? response:...the explanation of the whole book is in that. It began with the picture of the little girl's muddy drawers, climbing that tree to look in the parlor window with her brothers that didn't have the courage to climb the tree waiting to see what she saw. Faulkner went on in the session to say that he didn't use Caddy's point of view because "...Caddy was still to me too beautiful and too moving to reduce her to telling what was going on, that it would be more passionate to see her through somebody else's eyes..." All of this is subject to the same caveat I voiced above, that WF was more concerned with writing his works than explaining them. Some days you win. Some days you lose. Some days it rains.-Baseball Manager-maybe Earl Weaver. Felix Miller
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (55 of 59), Read 33 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, February 10, 2002 11:32 AM Thanks, Felix. So, Faulkner didn't write Caddie's section because he felt it would have reduced her beauty and passion? Hmm. So, did her absence from this family make her 'larger than life' to these siblings, just as it does to the reader? Did it give her more emotional power over them? Over us? How amazing it is that he took one little scene and developed something with the magnificence of this novel from it. But, I suppose that scene says it all about Caddy and her brothers, if you think about it. She did have the courage to look at what was really going on in that family, set herself apart from her huddled siblings, etc. etc. Steve, I'd love to get my hands on some of that 'cussing and discussing.' I know there's a lot going on in that scene and that I'm only seeing the very smallest tip of the iceberg. Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (56 of 59), Read 29 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Monday, February 11, 2002 11:37 AM I have a couple of these lit. crit. books on Faulkner, but mine feature a good deal of psychological mumbo-jumbo. The one Sara has is the one that many of us looked to during our earlier reading. It is A Reader's Guide to William Faulkner: The Novels by Edmond L. Volpe and Edward L. Volpe. It was my impression that everyone liked that one a good deal. Steve
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (57 of 59), Read 22 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Monday, February 11, 2002 09:02 PM Thanks for the recommendation. I did an online search for this at Richmond's library's website, but they don't have it.. which sort of surprised me, since Faulkner was writer-in-residence at the University of Va. (tho I'm positive Charlottesville's library will have it, and I can request a transfer.) Beej
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (58 of 59), Read 19 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Felix Miller felix3rd@bellsouth.net Date: Monday, February 11, 2002 09:34 PM Steve said: In fact I think it was St. Paul that screwed up the religion. And besides that, he wrote very obscurantist prose. An abomination for those of us who value language. I can see Jesus sitting down to supper with Caddy, but can't believe He would have enjoyed breaking bread with Saul/Paul, egotistically self-described as "chief among sinners" [can't supply the reference at the moment, but will research) Some days you win. Some days you lose. Some days it rains.-Baseball Manager-maybe Earl Weaver. Felix Miller
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (59 of 59), Read 6 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2002 10:32 AM Yes, I did say that, didn't I, Felix. It may have been a bit of an overstatement because some of the epistles are now believed to have been written by someone else. No doubt that he wrote the two Corinthians and Romans. I intend to return to those in the near future with an open mind and as a result my amend my opinion. Still, it's tough to imagine him hanging out with Mary Magdalene. Steve
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (60 of 61), Read 16 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Felix Miller felix3rd@bellsouth.net Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2002 08:48 AM Steve said: ...it's tough to imagine him hanging out with Mary Magdalene. Heh. Yes, indeed. A little problem with the distaff side of creation, Paul had, I believe. For me, Mary Magdalene would be interesting to talk to. Also Brett Ashley, to veer completely off-topic. And into fiction again. But since the Conductor no longer conducts, off-topic is without consequences... Some days you win. Some days you lose. Some days it rains.-Baseball Manager-maybe Earl Weaver. Felix Miller
Topic: The Sound and the Fury; Wm. Faulkner (61 of 61), Read 15 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2002 10:57 AM Considering the heavy presence of Biblical references in Faulkner, it may not be all that much off topic. Steve Prodigy discussion, June 1996 To: ALL Date: 06/27 From: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Time: 9:48 AM THE SOUND AND THE FURY, William Faulkner *** To all who are, like myself, still struggling through the dense tangled thicket (replete with humidity) of TSATF, I offer this overview excerpted from the Monarch study guide: *** "THE SOUND AND THE FURY dramatizes a deterioration from the past to the present," says Edmund Volpe. "A tragic sense of loss is so predominant and pervasive in each section and in almost every scene, that it can be considered the basic theme of the novel--a theme similar to that of Eliot's 'The Waste Land." If Volpe is right and if that is the major theme of the novel, then it is much too large a theme to be considered by itself; other themes must be subsumed under it: modern life as a "paradise lost," or loss of innocence; life as a tale signifying nothing; man, if he is to survive, must endure. Let us examine the Faulkner-Eliot theme first. Both Eliot and Faulkner see modern society as materialistic and commercialized, where humanistic values have been routed by values of the marketplace and the countinghouse and man in his self-centeredness has rejected all the restraints, inhibitions, traditions, and values of the past for a patently finite, sterile existence. Both Eliot and Faulkner make use of the past to reveal the aimlessness and sterility of the present. Eliot, for his part, relies on historical or literary contrasts to evoke those specific (but universal) values man respected in the past: the meaningful, effectual rituals of primitive society (all over the world) in contrast to the meaningless, sham rituals of modern society; in fact, the disappearance of ritual (both spiritual and sociological) from modern life altogether. Without ceremony (especially the "ceremony of innocence," in Yeats' phrase, or faith), Eliot says, along with Yeats, "things fall apart." Faulkner, for his part, makes use of the past in a far less specific way; his values, according to some critics, are those of ante-bellum Southern society, particularly in TSATF. But Faulkner is not really that parochial; there is very little evidence in the novel itself of a nostalgic longing for the specific values of that time in Southern history. When Quentin vaguely refers to the values of a plantation society, it is only because he is actually a "romantic adolescent," rather than a Southern reactionary trying to turn back the clock to a self-contained, closed society completely insulated from all historical, social, and economic forces. For Quentin, the present, to be sure, appears to be a waste land, but the past that he (and Faulkner) longs for is not that distant past but the immediate past--"the world of childhood, innocent and idealistic..." One need but juxtapose the idyllic childhood of the Compson brothers and sister with their present life to feel and experience the deterioration, decay, and loss that modern life (in particular their generation, and Faulkner's) has bestowed upon them. And yet, as powerful as that theme may be, it derives most of its force from its applicability, not merely to the Compsons, one family, but to a much larger segment of humanity, and thus becomes, like Eliot's poem, a metaphor for the spiritual crisis of modern man... *** Clearer now? Good. >>Dale in Ala. =============== Reply 1 of Note 94 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 06/27 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 11:34 AM Dale: Am not at all sure I agree (at this point) that "Faulkner is not really that parochial". While he may not, primarily, have been celebrating all those ante-bellum values Volpe talks about, Faulkner's nostalgia was for a place and a time that was defined by those values. Something of a distinction without a difference to this non-southerner. Again, as a non-southerner, I have yet to "connect" with any of the characters or themes in TSATF -- although that Mr. Faulkner can certainly sling that ink with a bit of style. So far, TSTATF kind of reminds me emotionally of a wedding I attended down in South Carolina 25 odd years ago -- after we drank all night and the groom and his brother had a fistfight in the cotton field next to the house with the bride's two brothers, and we listened to the chickens screaming at the rising sun, and then we drank some more, I suddenly began to yearn for the road back north. Whatever its virtues (which I still hold to be debatable), I knew I didn't belong in that world. Dick in Alaska, thankful to all the CR's making this Faulkner experience possible =============== Reply 2 of Note 94 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 06/27 From: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Time: 12:02 PM Dick: Enjoyed (?) your account of the S.C. wedding; I've been to a couple of its counterparts before I learned that a greeting card w/check is much less hazardous to one's health. I'm reminded of Flannery O'Connor, early in her career, who was told by one of her aunts, "Flannery, now that you're beginning to have some measure of popular success I'd think you'd want to write about a better class of people." >>Dale in Ala., who isn't a Compson but sure recognizes them... =============== Reply 3 of Note 94 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 06/27 From: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Time: 12:33 PM Dick: I've still got a ways to go in TSATF, but at the risk of hair-splitting, it strikes me that terms such as "antebellum value system" are by necessity so broad as to be virtually meaningless in the abstract. It would be like someone from Germany or Greece making categorical statements about "life in America." Are they talking about life in Portland, or in south L.A.? In Sioux City, or the Hamptons? Etc. If there are any common values embraced by Americans in 1996, I haven't seen 'em. Likewise for the complicated fabric of Southern history: some aspects of it were unspeakably horrid, other aspects sublimely beautiful. We're talking thousands of locales and millions of human beings, each with a history totally unlike any other but equally as relevant to the "big picture" if anyone has the patience to view it from that ground-level perspective. While I think it's crucial that we know history and evaluate its good, bad, and ugly with a hyper-critical eye, I'm also convinced it's possible, even necessary, for both Faulkner and ourselves to be selective in our nostalgia; otherwise we fall into a bleakness and guilt so deep it serves nobody and nothing, least of all our collective futures, existing as we all do in this same leaky boat of the present moment. >>Dale in Ala. =============== Reply 4 of Note 94 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 06/27 From: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 2:08 PM Dale: Theoretically true, but maybe not practically so. After all, despite the fact that 'the south' is bigger than most nations of the world, geographically and otherwise, there seems to be a commonality of viewpoint among its citizens that leads to shared values and opinions, at least on a class basis (not suggesting that all the big house folk have much in common with the boys running at the 'Nehi 500' of course). If its an illusion, it is one that is projected with good effect on the rest of us. Dick in Alaska, considering Kurt Vonnegut's advice: be careful what you pretend to be, since you tend to become the pretence =============== Reply 5 of Note 94 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 06/27 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 2:09 PM Dale, I can't quote it exactly, but the nostalga you're speaking of reminds me for some reason of Ashley Wilkes' speech in the film version of GONE WITH THE WIND. He's just told Scarlett that he does indeed love her, but that he won't betray Melanie. Then he says something to the effect of he longs for a world that was ordered and he's watching the whole society and way of life that he once knew vanish from the face of the earth. Poigniant, tragic, and sad after a fashion. I believe that there were some aspects of the Antebellum South that we lost in the War that we should have hung on to. They're mythic, maybe, but isn't all the past? Like that word--honor. R. E. Lee probably exemplifies it better than anyone else; I think it's significant that nobody can really write about Lee and make his life make any sense in today's world. The contemporary accounts, per Shelby Foote, make Lee sound like some sort of god. And the affection and love his men had for him is amazing to me. It's as if the later biographers decided that they couldn't deal with Lee on Lee's own terms, so they set about to villify him, to bring him down to their level. I'm reminded of something else I read, this time from C. S. Lewis's THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS. Screwtape is giving advice to his nephew Wormwood about how to most effectively tempt a soul, and he says that the best way to go about attacking a religion is to degrade and demean its periphrial figures, like Paul and the other Apostles. Then, only then, can you attack Christ. I'm not sure where the analogy goes, but I don't guess I'm morally obligated to connect all the dots. --The Irrepressible DJP 6/27/96 12:43PM CT =============== Reply 6 of Note 94 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 06/27 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 2:10 PM Dale, I'd also maintain that Volpe is wrong about his first sentence. I'd agree with it completely if it had read "THE SOUND AND THE FURY dramatizes the deterioration of the past IN the present." I think it's a subtle distinction, but one worth making. You can also read the novel as a book about (on one level) time. Benjy has no concept of anything but the present. Quentin lives in the past (totally, obsessively so), and Jason is always looking to the future, so much so that he's rootless. In fact, and this has just struck me, Jason Compson may be the most "American" of all the characters in the book. All that remains is Dilsey, who sees the world in balance. --The Irrepressible DJP 6/27/96 12:49PM CT =============== Reply 7 of Note 94 =================  
To: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 06/27 From: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Time: 3:56 PM Dick: True enough. But it's still been my experience that generalizations are our biggest stumbling block in trying to understand the people of an era, region, race, civilization, religion, or gender different than our own. It's the old trap of the syllogism: Residents of Alaska believe X, Dick is a resident of Alaska, therefore Dick believes X. (More likely is the conclusion that Dick, being an independent thinker, *doesn't* believe X, but it's still an oversimplification.) What I'm after, I think, is an approach that honors the paradoxes of individual human lives above the more manageable shorthand of statistics. A subtle difference, as IDJP would say, but a very important one, especially to those on the receiving end. What say ye, Marty and all? Are you ever bothered by anyone drawing inferences about you because you're "a Tennessean," "an Iowan," "an Alaskan," "a Californian," "an attorney," etc.? And is this any different than referring to Southerners in the main? >>Dale, getting the picky stuff out of the way before the main Faulkner event... =============== Reply 8 of Note 94 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 06/27 From: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 5:26 PM Dale: I'd modify your syllogism just a tad: "All Alaskans believe 'X'; Dick is an Alaska lawyer; Dick may or may not believe 'X', but he will defend it to the death, for the usual exhorbitant fee." Dick in Alaska, who would feel very much at home as a member of any southern bar association =============== Reply 9 of Note 94 =================  
To: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 06/27 From: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Time: 9:58 PM THE SOUND AND THE FURY********************* I finished re-reading this book Sunday, and am full of thoughts that did not occur to me the first or second or third times through. Reading this book in a concentrated period of time, with few breaks, makes the Compson family an oppressive, enclosing little world of its own, mirroring in small the passions and pathos of the rest of humanity. The old Compson place becomes almost tactile, from the weathered, paintless boards, to the scent of honeysuckle, associated by the mad, lost son, Quentin, with his equally lost sister, Caddy, sitting with her beaux on the swing in the odor of honeysuckle. For those of you in the south, familiar with the rampant fecundity of honeysuckle, the association made by Quentin of sexual libertinism with the vine is not a far-fetched one. I have always found TSATF enormously satisfying to read, particularly in the multiple points of view. Faulkner said that the different narratives of the same events represented successive attempts on his part, each failing, to tell the story of the muddy-drawered Caddy. I don't think that is the whole truth, hardly surprising in a writer who never confined his fictionalizing to his writings. I think the story of Caddy, which is the story of maimed souls and inexorable history, would not have been complete with any one point of view, not even the omniscient one represented by the fourth section, which Faulkner described as his own attempt to tell the story he had tried to narrate through Benjy, Quentin and Jason. The story(s) revolves around Candace Compson, the fierce, flawed spirit who is doomed (a favorite word in this book for WF) by the history of her family and her region. That Caddy's own actions accelerate both her own fall and that of the Compsons' as a family is part of the doom that has hunted the Compsons down through multiple generations. Faulkner anatomizes the relationships of the present generation of Compsons with constant reference to their ancestors, both the glorious, infrequent success, and the more characteristic failures. In the four sections of the book as first published, there are asides and oblique references by all the "normal" Compsons to the oppressive, the receding shadows of forefathers. Benjy, of course, is free of the sense of past, if not of its effects. In the "Appendix" I referred to in an earlier note, Faulkner greatly amplifies the Compson lineage, giving capsule bios of each of them, with emphasis on the traits which resonate down to the last of the line, Jason IV, who by remaining childless has exerted his cold sanity in bringing to an end the Compson doom. As a patronymic, at least. I'm sure there are casual children in Quentin2's future. Once was more than enough for Caddy. I'm not sure how well I like the flash-forward in the appendix showing Caddy in WWII France. The idea of her as riding in a Mercedes, "...ageless and beautiful, cold, serene and damned," in the company of a German general, is quite believable. But I don't think it adds to the effect of the book. The genealogy, though, is fine, especially for those who are just grappling with the thick, tough intertwining vines of family relationships so temporally dislocated. I like the end of the original book; the last sight of a Compson we get is of the empty, cornflower-blue eyes of Benjy. Alpha and Omega of the Compsons. But I am falling into logorrhea, a natural outcome of being lost in Faulkner for several days in a row.[cont'd next note] =============== Reply 10 of Note 94 =================  
To: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 06/27 From: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Time: 9:58 PM [cont'd from previous note] I am not much in doubt, by the way, that WF in this book has made something universal out of a very intensely Southern scene and culture. I realize that the calculus of this particular geometry of the "human heart in conflict with itself" [WF's description of his subject in all his work] may be cryptic to those in other regions, but give it a chance, folks. Coeval with most everybody, Felix Miller =============== Reply 11 of Note 94 =================  
To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 06/27 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 10:26 PM Everybody, I had thought that I was going to skip this one. I haven't read any Faulkner since I did THE SOUND AND THE FURY and AS I LAY DYING when I was in college the first time. (Also THE RIEVERS?) That's 40 years. I remember zilcho about the books except that I found them hard slogging and it put me off Faulkner. But this discussion looks like it's going to be so fascinating I may go back to the library, return the 6 books I checked out yesterday and take out ONE book in their place, TSATF. Anyway, before things really get going here, and in light of the notes Dale posted from the Monarch Notes, I thought it would behoove us to revisit the Shakespeare quotation from which Faulkner took his title. It's from Macbeth and it'll be familiar to most of you, but it bears re-reading. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more; it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. Ruth, whose favorite Shakespeare is Macbeth =============== Reply 12 of Note 94 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 06/27 From: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Time: 10:49 PM Dale, Say what? So what we read about in TSATF is "...the idyllic childhood of the Compson brothers and sister..." It seems to me that the childhood of the Compsons is about as dysfunctional as they come. Jason falling on his face because he prefigures his grasping adulthood in keeping his hands in his pockets, Quentin mooning about like the suicide-in-waiting he is. And over it all, like an irritating thenody, the querulous, inflectionless voice of the mother from hell. The child is father (and mother) of the adult here, and in Faulkner's nonlinear time, the fathers and children are seamless. I think that the childhood of the Compsons is the place Quentin looks back on, for sure, but with a horrified impotence to overcome it. Oops, there go the endless loops of words again. Faulkner is catching. Felix Miller =============== Reply 13 of Note 94 =================  
To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 06/28 From: YHJK89A CATHERINE HILL Time: 1:09 AM The word and concept of "honor" are tempting, Marty, but actually come down to being almost an antithesis of Christianity. If you think about it, the whole "honor/shame" thing was really turned upside down in the Sermon on the Mount. And as for Southern honor - It may have been Mary Chestnut or a more anonymous writer quoted by Catherine Clinton or Elizabeth Fox-Genovese who wondered plaintively why a wife's committing adultery "dishonored" her husband when no "dishonor" attached if he did it himself! Wonderful control device, that concept. I admit Lee tried to act decently on any and all occasions, but he'll never be in my pantheon, and neither will any glory of the Old South. Hank Williams Jr. probably WOULD have it good if the South had won; the system benefitted only rich, white males, and he qualifies. The Monarch Notes passage, Eliot invocation and all, reminded me irresistibly of a much lighter poet, W.S. Gilbert - "The idiot who praises with enthusiastic tone/All centuries but this/And every country but his own" Cathy =============== Reply 14 of Note 94 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 06/28 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 3:30 AM Ruth, Thanks for the Shakespeare. Every time I am exposed to his language, no matter how many times I read it, I'm overwhelmed. The same is true of Faulkner. The mark, I think, of the masters. By the way, it's Foote's position that Faulkner was every bit as good at descriptive writing as Shakespeare. Do you guys agree? --The Irrepressible DJP 6/28/96 2:00AM CT =============== Reply 15 of Note 94 =================  
To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 06/28 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 3:30 AM Felix, What a penetrating analysis. Don't believe I could have done any better if I tried, so let's just say that for now, I agree with you. I'll see if I can find some quibble to expound upon. But right now, I don't see anything. --The Irrepressible DJP 6/28/96 2:04AM CT =============== Reply 16 of Note 94 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 06/28 From: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Time: 1:35 PM Marty & All: I was a terrible student of literature in college (with the grades to prove it), largely because I could never get my mind around the issues that the questions in the back of the book considered supreme: sociological, political, thematic, ad infinitum. And that's certainly true for me with this Faulkner novel. My selfish focus has always been on the language, the voice, the wonderful anticipation of a gifted writer suddenly breaking into a realm where the language transcends itself and its maker--sends a thunderclap through your brain and bloodstream, and permanently alters in some small part the way you view the world. To me that's certainly in evidence in the later chapters of TSATF, maybe even more impressive by contrast after finally surfacing from the purposely disjointed Benjy section. One example of many, from the Quentin chapter: "I dont suppose anybody ever deliberately listens to a watch or a clock. You dont have to. You can be oblivious to the sound for a long while, then in a second of ticking it can create in the mind unbroken the long diminishing parade of time you didnt hear. Like Father said down the long and lonely light-rays you might see Jesus walking, like..." The artists who move me most aren't the most polished, or entertaining, or facile, but the ones pushing the envelope of their particular form--as the critic who said of Beethoven that his music "reached out to touch the hand of God." Of the living authors I've read, it seems to me that Cormac McCarthy (who is mentioned here from time to time; have you read him? ) is most brilliantly pushing the envelope now, but each generation builds on others and it's clear he was affected by Faulkner's amazing achievement. Which brings me to my particular devil's advocacy of the moment (I think it's a mineral deficiency, folks; I just made a vitamin-shop run, so please be patient until the chromium and potassium kick in): I wonder if we don't do writers a disservice by expecting them to create such transcendent stuff as above in their spare time from being well-rounded, compassionate, model citizens? Not to endorse pathology (though I've got a vested interest in doing so ), but I think it's easy to underestimate the merciless intuitive and emotional high-wire that writers of his caliber perform on, daily, in their awful solitude--the single-mindedness that it takes to achieve on that level, in any endeavor, and the inevitable emotional stunting and blind spots that result. It's like expecting a world-class athlete to walk off the playing field and sound like William Jennings Bryan in the post-game interview, or a soldier/policeman to walk straight from the horrors of the battlefield/mean-streets, flip a mental switch and start teaching Sunday School. It's not gonna happen in this imperfect world. When Faulkner said "Any writer worth his salt would sell his grandmother for a good paragraph," I don't think he was being anti-granny (though there's probably a special interest group who feels otherwise) but rather commenting on his--and by extension, any serious writer's--priorities in view of a viciously difficult undertaking. I feel sorry for anybody who "can't separate the artist from the art," for whatever reasons, as they're doomed to miss some of the most rewarding pleasures in life. I've got a small shelf here reserved for books by totally lovable, kind, far-sighted, and blameless authors, and at present it's occupied solely by a quarter-inch of dust. (And not even a biding, dreamy, and victorious dust, at that...) >>Dale in Ala. =============== Reply 17 of Note 94 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 06/28 From: NPVX84A MARIA BUSTILLOS Time: 8:57 PM Dear Shaman, so beautifully put. I think a distinction should be made between loving someone's work and loving his manner of living, his politics, his habits. One is an aesthetic judgement, the other historical, or moral, for lack of a better word, and they are not mutually exclusive. Isn't it possible to loathe the man and love his work?? Picasso comes to mind; also Beethoven, Boswell, Tolstoy, Bacon, Gide, Waugh, and Ruskin. This is just off the top of my head!! The surprising thing really is when one finds a writer or artist whom one can admire personally as well as professionally. =============== Reply 18 of Note 94 =================  
To: NPVX84A MARIA BUSTILLOS Date: 06/29 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 0:11 AM M: In point of fact, I think most driven, highly talented people tend to be somewhat loathsome, and get more so, as their success increases. Certainly the examples you cite fit that pattern. How Dale has remained so loveable for so long, as he slides helplessly toward fame and fortune, is something of a mystery. Perhaps it's the old saw, 'tis the exception that proves the rule. Anyway, on this Faulkner thing. When, exactly, did Quentin have his sex change operation? Or do these southern literary deviates run around naming EVERYONE Quentin? Dick in Alaska, where we label boys and girls to suit =============== Reply 19 of Note 94 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 06/29 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 0:57 AM Dick, When did you notice this certain suspicious duality? I guess that means you're somewhere near the tale end of Benjy's section. If you really want to know, I'll tell you what's going on. Unless Steve forbids it, that is. --The Irrepressible DJP 6/28/96 11:51PM CT =============== Reply 20 of Note 94 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 06/29 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 2:12 AM Marty, We were supposed to catch on to this Quentin/Quentin duality by the end of Benjy's section? I must be a little slow on the uptake. I figured Benjy, being a few players short of a team, just wasn't that good at keeping the sexes straight. I just caught on now, at the beginning of Jason's section. Funny thing, I remembered this as being a massive book. It's not too big at all. I may finish by bedtime. Ruth, who wouldn't mind a score card, seeing as the Redlands Public Library didn't have any annotated copies. =============== Reply 21 of Note 94 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 06/29 From: NMTT86A JAMES HEATH Time: 9:39 AM The answer to the Quentin/Quentin problem is that there are 2 Quentins as revealed in the Appendix Faulkner wrote later. There is Quentin, Caddy's brother, and Quentin, Caddy's daughter, who was named for that brother. There are also a couple of earlier Quentins in the family tree. The Appendix is at the front of my edition and is certainly the scorecard you need to tell all of the players. A few interesting issues : 1. Is the world being destroyed by the materialism of the present? 2. Do great writers have to be jerks? 3.Is it fair to consider a writer's life in relation to his work? MATERIALISM: Whether it is antebellum South or antebellum Europe, we all have a tendency to idealize the past. The past we idealize is the past of the aristocrat who didn't have to work to support himself. Unfortunately, while Mr. Darcy was courting Miss Bennett, my ancestors were living in one room unheated cottages, working 18 hour days, and dying young from preventable diseases. While Scarlett and Rhett were recovering from the war, my ancestors were scraping by on subsistence farms. In spite of the Monarch notes, I think Faulkner saw this pretty well. His characters may idealize the past, but he doesn't. All of us would like to be Bertie Wooster with no job and no greater concerns than the color of our socks, but that's not how things work. WRITERS AS JERKS I don't really believe that you have to be a jerk to be a great writer. Working in isolation at a high emotional peak may produce certain unpleasant habits, but those habits are pretty equally distributed throughout the population. The writer's reputation is due more to the fact that his life gets a lot more attention than those of the mass of humanity. Every time he has a bad day or makes a bad decision, it gets highlighted and preserved for eternity. My personal delusion is that I am a better person now than I was 5 years ago, but if I were a writer that person 5 years ago would be ME. WRITER'S LIFE & WRITER'S WORK One of the central tenets of literary criticism in my college years was that it is absolutely WRONG to consider a writer's life in connection to his work. His or her personality has nothing to do with the text. This has always struck me as silly. A fellow spends the better part of his life writing books and we pretend that the books having nothing to do with who he is. I think the books are exactly who he is. Robert Frost may have been cold to his children, but he is also someone who could feel the sentiments behind "The Death of the Hired Man". There is a lot to be gained from considering the contradictions. I'll dispose of all of the other burning issues in the world in my next note. --Jim in Oregon =============== Reply 22 of Note 94 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 06/29 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 11:14 AM IDJP: Nah, don't spoil it. I think I've deduced there are two distinct Quentins here, one a girly sort and the other a baby boy sort. The girly sort appears be making out with a guy while Benjy is being towed around on his 33rd birthday, and she is also being yelled at periodically by a grownup Jason. Apparently Daddy's dead by this time, and anybody with any sense is wishing Momma would go join him. The baby Quentin in flashback is apparently the same Quentin who is now doing Daliesque things with Grandpa's watch in Chapter II. This grownup Quentin appears to be contemplating suicide, dropping out of school, or something equally desperate, but I'm not sure yet. Dick in Alaska, plowing a head =============== Reply 23 of Note 94 =================  
To: NMTT86A JAMES HEATH Date: 06/29 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 11:14 AM Jim: Ah, you spoiled it. Anyway, Caddy has a daughter, eh? Being raised by Jason? Who was going to be made into a banker by Caddy's fiance? Who always had his hands in his pockets and kept toppling over? And I know they're selling off land to send the real Quentin to Harvard, and are all living, cheek to jowl, in one house like a bunch of Russian immigres. A house so small, apparently, they don't even have an attic in which to lock poor Benjy, who has to be moved from room to room, howling. Really, this is just like that trip to South Carolina. All I want is a nice clean room at the Howard Johnsons, to get away from all these nutty people (at least Benjy has a nice genetic/biological excuse). Dick in Alaska, enjoying this but not at all sure Faulkner is his particular cup of Four Roses =============== Reply 24 of Note 94 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 06/29 From: UPDQ58A PEGGY RAMSEY Time: 12:50 PM Sir Richard, I am enjoying your reactions to Faulkner, mostly because they are identical to my own. I was getting whiplash by the end of the Benjy section. I think Faulkner had done an admirable job of portraying what might be inside the mind of a (oh, what is the PC term these days!) mentally handicapped individual -- I just wonder if we needed to see that much of it. Less might have been more. I'm also surprised to find that the writing hasn't gotten a whole lot clearer in the next section. At the risk of exposing my own gaping ingnorance, does anyone have any thoughts on why this is? I mean, I'm a hundred pages in, and I've barely gotten the characters straight. Is this "Art," as opposed to "Story?" Why is Bill making us work this hard? Peggy, taking comfort in the fact that she was this confused at this point in THE WHITE HOTEL too.... =============== Reply 25 of Note 94 =================  
To: UPDQ58A PEGGY RAMSEY Date: 06/29 From: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Time: 1:08 PM Hi Peggy -- I guess I find it easiest to try not to sort things out more than they're "sortable" at any given moment. The thing I like about the Benjy section is how the connections between "episodes" of course fly in the face of how most of us make connections in our own lives. The sight of the river, the smell of Caddy's hair, the endless procession of funeral, wakes, weddings, and parties, lead seamlessly from one memory to another for Benjy, from waking reality to memory and back again, so that it's difficult to tell where one begins and the other ends. Given the world Faulkner is describing, in which all the assumptions about how life was organized with its "set" connections, and given that that world was then blown apart, leaving people to reinvent their connections with each other, reorganize their lives, we're left wondering if Benjy's way of organizing the world (in terms of his senses) isn't as reasonable as, and indeed more stable than, anyone's. Also, I think it's interesting that Benjy doesn't really distinguish between who's black and who's white (you deduce this from the things the people say to each other), whose fortunes are up and whose down (you deduce this from the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, distribution of power) -- Benjy simply "records". In its own way maybe a tale told by an idiot is the most "objective" history there is. Lynn =============== Reply 26 of Note 94 =================  
To: UPDQ58A PEGGY RAMSEY Date: 06/29 From: KWWP63A SARA SAUERS Time: 2:36 PM Peggy & All: I, too, was expecting some clarity in the second section. This is tough. Bordering on reader cruelty, I would say. Benjy's was actually an easier section for me to read. Not because of its clarity, but on an emotional level. At least he found a few moments of comfort. (The smells were okay again sometimes.) The trip through Quentin's mind absolutely drained me. This man got no break at all. No escape from his own relentlessly obsessive mind. I could barely sit still to finish this section. I wanted to run and jump into freezing Lake Michigan to free myself from HIS despair! LET ME OUTTA HERE! Instead I am writing this. And instead of complaining about feeling clueless about the "story" at this point, I should probably be admiring Faulkner for being able to get this pre-suicidal mind down in writing. I mean, I really don't even know what this book is all about, but I find myself responding strongly simply to the way the minds of Benjy and Quentin are processing. And Richard, my brave friend, thank you for bringing up that Quentin/Quentin sex-change deal. That one really put me over in the frustration category last night. And of course, self-confident soul that I am not, I was so sure this was making sense to everyone else! I even considered: 1) that I had mistaken Quentin for a male in the first place by reading poorly, and 2) that this pronoun had been mis-printed a few times in my edition!! Marty, NO FAIR GLOATING!! Whew. Perhaps a swim is in order before taking on Jason's mind. -Sara =============== Reply 27 of Note 94 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 06/29 From: WSRF10B SHERRY KELLER Time: 2:59 PM I'm in the Jason section now, and I haven't posted anything yet because I didn't want to sound stupid. I'm so glad, Richard, that you mentioned the Quentin gender question. My book doesn't have the appendix in it and I thought maybe I just wasn't able to keep track. I found a great Web page, the William Faulkner Page. It has synopses of all his books and it has a whole lot of stuff about TS&TF (which I haven't read yet as that would be cheating). That was where I saw the Geneology (which I DID read) and realized my confusion was well-placed and not some defect in the part of my brain that keeps these things straight. Well, to my point. Does anyone here wonder why (& how) Faulkner wrote the way he did? Do you think he sat down and deliberately decided where NOT to put punctuation? or do you think the thing just flowed out of him? Was this style confusing deliberately? I expect the answer is "yes", but now I ask, what kinds of reasons would he have to make the Quentins get all mixed up (like the smell of honeysuckle) in our (the readers') minds? I'm sure the dreamlike quality and the mixed-up times and the confusion are all of what make him a "genius". But why? In my youth I have read ABSALOM, ABSALOM, AS I LAY DYING and THE HAMLET. I don't remember ever being this confused. Maybe old age wants (P.S., my spellchecker changed all the "Quentins" to "Questions". I thought that was fitting.) =============== Reply 28 of Note 94 =================  
To: WSRF10B SHERRY KELLER Date: 06/29 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 3:32 PM All: Just finished the Quentin section and nodded off. Now I'm up from my nap and feeling much better. Is the silly little sod going to jump in the river or not? Otherwise things going fairly smoothly. (asbestos?) As to style, it seems Faulkner is pretty heavily into this stream of consciousness stuff, sort of like Joyce, except that 'south speak' isn't quite so impenetrable as 'Dublin-speak'. In some ways it seems very reminiscent of the Ondaatje we've read, except that I don't find the story or characters in Faulkner very accessible. Too archaic, too remote culturally from me, I suppose. So, did Caddy have an abortion or just a baby? Did she really boink every guy in town , except apparently, Quentin? Is Quentin II Caddy's daughter? Would it be too much for Quentin II to be Caddy AND Quentin I's daughter? I vote yes, that would be too much, but who knows what evil lurks in the honeysuckle, along with Nancy's bones. Dick in Alaska, forging ahead (which is quite different from 'plowing a head' which is probably some sort of obscure southern usage that my subconscious plucked out of my reptile brain) =============== Reply 29 of Note 94 =================  
To: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Date: 06/29 From: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Time: 3:35 PM Lynn, Great note...I've finished TSATF, but am thinking that I've got to go back for a reread as it is being discussed. I gave up trying to fit together the puzzle pieces about half-way through the Benjy section and just plowed ahead letting the pieces drop in place where they would. And, it was a very frustrating section for me until I looked back at it from the perspective of the rest of the story. Then...I had much the same reaction to his sense of immediacy as you did. And, I found myself admiring the way Faulkner understood that everything was now to him, including his memories that he couldn't perceive as only memories...and then the juxtoposition of how past and present fit together could be seen more clearly than when we insist on chronological order. A question for all...I picked up my edition of this book at a used book store quite some time ago and didn't pay much attention to it. However, now I'm noticing that it purports to be "The Corrected Text". The publisher's note says that it "is based on a comparison--under the direction of Noel Polk--of the first edition and Faulker's original manuscript and carbon typescript." Any comments on the significance of this? Barb =============== Reply 30 of Note 94 =================  
To: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Date: 06/29 From: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Time: 5:19 PM Barbara, I first saw one of those "corrected text" editions this week, after finishing my reading of an older Modern Library edition. After looking at the changes listed in the back of the book, I don't know that anything major is happening with these changes. Some changes simplify individual sentences, some amplify other sentences. The usual comment on WF's style being that his sentences go on forever, probably most readers would opt for more reduction of length. You are right, I think, to have just "plowed ahead" with reading the Benjy and other sections without too much effort at placing every event and reference before going on. My own theory on the placing and style of each section is that there is a progression from formlessness to order in the sections as presented. Benjy is incapable of organizing his memories in time or any other way; he functions as a sort of unedited recorder of events. His section also covers the most ground, and every important event, usually by direct observation. Quentin and Jason provide two very structured views of the material that flowed through Benjy's mind without alteration or comment. The fourth section, from an omniscient viewpoint, focuses on the events of the final day in the time period covered by the book. The fourth section would have made no sense if we had not read the three previous sections. In fact, only the first section would give you the story by itself, although not in nearly the depth it does with the other sections. Faulkner said, as I noted in the post earlier, that each section was a fresh attempt to tell the story, all of which failed. One of the reasons I feel that WF was being a little playful in this remark is the interconnectedness of each section, and their dependence on the order they appear in for the effect they have.The exception to this is the appendix, which Jim Heath mentioned was in the front of his edition. That was a great idea on some editor's part. I wish my first reading of TSATF had been like that. I can't see any point in the confusion of characters, it doesn't really help or illuminate the story. Felix Miller (http://caladan.chattanooga.net/~dreedle) 6/29/96 4:34PM ET =============== Reply 31 of Note 94 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 06/29 From: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Time: 5:19 PM Sir Richard, I wanted to tell you how enjoyable your posts on TSATF are. I have laughed at every one of your comments. Evidently you are one of the many who does not have the appendix in your edition, which would clarify the character identifications for you. Somewhere I've read that WF told Malcolm Cowley, who instigated the writing of the appendix, that the book would have been better with the appendix to start with, that it made everything come together "...like the touch of a magician's wand." Faulkner probably exaggerated the clarity possible for a first-time reader of this book, but the appendix is a great help. As for the remoteness of the story and characters for you, this is of course a matter of individual preference. All literature eventually becomes inaccessible due to age, even Shakespeare will someday be read exclusively by specialists in the study of Elizabethan culture. TSATF is about the destruction of a family through emotional sterility and individual acts of cruelty. That the family involved is southern matters, positively or otherwise, to some people, to others it does not. There are many books, and many readers, so the caravan moves on. I hope you will continue your comments to the end of the book; I look forward to your comments on Jason. Felix Miller (http://caladan.chattanooga.net/~dreedle) 6/29/96 4:58PM ET =============== Reply 32 of Note 94 =================  
To: KWWP63A SARA SAUERS Date: 06/29 From: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Time: 5:19 PM Sara, Surely Marty will not gloat over your confusion. I think deliberate blurring of characters would be cruel, too. I don't think Faulkner was intending quite that sort of effect, although even with this confusion you obviously felt very deeply about the characters he created. So the book is working for you, although needlessly obscure at times. Please hang in there. Oh, and after Jason's section, you will want another swim, probably, but for different reasons. Cleansing yourself of the lingering taste of a unrelievedly despicable character. Courage, Felix Miller (http://caladan.chattanooga.net/~dreedle) 6/29/96 5:20PM ET =============== Reply 33 of Note 94 =================  
To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 06/29 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 9:36 PM Felix: Funny you should ask about Jason, Jr. Some sort of minor bug has laid me up today so I've been napping and reading and just finished the Jason chapter. He is truly one of the great twirps of literature. Could easily have wandered in from Dickens, just as the ancestral Compsons limped across the sea from England. Reminds me a great deal of Nigel Terry's portrayal of Prince John in "Lion in Winter" -- if only the prince had a job in a rural Mississippi hardware store and could steal money from a minor ward. Hard to know here to start with this guy -- he is so despicable, so Jax beer sullen and resentful, so cloyingly self-congratulatory, such a MODERN southern sort of guy. I can tell you honestly, that the Alaska trailer court business would be flat on its back, but for the Jason Compsons who have immigrated to our fair country. Which is not to say we are ungreatful for the rest of the country's sharing with us -- trailer parks are an important part of our local industrial base. Now, style and story. We certainly are out of the stream of consciousness weeds aren't we? But of course increased clarity of narration doesn't change the horrifying flaws in the Compson family -- Jason who is, theoretically, whole and sane, sees no more clearly that did poor old Benjy or waterlogged Quentin I. Fear not, o' happy grain grinder on the mountain -- I'm not giving up on this one by a long shot. While I may not love these characters, this is one hell of a book and with writing to match. And when we're done, there's some more questions I have about this Faulkner guy -- like why does he bury himself in Mississippi? Why does he flee the cosmopolitan experience, except through literature? Dick in Alaska, wading into Part IV =============== Reply 34 of Note 94 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 06/29 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 10:38 PM All, Finished up TSATF this morning after breakfast. Why did I remember it as so difficult when I read it before? It wasn't that bad, especially if you compare it with something like ULYSSES. Someone here remarked that they saw Joyce in Faulkner. I doo, too. I agree with Lynn and Barbara that when reading stream of consciousness stuff like the Benjy chapter and parts of the Quentin chapter, it's best to just go with the flow. If you stop trying to jam every piece of the jigsaw in place immediately, most of it will sort of fall together of its own accord when you have enough of it under your belt. The Benjy chapter, which people are moaning about here, was my favorite part of the book. I'll reread that this evening just for the fun of it. I wonder how it would read with line breaks, like poetry. I found Quentin's stuff the most difficult part. Maybe it says something about me, that I'm able to get into the mind of a Benjy easier than the mind of a suicidal obsessive. And Dick, I wasn't at all sure that Caddy wasn't boinking (as you so delicately put it) her brother. Quentin-she's genesis is extremely murky, and I think meant to be so. Jason, of course, is pure unadulterated essence of sonuvabitch whose only redeeming characteristic is that he's readable. Lynn, I don't think Benjy's mind works that differently than ours. Haven't you ever found yourself thinking of something and wondered "How did I get to this?" Sometimes it's fun to trace all the baggage cars in your train of thought backwards and discover the links. Our minds dart all over the place all the time. (At least mine does. ) It's just that we realize what's going on and Benjy doesn't. Ruth, in southern California, where summer roared in with temperatures over 100 and strong breezes that have me scanning the hills for smoke =============== Reply 35 of Note 94 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 06/29 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 11:42 PM Well, I'm done, if not actually done for. A truly interesting book and reading experience. I loved the ending: Jason, Jr. leaping into action, completely unchanged, to bring meaningless order out of the meaningless chaos. As long as the world passed by Benjy, from left to right, all would be well. The merry-go-round spins on and only the Caddys and the Quentins get off. I'm curious about this appendix version -- who published it? I could probably just read that over a latte at Borders (our new Barnes and Noble opens in just a few days -- I'm so excited). Does it cast any light on a theory I'm developing: that it was Caddy's departure from the merry-go-round that brought about the ultimate collapse of the family? As long as the players stay on the stage, then the idiot's tale can go on, uninterrupted. But one missing actor, and voila! Chaos on the golf course! Kind of a silly theory maybe, but all I've come up with so far. I do believe that this book has among the most intellectually satisfying structures of any book I've ever encountered. Consider the fragmentary, chaotic (three times now I've used that word in this post, but it seems nothing else will do) nature of Benjy's chapter -- but the information is all there, internalized and consistent, brilliantly scattered by the author. And then the Quentin chapter, with the stream of consciousness and movements in memory and time; same thing, with such extraordinary attention to detail. And the final two chapters, bringing it all together in more traditional narrative forms, and neatly finishing out a rather exciting story and chase sequence. All this, and Faulkner (according to my encyclopedia article he was born Falkner and put in the 'u' later, for literary reasons. Comment?) did it when he was about 30 years old. Hell,I couldn't have READ that book when I was 30 years old. Next time: Universal themes or just a case of local boy makes really good? ============== Note Dick in Alaska, mightily impressed in spite of all those snide misgivings =============== Reply 36 of Note 94 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 06/29 From: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Time: 11:51 PM Ruth -- You're right, of course, that our minds do work just so. Perhaps the difference is that we continually attempt to make sense of our histories, are constantly shuffling our sensations, then ordering and reordering and shuffling again, While Benjy's mind is like an endless tape, ever recording, never editing. Dick, I like your theory that it was Caddy's departure that sent all the players spinning out of their orbits, as if she had exercised some kind of centripetal force on them, by her very presence. But what is this appendix version? Sounds interesting... Lynn =============== Reply 37 of Note 94 =================  
To: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Date: 06/30 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 1:50 AM One thing I forgot to mention. The same story from four viewpoints. Remind anyone of RASHOMON? Ruth, who has broken through her Faulkner barrier PS I don't think the "omniscient" (sp?) narrator in the fourth section is probably any more reliable than anyone else =============== Reply 38 of Note 94 =================  
To: KWWP63A SARA SAUERS Date: 06/30 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 4:13 AM Sara, I'm NOT GLOATING. I've read the book before. I'm one of the lucky ones, but I must admit to being jealous of all you who are picking up TS&TF for the first time. I adore that book! I don't know how Faulkner was able to get these folks inside my head the way he was; they still haunt me, especially Caddy. She (to me) is the best drawn character in the book, and she doesn't have her own section. Remember that Faulkner called her "my heart's darling." And guys, be brave, and let the book wash over you. Take it on the visceral level it's offered, and keep reading. By all means. --The Irrepressible DJP 6/30/96 2:21AM CT =============== Reply 39 of Note 94 =================  
To: WSRF10B SHERRY KELLER Date: 06/30 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 4:13 AM Sherry, Faulkner's chaos is quite ordered in its own way. On a second reading, the book became to me even more a marvel that it was after the first. he's examining perspective in the book, and that doesn tend to make the chaos pay off. --The Irrepressible DJP 6/30/96 2:23AM CT =============== Reply 40 of Note 94 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 06/30 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 4:13 AM Richard, Quentin II is indeed the daughter of Candace (or "Caddy"). As to the other thing, well, nobody ever says for sure...but Quentin I intimates that he slept with her if my memory serves. Or at least that he would have. --The Irrepressible DJP 6/30/96 2:25AM CT =============== Reply 41 of Note 94 =================  
To: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Date: 06/30 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 4:13 AM Barbara, I read someplace today that Faulkner had said that all time was now. There was no such thing as "past" or "future." Just thought you guys might enjoy pondering that in conjunction with TS&TF. It speaks volumes to me. --The Irrepressible DJP 6/30/96 2:28AM CT =============== Reply 42 of Note 94 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 06/30 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 4:13 AM Richard, Another aside: Cleanth Brooks, whose essays on Faulkner are considered classics in their own right, said that some other critics had found poetry in Quentin's and Benjy's sections, but were at a loss for how to describe Jason's. Brooks said, and I think this is an accurate quote, that Jason's section of the novel was a sort of poetry of rage. It is definitely clear and straightforward and evil in its own twisted way. I can't believe none of you have yet mentioned the scene with Luster's ticket. When I read the book the first time, I was utterly appalled at the way Jason treated the poor boy. --The Irrepressible DJP 6/30/96 2:34AM CT =============== Reply 43 of Note 94 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 06/30 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 4:13 AM Ruth, I've come up with a question: which character do you guys identify most with? Which character represents best how you view the world? Or which character do you most empathise with? In my case, and I hate to say so, I think it's Quentin I. --The Irrepressible DJP 6/30/96 2:37AM CT =============== Reply 44 of Note 94 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 06/30 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 4:13 AM Dick, Faulkner changed his name because the no-u Falkners were known to be nothin' but no-account poor white trash. Faulkner didn't want to be associated with them. Leastways, that's what he said. --The Irrepressible DJP 6/30/96 2:39AM CT =============== Reply 45 of Note 94 ================= Board: BOOKS & WRITING =============== Reply 46 of Note 94 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 06/30 From: NCSH82B BARBARA MOORS Time: 9:56 AM I don't think I identify with anyone whose viewpoint is represented in the book...though Benjy and I have a lot in Topic: BOOKS/FICTION Subject: CONSTANT READER To: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Date: 06/30 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 4:13 AM Dick, You guys who don't have it ought to get your hands on that appendix. The first sentence of Caddy's bio begins "Doomed and knew it...." --The Irrepressible DJP 6/30/96 2:40AM CT common. The character with whom I identify the most though is Caddy...maybe because, as you said Marty, she seems to be the best drawn character in the book...and maybe because my "ideal self" would be strong enough to leave that merry-go-round, at least to some extent. And, maybe because, I simply see a lot of myself in her, particularly at that age. Your observation, Dick, that the house of cards collapses because Caddy leaves, hits at least partially on the mark for me. And, perhaps, it is because the father dies and, then again, wasn't a structure with such fragile and devious (not quite the right word) underpinnings destined to collapse upon itself? I get some of the same feelings I get watching a Eugene O'Neill play...wanting to recoil from what they are doing to each other and yet fascinated as to how they all fit together. The mother and Jason II are almost one-dimensional in their evil. The mother is less obviously so in her sort of passive-agressive approach to destroying her children...and maybe her husband, but then I kept wondering how much of her character was formed by who he was. And, then, Jason seems to be the obvious line of progression from his mother into a more straightforward evil. BTW, Marty, by the time I got to Luster's quarter, Jason was such a villain that it just seemed an obvious part of who he was. Also, throughout the book, particularly in his section, I kept getting a little impatient with all of Benjy's crying...my realistic side kept saying "retarded people don't cry all the time!" Then, I started seeing Benjy as the common wail of all of these people. I've always said the mentally retarded children frequently do what we would do if we weren't (to some extent) "civilized." Well, I think that Benjy was doing what they all wanted to do...just stop dead still in one spot and WAIL! Also, in this same discussion, I'm surprised that nobody's mentioned that they *castrated* this poor soul! If I have it correctly, it's because he went through the gate and followed one of the school girls down the street! When I finally came to that part, I started understanding the reason for the wailing as well. Did Faulkner mean this castration as a symbol for what was happening to the whole family...or is that too obvious? And, then, the language...I must say that I've fallen in love with this aspect of Faulkner more than any other. As Ruth says, Benjy and Quentin read like poetry to me. I would read it just for the language...which is probably why it wasn't hard for me to stop trying to fit the puzzle pieces. The only way I've learned to become comfortable with poetry is to drop all the effort at decoding symbolism that was so important to my lit. teacher in H.S. and simply go with the music of it...letting whatever symbolism there might be occur to me at its own pace. I love that expression used here of letting it "wash over" me. So, Felix, have you already made a nomination for the CR reading list...if not, how about another Faulkner? I'd much prefer reading him here than reading him on my own. Barb =============== Reply 47 of Note 94 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 06/30 From: NMTT86A JAMES HEATH Time: 9:56 AM The Appendix appears in the Vintage Books edition that I picked up in the 60s. It goes on for about 20 pages and is a literary creation in its own right. It starts with the original land grant of Jefferson County and works down to 1945, about 20 years after TSATF was published -- undoubtedly this was a late appendix. Among other things, Caddy turns up in a slick magazine pictured on the arm of a German staff general. The appendix concludes with a famous one line summary of the life of the black characters: "They endured." TSATF really isn't my favorite Faulkner. I liked AS I LAY DYING, SANCTUARY, and LIGHT IN AUGUST all much better. They provide less of an academic puzzle and more about the characters. The worry with a lot of the modernists was that if they were too direct, they would sound trite. I go along with Robert Lowell: Sometimes everything I write with the threadbare art of my eye seems a snapshot, lurid, rapid, garish. grouped, heightened from life, yet parlyzed by fact. All's misalliance. Yet why not say what happened? Saying what happened and not just draping experience with the usual cliches is the great challenge. In the later books Faulkner seems to be more comfortable with a direct approach. -- Jim =============== Reply 48 of Note 94 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 06/30 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 11:46 AM Marty: I think I identify with Earl. Being an employer is God's own punishment for making a profit. And, as for Jason's actions with the tickets -- I'm with Barbara; torturing the poor kid was right up his alley, and by that point seemed as natural as drawing breath. Early on in the book I thought, "Oh, to be a fly on the wall in some of these conversations." Later I realized that being a fly on the one of the Compson's walls would be no picnic -- Jason would pull your wings off, then Benjy would eat you. Here I would like to quote from a passage in Jason's chapter -- this section struck me hard, and echoes bitter and careless words I've heard a lot of times from a lot of people. "About that time earl started yelling at Job, so I put them away and went over to try to put some life into him. What this country needs is white labor. Let these dam trifling niggers starve for a couple of years, then they' see what a soft thing they have. Along toward ten oclock I went up front. There was a drummer up there. It was a couple of minutes to ten, and I invited him up the street to get a dope [nb. 20's slang for a Coca-Cola, according to my Dictionary of American Slang]. We got to talking about crops. "There's nothing to it," I says. "Cotton is a speculator's crop. They fill the farmer full of hot air and get him to raise a big crop for them to whipsaw on the market, to trim the suckers with. Do you think the farmer gets anything out of it except a red neck and a hump in his back? You think the man that sweats to put it into the ground gets a red cent more than a bare living," I says. "Let him make a big crop and it wont be worth picking; let him make a small crop and he wont have enough to gin. And what for? so a bunch of dam eastern jews I'm not talking about men of the jewish religion, I says, "I've known some jews that were fine citizens. You might be one yourself," I says. "No," he says, "I'm an American." "No offense," I says. "I give every man his due, regardless of religion or anything else. I have nothing against jews as an individual," I says. "It's just the race. You'll admit that they produce nothing. They follow the pioneers into a new country and sell them clothes." "You're think of Armenians," he says, "aren't you. A pioneer wouldn't have any use for new clothes." "No offense," I says. "I dont hold a man's religion against him." "Sure," he says. "I'm an American. My folks have some French blood, why I have a nose like this. I'm an American, all right." "So am I," I says. "Not many of us left...." Dick in Alaska, where he is, technically, an American. =============== Reply 49 of Note 94 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 06/30 From: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Time: 3:07 PM Dick, I think your image of a merry-go-round is very apt in the case of the Compsons. And I think you are right that Caddy's departure (which includes all the events from her impregnation to the actual wedding) skews the intricate balance of the family. Her "doom" as WF keeps calling it, drags the members of the family after her, one by one. Had she not become pregnant and needed to get married, things would still have been dysfunctional as hell, but most of the family members would have rocked on along a good deal longer before imploding. About Jason's comments you quoted in your second post, I have heard similar comments all my life, as you have. Such spleen and anger run through life in the south like a polluted river, poisoning lives and society in general. We've come some little way from that, so that a politician saying anything like that would not have a future, whereas the whole passage could have been taken verbatim from stump speeches well into the '50s. I've been thinking about Jason some more (dreadful prospect-Jason in my head and I can't evict him) and I wonder if anyone thinks, as I am beginning to, that not only Quentin I had incestuous leanings? Jason's rage at Quentin II seems out of all proportion to his stated priorities in life. Quentin II is a little cash cow for him, but all this guff about the family honor and how he wants to spare his mother is so obviously out of character for Jason that you have to wonder what really is going on. Consider the scene where Jason chases Q2 around the dining room, taking his belt off, in order to beat her, while noting keenly that she is nearly naked under her robe. It's a good thing for Q2 that she slid down the drainpipe when she did-life might have gotten really rancid for her if she stayed under the same roof with Jason much longer. About the Appendix, Dick, it was published as part of Malcolm Cowley's Portable Faulkner in 1945. Viking press published the reader, and the editions of TSATF that I've seen still credit Viking for the copyright on the appendix. Still thinking about Caddy and her doom, Felix Miller (http://caladan.chattanooga.net/~dreedle) 6/30/96 3:06PM ET =============== Reply 50 of Note 94 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 06/30 From: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Time: 4:33 PM Hmm, just finished the Quentin section. At this point, I'm inclined to believe Quentin and Caddy never "did it" -- because of various snippets of conversation that have the ring of truth -- e.g., Caddy's surprise when she says to Quentin something like you haven't done it, have you; Quentin's wish to say they have so that he can "undo" all the other guys; his father's catching him out on his plan; Quentin's halting explanation as to why, that it would be no good if they had and he didn't dare ask her as he was afraid she might say yes; etc. etc. You get the sense he doesn't really see Caddy beyond some idealized notion of honor. Of course, all this could be going on but in addition he could have slept with her, further adding to his torment and her urge to run, and all this could be so dark a secret it's hinted at least of all... I was touched at the end of the Quentin section when his father says (anticipating Quentin's suicide): "no man ever does that under the first fury of despair or remorse or bereavement... no you will not do that until you come to believe she was not quite worth despair..." I wished as I read this (much of this section in fact) that I knew more about the father and his influence over Quentin. Was the father also a tormented man? Anyhow, it's hot hot hot here in Torrance. Ruth, you must be a-baking out there in Redlands! Lynn =============== Reply 51 of Note 94 =================  
To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 06/30 From: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 5:10 PM Felix: This would have been a better question 25 years ago maybe, but do you believe that this emphasis on 'doom' and 'fate' that runs through Faulkner (and some other southern authors, I think) reflect a pessimism and fatalism in southern culture that, in a way, actually creates the conditions for doom and failure -- personally, culturally, economically? Consider Jason and his fiddling with the cotton futures: an absolute masterwork of self-deception (of course this guy was the Da Vinci of self-deception). He will die broke, blaming the jews and bankers and foreigners and Caddy. It was all his fate, his doom. This is so alien to me. My family has been picking up and running across county lines (or international borders) for 300 years now. Only reason I'm not living in Russia is the Cold War slowed me down. We were raised on the theory there WERE no problems you couldn't run from. Good theory, I think. Dick in Alaska, running in place for now =============== Reply 52 of Note 94 =================  
To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 06/30 From: WSRF10B SHERRY KELLER Time: 8:23 PM Felix, I just finished this morning and I had the same thought about Felix and QII. His need to control her, the rage she touched off--all sounds very much like jealousy, doesn't it? The last section left me drained and sad. Does anyone know why Luster was taking Benjy to the graveyard? I grew up in the South and these people seem vaguely familiar, except the mother. I didn't know one woman who was that much of a stereotype of a fainting southern belle. All the women I knew worked as hard as field hands and did farm work AND "women's work". But EVERYONE I knew was as racist as ole Bill and most of them still are. Even today. I can't go home again (for very long). Sherry who wonders about camphor. My grandmother used to smell like camphor. =============== Reply 53 of Note 94 =================  
To: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 06/30 From: UPDQ58A PEGGY RAMSEY Time: 11:24 PM Still perservering here in humid Michigan -- glad that: I'm not the only one who was a little baffled The end seems to be worth the means This probably wasn't the best time for me to tackle Faulkner -- real life is frustating enough right now, so I don't need my reading material to make me feel inadequate as well. But, like Barbara said elsewhere, I'm glad I'm not reading this on my own.... Peggy =============== Reply 54 of Note 94 =================  
To: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 07/01 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 0:06 AM Richard, I have shared in Felix's delight in reading your dispatches from the front as you waded through TSATF for the first time. In fact I am so proud of the observations of all the first time readers here. Heck of a group! (Ruth, I know you are not a first time reader. Perhaps your lack of recollection as to the first time counts. Also, recall that Faulkner was essentially a failed poet when he wrote this book. Most certainly the Benjy section and the Quentin section are poetry--successful poetry.) I don't think Quentin actually committed incest. Quentin is quite simply loony-toons. Although one can trust very little that Faulkner said about his own work, he did insist that the conversation between Quentin and his father at the end of Quentin's section concerning incest was imaginary. Nope. Tall, handsome Dalton Ames was Quentin II's father, I believe. Tough to tell though because I also believe that Candace was promiscuous as the dickens. Here is a woman that is one of the most cussed and discussed women in American literature. All kinds of speculation about what she symbolizes, etc. So odd because we really have such an unclear, dream-like picture of her. The only sane character, Jason, refuses to talk about her except to mutter "bitch" every once in a while. Quentin is such a whacked out, self-centered, pre-suicidal sort that his account sheds little light on her. Benjy, the idiot, tells us the most about her in these bizarre "snapshot" images of no chronological order whatsoever. Again, this is a delight to reread. I sat on the deck today--house empty, wife off visiting her mother across the state, visiting daughter off at the pool--under the big umbrella in ninety degrees and ninety percent humidity--real Mississippi weather--swatting the occassional errant fly and reading the Quentin section. You gotta watch for those "he said"'s and "i said"'s thrown in with no punctuation. Gotta watch for the sentence truncated on one page and taken up again in mid-phrase on the next page. It is a TRIP! One should purchase a cheap paperback edition (so as not to offend Allen) and take colored markers and color code those sentence fragments so one can link them up better. Also, highlight the "he said"'s and "i said"'s. You know there really is no plot, no complex story, no message to speak of in this book. This is very nearly a pure drill in finding a new language and style for what was to follow. That's my theory anyway. Several days ago I said one must perforce discuss race in connection with Faulkner. Wrong here. Not really with this book. But when Quentin reappears in ABSALOM, ABSALOM!, then we get into it big time. The whole thing culminates in that tremendously difficult closing section of "The Bear" in GO DOWN, MOSES. You are admirably prepared for that now, Richard. Please secure a copy of THE PORTABLE FAULKNER edited by Cowley that Felix has been touting. The Appendix is in there. Also, Cowley's introduction to that book is reputedly one of the best single essays on Faulkner's work as a whole. I am in no position to judge. There has been a ton of stuff written on him including several essays by Jean Paul Sartre. One of Sartre's most famous is an essay on TSATF. He opined that the book is a contemplation on the concept of time. Well, maybe. But it is much more than that. It is a revolution in the use of the English language--the American version of the language, anyway. Happy to hear that it all ended as a happy experience for you. Your pal, Steve (Jim, I enjoyed your post thoroughly, too, but I still think that with the really good stuff there may not be much of a connection between the artist and what he writes. [But I will not elaborate here and bring on a continuation of this note.] Your pal, Steve =============== Reply 55 of Note 94 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 07/01 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 1:40 AM Steve: I'm certainly pleased that my responses to TSATF have been both entertaining and possessed of at least a certain amount of sense, from your perspective. After all, the regard of friends and colleagues is one of the things that keeps us going when money, drugs and alcohol fall by the wayside. In turn, I would like to compliment the Unholy Threesome of Faulknerism: Yourself, the Irrepressible DJP and that Happy Grain Grinder on the Mountain, Felix. You three, plus not a few others in support, have managed to perform a miracle not unlike the loaves and fishes, except that instead of multiplying the food supply, you have multiplied the multitude's understanding of a remarkable piece of literature. Anyway, thanks to all of you I have had one of those weeks that they promised to me in the college freshman orientation packet, and which I missed, utterly, at the time. I have been brought from ignorance and rejection of Faulkner to acceptance and deep appreciation. Could anyone on the road to Damascus ask more? Dick in Alaska, amid a rare thunderstorm; talk about your symbolism.... =============== Reply 56 of Note 94 =================  
To: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Date: 07/01 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 5:05 AM Lynn, For those of you who want to know more about Quentin I and his father, dive immediately into Faulkner's ABSALOM, ABSALOM! --The Irrepressible DJP 7/1/96 12:39AM CT =============== Reply 57 of Note 94 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 07/01 From: WSRF10B SHERRY KELLER Time: 10:36 AM Dear Steve, Prodigy has been going dingbats on me and cut off your note and gave me 3 blank pages after "Jason refuses to talk to her". If you had anything important to say after that could you repost. Emailing doesn't seem to work with me anymore. Sherry =============== Reply 58 of Note 94 =================  
To: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 07/01 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 1:04 PM Richard, I had another thought. I know you are probably ready for a break from Faulkner now, but when you are up for a go again, I am confident that you would thoroughly enjoy THE BEAR. (Perhaps you have already read it.) This is from GO DOWN, MOSES, but it is often anthologized as a separate short story. In fact you will find it in that PORTABLE FAULKNER deal. An incredibly great hunting story, which is very easily read, closed out by a contemplation on miscegenation, of all things, that is very difficult but well worth the effort. This is an afternoon's read at most, and I know you would really enjoy it. (Am I off base here, Felix? Marty?) Steve =============== Reply 59 of Note 94 =================  
To: WSRF10B SHERRY KELLER Date: 07/01 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 1:04 PM Sherry, for you, old pal, anything. I am so flattered. Here is a repost of the latter half of the note: RE: Caddy . . . . Here is a woman that is one of the most cussed and discussed women in American literature. All kinds of speculation about what she symbolizes, etc. So odd because we really have such an unclear, dream-like picture of her. The only sane character, Jason, refuses to talk about her ............................................. except to mutter "bitch" every once in a while. Quentin is such a whacked out, self-centered, pre-suicidal sort that his account sheds little light on her. Benjy, the idiot, tells us the most about her in these bizarre "snapshot" images of no chronological order whatsoever. Again, this is a delight to reread. I sat on the deck today--house empty, wife off visiting her mother across the state, visiting daughter off at the pool--under the big umbrella in ninety degrees and ninety percent humidity--real Mississippi weather--swatting the occassional errant fly and reading the Quentin section. You gotta watch for those "he said"'s and "i said"'s thrown ............................................. in with no punctuation. Gotta watch for the sentence truncated on one page and taken up again in mid-phrase on the next page. It is a TRIP! One should purchase a cheap paperback edition (so as not to offend Allen) and take colored markers and color code those sentence fragments so one can link them up better. Also, highlight the "he said"'s and "i said"'s. You know there really is no plot, no complex story, no message to speak of in this book. This is very nearly a pure drill in finding a new language and style for what was to follow. That's my theory anyway. Several days ago I said one must perforce discuss race in connection with ............................................. Faulkner. Wrong here. Not really with this book. But when Quentin reappears in ABSALOM, ABSALOM!, then we get into it big time. The whole thing culminates in that tremendously difficult closing section of "The Bear" in GO DOWN, MOSES. You are admirably prepared for that now, Richard. Please secure a copy of THE PORTABLE FAULKNER edited by Cowley that Felix has been touting. The Appendix is in there. Also, Cowley's introduction to that book is reputedly one of the best single essays on Faulkner's work as a whole. I am in no position to judge. There has been a ton of stuff written on him including several essays by Jean Paul Sartre. One of Sartre's most famous is an essay ............................................. on TSATF. He opined that the book is a contemplation on the concept of time. Well, maybe. But it is much more than that. It is a revolution in the use of the English language--the American version of the language, anyway. Happy to hear that it all ended as a happy experience for you. Your pal, Steve (Jim, I enjoyed your post thoroughly, too, but I still think that with the really good stuff there may not be much of a connection between the artist and what he writes. [But I will not elaborate here and bring on a continuation of this note.] Your pal, Steve =============== Reply 60 of Note 94 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 07/01 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 1:04 PM Marty and Felix, you know you pick up so much more every time you reread TSATF. This time I noted the reference to "Nancy" and "Nancy's bones." I am reading the Random House corrected version at present. These references occur at pages 33 (Benjy's section) and 153 (Quentin's section). Sure enough, this is mentioned in Cowley's essay. This is the same Nancy who is the principal character in Faulker's great short story, THAT EVENING SUN, also in THE PORTABLE FAULKNER. You will recall that Jason, Caddy, Benjy, Quentin, and their father are prominent characters in that story. I have often wondered whatever happened to Nancy. We leave her at the end of THAT EVENING SUN convinced that she will die at the hands of her implacable former lover and his straight razor. Sure enough, these references in TSATF make clear that she was indeed finally murdered. Your pal, Steve =============== Reply 61 of Note 94 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 07/01 From: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 2:03 PM Whoa! And I thought 'Nancy' was probably just a dead mule or something. Dick in Alaska, unfamiliar with rural farm life =============== Reply 62 of Note 94 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 07/01 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 3:04 PM Steve, Two things: To my recollection, "That Evening Sun" makes no mention of Benjy. And Nancy is said someplace to be the family's cow, or some such. But "That Evening Sun" is still a great story. --The Irrepressible DJP 7/1/96 1:57PM CT =============== Reply 63 of Note 94 =================  
To: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 07/01 From: UPDQ58A PEGGY RAMSEY Time: 3:25 PM Sir Richard One again, I'm with you -- I assumed "Nancy" was a dead horse -- probably the pulling partner of "Fancy." (The other two horses were "Prince" and Queenie," another team, I figured). These folks were disfunctional, sure, but to leave a dead body in a ditch??? I'm finally getting it, folks. In TIME AND AGAIN, Jack Finney wrote a wonderful passage about how the inhabitants of 1882 became real to his protagonist, Simon Morley (which I'd planned to quote here, but I can't find it!). But Caddy and Quentin I became real to me last night in the scene following the encounter with Dalton Ames on the bridge: "...after a while I knew that he hadnt hit me that he had lied about that for her sake too and that I had just passed out like a girl..." Then: "put your hand against my throat she took my hand and held it flat against her throat now say his name Dalton Ames I felt the first surge of blood there it surged in strong accelerating beats say it again her face look off into the trees where the sun slanted and where the bird say it again Daulton Ames her blood surged steadily beath and beating against my hand." Poor Quentin.... Peggy =============== Reply 64 of Note 94 =================  
To: UPDQ58A PEGGY RAMSEY Date: 07/01 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 4:45 PM Oh my, and I thought Nancy was one of them good ol' southern blue-tick hounds. Ruth, fading out to the strains of "Old Blue" =============== Reply 12 of Note 5 =================  
To: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 07/01 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 10:15 PM Well, dis sho nuf is a pretty mess I have made heah! I look in da big book, and it say, "lets see if you can still see Nancys bones I havent thought to look in a long time have you." Den I look in da little book (Mistah Cowley), and he say ". . . and we discover from an incidental reference in THE SOUND AND THE FURY that the Negro woman whose terror of death was portrayed in "That Evening Sun" had indeed been murdered and her body left in a ditch for the vultures." Den I look furrer in de little book and sho nuf, that gal's name wuz Nancy. So I sez, "Dis mus be de spot." Well, den I look back in de big book. It say heah "'Dogs are dead.' Caddy said. "And when Nancy fell in the ditch and Roskus shot her and the buzzards came and undressed her.'" But den I axe myself, "What wuz de name a' dat young man in de little story?" De man wid the straight razor wuz a name a Jesus. Twarn't Roskus. Whas mo', and mo' partickly, back in dees times when de mule fall in da ditch and break hisself, we mos likely shoot 'im. But when de woman fall in de ditch, we mos likely try to pull her outta deah. So I's concludin' that Mistah Cowley don't know a damned thing he talkin' bout. Your pal, Steve, who most likely needs a break. =============== Reply 13 of Note 5 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 07/01 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 11:47 PM Steve: I definitely will pickup that Portable Faulkner. And I will need it soon; tomorrow night is my turn to chaperone Boy Scout Camp. If I don't post within 24 hours, send whiskey and people with guns. Meantime, what is the consensus on the next Faulkner novel to read? I've been thinking about 'As I Lay Dying' and 'Sanctuary'. I'm always torn in these cases between following the novelist's natural temporal progression, and following up on specific themes/styles. Here, where there apparently is so much continuity and relationship among some of the stories, that difficulty is particularly acute. Dick in Alaska where we read 'The Bear' in 8th grade at the behest of an English teacher from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and I personally, understood nothing except the 'Field & Stream' aspects =============== Reply 14 of Note 5 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 07/01 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 11:47 PM Steve: You know an interesting aspect of Faulkner's use of rural Black dialect from the early part of this century is how true it rings to my ear. I went to law school in Washington D.C. and during that time lived and worked with inner city poor people, most of whom were Black. Many of of these folk's speech patterns were very reminiscent of Faulkner's usage, particularly the older people (Social Security & Medicare Clinic). The significance of this (to me) is that it underscores the linguistic underpinnings of traditional black speech patterns -- many people assume that the speech pattern is simply a reflection of lack of education and training ,whereas in reality it is a real subset (patois? There's a word here that fits, but I damned near failed linguistics) of Anglo-English and remarkably stable over time -- you can hear the same speech patterns today in D.C. and the south, that Faulkner heard and copied three-quarters of a century ago. Pretty cool. Whatever else modern Black America thinks of Faulkner and his views, there is a bit of Black history and tradition encapsulated in his stories. Dick in Alaska, where we all are required to try and speak like Stone Phillips on NBC; it's a state law =============== Reply 15 of Note 5 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 07/02 From: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Time: 0:07 AM Dick -- Yes! Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct has some pretty interesting stuff to say about the so-called Standard American English and dialects, including the Black English Vernacular. He says: "The most linguistically interesting thing about the dialect is how linguistically uninteresting it is: if Labov [a linguist who studied BEV] did not have to call attention to it to debunk the claim that ghetto children lack true linguistic competence, it would have been filed away as just another language." I also like this quote (from Pinker's book) attributed to linguist Max Weinreich: "A language is a dialect with an army and a navy." Lynn =============== Reply 16 of Note 5 =================  
To: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Date: 07/02 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 1:04 AM Lynn: A language is a dialect with an army and a navy. That is a bon mot worth remembering; you could spend a lifetime trying to position yourself at a cocktail party to deliver such a line. Heck, I've spent a lifetime at cocktail parties, and didn't even KNOW the line. Dick in Alaska, chuckling =============== Reply 17 of Note 5 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 07/02 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 8:31 AM This is a very interesting subject to me, Dick--the dialect thing. As is probably apparent from some earlier posts of mine, I am fast becoming a James Baldwin fan. This man could really, really write, and with such a controlled fury that reading him can be a whithering experience. In 1979 he wrote an essay entitled "If Black English Isn't a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?" I am not going to try to lay out the line of his argument here, but at one point he says, "Now, no one can eat his cake, and have it, too, and it is late in the day to attempt to penalize black people for having created a language that permits the nation its only glimpse of reality, a language without which the nation would be even more WHIPPED than it is." (Now I know he is talking more about idiomatic American expressions than he is dialect, but it is all related.) Then he ends up with this fiery paragraph concerning the pitiful state of black education in the past: "And, after all, finally, in a country with standards so untrustworthy, a country that makes heroes of so many criminal mediocrities, a country unable to face why so many of the nonwhite are in prison, or on the needle, or standing, futureless, in the streets--it may very well be that both the child, and his elder, have concluded that they have nothing whatever to learn from the people of a country that has managed to learn so little." But I digress. I know that Marty would prefer to go to ABSALOM, ABSALOM! now (my favorite), and there is certainly some logic to that since it fleshes out the story of the Compsons as well as tells the fabulous story of Thomas Sutpen. However, I would prefer a change of pace. If I were going to do another right now, it would be SANCTUARY--the story of that nymphomaniac, Temple Drake, and the unbelievably evil Popeye. It gives us a little insight into the former netherworld of Marty's home town, as well. Reminds me of that haunting movie BLUE VELVET. We would need to gather ourselves before we tackled AS I LAY DYING again, literally a book length prose poem. Your pal, Steve =============== Reply 18 of Note 5 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 07/02 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 8:35 AM Oh, and if I recall correctly, SANCTUARY gives us our first acquaintance with Gavin Stevens, Faulkner's great lawyer character. Steve =============== Reply 19 of Note 5 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 07/02 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 9:25 AM Steve: Well, the nymphomaniac sounds good. Dick in Alaska, where tonight he will be sleeping in a (shudder) tent =============== Reply 20 of Note 5 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 07/02 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 1:53 PM Just another couple of observations on this dialect issue, Richard, because there is more of importance to it than meets the eye. This was a tricky issue for black writers and intellectuals during the Harlem Renaissance after World War I. James Weldon Johnson is the best case in point. This incredibly interesting man is best known to us as a poet and novelist, but he was also a popular song writer and U.S. Consul to Nicaragua and Venezuela and during the 20's, field secretary of the NAACP. Many of his early poems were written in dialect. The problem of course was that dialect had so often been used to caracature dialect, for example, in that bizarre white tradition of the minstel show--most particularly by the "end man." (I actually saw one once in the early fifties when I was tee tiny. They survived that long!) Anyway, in the twenties Johnson abandoned dialect and urged other black writers to do so, also. Instead, he and writers Langston Hughes and Sterling Brown advocated the use of idiomatic expressions, syntax, and rhythm to recreate black speech. Now I understand why they felt called upon to do this, but it is a doggoned shame that circumstances compelled them to abandon it entirely for the very reason alluded to in your comments about Faulkner's use of it. To recreate as accurately as possible the sound of a person's speech goes part way to the heart of some of what literature is all about, particularly in terms of preserving something of a culture that is disappearing. I remain ambivalent about this, and, as is obvious here, have not quite sorted out my thoughts on the subject. Your pal, Steve =============== Reply 21 of Note 5 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 07/02 From: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 2:37 PM Steve: I suppose the lesson is simply that anything, no matter how intrinsically harmless, can be put to a bad end by the imaginative and the evil. You can strangle a baby with a rosary. In racial and cultural matters the tendency to utilize any differences between groups as a basis for denigration is so common; yet even within this nasty little bit of human nature there are some positive elements. Take your standard, "There was a priest, a minister and rabbi trapped on a desert island" joke. On ocassion I've heard such jokes that were actually quite funny, and to my tin ear, not offensive. And yet, in that same category, I've heard a few that curled my hair -- the difference is hard to pin down, and I wonder how much of it is within me, and how much of it is extrinsic. Still, we are such primitive creatures, delighting in laughing at the stranger: remember Andy Kaufman's character in 'Taxi'? Lotka I think it was? Hysterical, and yes, it was making fun of somebody. I wonder if they've got that program in syndication in the Balkans. Maybe the answer lies in that new movie "Independence Day" -- the world unites to fight the nasty critters from outer space. I bet THEY talk funny, by God! Anyway, Faulkner (and much else) wouldn't be Faulkner without dialect I think. Interesting about the abandonmentof dialect by Black writers at about the same time Faulkner was working -- good politics makes for less effective art, maybe. Anyway, did you know that James Weldon Johnson was a fellow brother of the bar? First Black member of the Florida Bar Association. Dick in Alaska, just full of these little snippets =============== Reply 22 of Note 5 =================  
To: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 07/02 From: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Time: 3:11 PM Steve and Dick -- I'm enjoying your exchange on dialect and social implications. It may be difficult to define (particularly if agreement is required!), but it seems many of us have a fairly good sense of when cultural distinctions, including dialect, are being used to ridicule (as if to make the other culture completely "other") and when such distinctions are being used to paint as complete a portrait as possible while at the same time recognizing the thread (nay, the river!) of humanity that runs through all such distinctions. And maybe that's the thing with jokes, too. Some jokes that deal with cultural distinctions reflect some sense of being charmed by our very human idiosyncrasies, failings, foibles, etc. etc.; some reflect an edgier sense of life's absurdities; and so on. Some jokes, however, are just plain mean -- and I think most of us have no trouble distinguishing between the two -- even, even if we might disagree to some extent on where the dividing line is. Lynn =============== Reply 23 of Note 5 =================  
To: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Date: 07/02 From: NPVX84A MARIA BUSTILLOS Time: 7:54 PM Cool exchange, gentlemen. My ex-husband, poor poppet, is now teaching elementary school in South Central LA (mostly black neighborhoods.) There is raging debate about this language question in the LA County Unified School District. They have a different acronym from the one you used for the black dialect, it's AAsomething. You'd be surprised at how much teachers have to wing it on this stuff, believe me; however, they're not supposed to tell kids that their way of conjugating verbs or whatever is WRONG, just different. Really the whole thing is a mess and in my view only serves to isolate these kids still further. They need the tools to compete in the prevailing atmosphere. Remind me to tell you sometime about the third-grade drag show my ex put on. It's pretty sidesplitting. Great job on your dialect spelling, wild man, very natural. M. =============== Reply 24 of Note 5 =================  
To: NPVX84A MARIA BUSTILLOS Date: 07/02 From: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Time: 9:19 PM Steve etal., After diligent search, I am unable to reconcile Nancy in "Evening Sun" and the skeletal remains of Roskus's handiwork in TSATF. Of course, I don't have a copy of Cowley's essay, so I don't know what he said. But to shoot a woman (black or otherwise) and leave her as food for buzzards in a ditch conveniently located for the instruction of the Compson children is beyond even Southern Gothic. Not even the Bronte' children, raised in an overcrowded graveyard which probably poisoned their water and contributed to their early deaths, had this grotesque a childhood. Going on to the much more elevated discussion of dialects, black and otherwise, I remember from my course in linguistics that all speech consists of "ideolects," individual versions of families of languages, with or without armies and navies (great bit of cocktail chatter, too bad I don't go to cocktail parties.) Similarities of syntax, grammar and vocabulary group ideolects into languages. How many of you have known twins whose conversation together was frequently indecipherable to even other members of their families? Binary ideolects. All language has so many variations, even within small populations, that the idea of "purity" of any language is hopelessly artificial. Faulkner's use of black American dialects is anything but demeaning to the characters. Dick had a very good point about the sharpness of Job's analysis of Jason IV: a man so smart he deceived himself. Job's dialect was concisely capable of skewering Jason. Of course, Job had a pretty good scriptwriter. I like the way these threads shoot off in brilliant arcs, like early Fourth of July fireworks. from the sweltering mountain, Felix Miller (http://caladan.chattanooga.net/~dreedle) 7/2/96 8:45PM ET =============== Reply 25 of Note 5 =================  
To: NPVX84A MARIA BUSTILLOS Date: 07/02 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 11:02 PM So, Richard and Lynn have illuminated the difference between the offensive use of dialect and the artistic use of dialect, which is simply this: the underlying intent. And of course we here of discriminating and discerning taste can tell the difference. (I am not being facetious here, Maria. There is obviously a huge population extant without sufficient taste to tell the difference.) Now here's where I think it all gets real interesting in Faulkner's case. Here is a man who himself spoke a dialect, even if we define that as something more than accent. It seems to me that dialect implies accent as well as a distinctive choice of words and phrases and syntax that is not found in the mainstream language. Does that make sense? I have a tape of Faulkner reciting his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, and I can assure you the accent is there in spades. When he was in his cups sipping whiskey with his pals in the scuppernong grove, one can pretty much be assured that he had a distinctive syntax and used a multitude of idiomatic expressions, too. Undoubtedly, on those occassions he spoke like Quentin and Caddy's father when he was in his cups. But he does not really render that man's dialogue in dialect in his writing because it isn't dialect to him. On th Dick in Alask hilarious stand-alone short story, SPOTTED HORSES, from THE HAMLET, we find him rendering the dialogue of the white share-croppers and. . . dare I use the word?. . .crackers, who are the main characters, in a dialect again. It's not a heavy one, but there are idiomatic phrases, interesting examples of syntax, and implied accent galore in these men's speech. That is because they spoke a different dialect than Faulkner, and he simply NOTICED it through the years. My point is that perhaps the army and the navy are less important than the pen in terms of the difference between a dialect and a language. A language is a dialect armed with a pen. Without the literature American English, even of the correct sort that we speak here in the midwest, would simply be a dialect of English English. (Am I stating the self-evident here? Is this what they call a tautology? Seems interesting to me anyway.) A drag show, you say? A third grade drag show? These are the kinds of things that have always made me a little uncomfortable in LA. I'm going to take that last statement of yours as a straight ahead compliment and gracefully thank you, although I am always cautious when you start talking about my spelling. Orlando thinks I do it well viva voce, too. Amuses Orlando to no end. Your pal, Steve =============== Reply 26 of Note 5 =================  
To: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 07/02 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 11:02 PM In the end, Richard, the most vivid character for me, and one of my favorites, is Luster. Here is a little guy, quite intelligent, mouth going constantly, leading this drooling behemoth around and constantly threatening to whip him if he doesn't quit that embarrassing bellowing. What a stitch! Least favorite? Definitely not Jason. How can the only sane Compson be one's least favorite character? Nope. Gotta be Mr. Herbert from French Lick, Indiana, also the hometown of Larry Byrd. What a scumbag! (Mr. Herbert, not Mr. Byrd.) I would be more than a little upset if my sister were going to marry that guy for whatever reason. Probably wouldn't do myself in though. (Of course I have the luxury of speaking as one with no sisters.) Thanks for that additional piece of info concerning James Weldon Johnson. I did not know that and should have. Your pal, Steve =============== Reply 27 of Note 5 =================  
To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 07/02 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 11:16 PM Well, Felix, I see while I was slaving away on my amateurish observations concerning dialect, you effortlessly toss off a note with some solid science in it. We can always count on you. But Felix, if you stayed home more and spent less time researching the watering holes in Chattanooga for your web page, you might get an impromptu invitation to some of those sophisticated southern cocktail parties on occasion. Your pal, Steve =============== Reply 28 of Note 5 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 07/03 From: NPVX84A MARIA BUSTILLOS Time: 1:40 PM Wild man, simply loved your riposte to the cocktail-party line. Definitely, great literature ennobles language. I will go further and say this: a language must be capable of expressing a broad range of complex ideas. Absent this and you've got argot, slang, dialect etc. Not that I don't love the latter, too. In this household we have recourse to a number of English dialects and accents, both for mirth-inducing purposes and for pinpoint accuracy of observation: Anglo-Indian, Nisei, valley girl, Korean, Texan, Oxbridge, Boston, Cockney, Scots, Surfer, etc. =============== Reply 29 of Note 5 =================  
To: NPVX84A MARIA BUSTILLOS Date: 07/03 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 1:47 PM Dick, Felix, Steve, Lynn, et al I'm troubled by Faulkner's attempt to produce the dialect of the southern African American phonetically. And as an American of Italian descent I was offended by his brief phonetic attempt at an Italian accent in the Quentin section. Read it aloud and you sound like Chef Boyardee, a caricature of an Italian. Having grown up in the midst of a bunch of Italian aunts and uncles with Italian accents, I can tell you that they do not sound like this. I'm reminded of the time when accents were considered something to be used in vaudeville jokes. Faulkner may not have consciously meant to be demeaning, but I think he was. Patronizing is the nicest thing you can say about it. As you pointed out, Steve, Faulkner had a strong southern accent. As someone born and bred on the west coast, I can tell you that I sometimes have difficulty understanding a very heavy southern accent, especially that used by the socio-economic class depicted in TSATF. It's not just an accent. It has a unique vocabulary and menu of expressions. It almost sounds like a true dialect to me, yet (correct me if I'm wrong, my copy has gone back to the library) Faulkner uses some of the vocabulary, but no phonetic spelling approximations. If standard spelling stands for southern accents, then how would Faulkner render my speech, which is pretty much "broadcast" English? I think the African-American writers who think that any kind of dialect or accent is best described by grammar, word choice and syntax are on the money. If only for the reason that English spelling is bad enough at capturing "standard" (for the sake of argument, let's say "broadcast" as in TV/radio) English. But more important, as I think Steve pointed out, attempts at dialect are usually applied by the writer to anyone who speaks differently than s/he does. That, right there, relegates the dialect speaker to the position of "the other." Also we must remember that much of an accent or dialect is not how words are pronounced, but the "music" of the language as a whole. The rhythm, the flow, how the words are stressed within the sentence. No way to get that in print. So any attempt at phonetically reproducing an accent or dialect is half-assed from the git-go, demeaning because of the historical baggage it carries, and ultimately unsuccessful anyway. I say it's spinach, and to hell with it. Ruth =============== Reply 30 of Note 5 =================  
To: NPVX84A MARIA BUSTILLOS Date: 07/03 From: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Time: 2:41 PM Maria -- I think as far as linguistic theorists go, the term dialect is in fact used to describe something capable of expressing the broad range of ideas you mention, is internally consistent with regard to grammar, etc. etc. It is not synonymous with slang or argot or jargon -- or even pidgin. So Pinker's point was simply that you can't look at dialect and say, "That's ungrammatical by some other set of rules -- thus there's no linguistic competence there." But! It doesn't necessarily follow that simply because a dialect has its own internally consistent rules that a speaker of said dialect shouldn't expect to have to learn the grammar of the standard, accepted language IF he or she wants to participate fully as a citizen and member of the body politic of the country of his residence. I see these as two separate things: the linguistic (whether speakers of a dialect are demonstrating linguistic competence) and socio-political, maybe(?) -- anyway, the issue of what is required to participate in the local culture/social institutions. I enjoyed your comments on the use of slang and so on for "mirth-inducing purposes and pinpoint accuracy of observation." It's got to be fun, not to mention immensely satisfying, to be able to move so easily amongst all those different modes of speaking! Lynn =============== Reply 31 of Note 5 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 07/03 From: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 3:39 PM Ruth: I agree that Faulkner missed the Italian accent entirely. His problem, undoubtedly, was that he wasn't exposed to real Italian immigrant speech, sufficiently, while living in the south. He of course did some traveling in his youth -- Canada, New Orleans, New York and even a hop to Europe, but there is a sense he was not a cosmopolitan sort of guy. (I say this without benefit of any knowledge, other than the fact that his travels always seemed to be of relatively short duration, and he doggedly insisted on returning to the hellish heat and perdition of northern Mississippi). The 'Italian' Faulkner used in TSATF reminded me of the Marx brothers Italian accents, and not the real Scicilianos I've known in New York and the mid-Atlantic. I remember reading somewhere in 'Advice to a Young Writer' or something that you should be very careful with the use of dialect in writing -- if you're off, it will kill you. I'm not sure, however, how the use of grammar, syntax, etc., can be substituted for dialect to get the same effect. Could anyone point in the direction of a good example? I've got a four day weekend coming up here, and only two rounds of golf scheduled, and Marty has the French translation program, so time may be hanging heavy on my hands. Extra credit reading might just be the thing. Dick in Alaska, who survived his night with the Boy Scouts =============== Reply 32 of Note 5 =================  
To: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 07/03 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 3:54 PM Dick, It wasn't just that he missed the Italian. Any accent is going to be missed. It just can't be done with phonetic spelling. It always ends up as a caricature of "the other" who isn't like us. Ruth =============== Reply 33 of Note 5 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 07/03 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 10:09 PM Ruth: True enough that you can never "really" do an accent phonetically; all you can do is suggest an accent, and if that suggestion is well done in terms of its structure, spelling, rhythm, etc., (and if the reader has a basis in the real thing, perhaps) it can work. Isn't it something like painting? Can't suggestive techniques cue the viewer in ways that are beyond the narrow technical bounds of the painting itself (i.e., three dimensional effects when you are demonstrably dealing with a two dimensional medium?) In th at case you wouldn't say that a painting that suggested three e-dimensionality was a "caricature" would you? It's simply a device, that in terms of the art, either works or doesn 't. Sounds like dialect never works for you. Didn't you even fall for Jimmy Breslin's New York tough-guy Italiano in "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight"? Now there was caricature, and I still heard my friends parents in Hicksvil le, Long Island, in the background. Incidentally: fo r any CR's who missed it, a fun ny book, in my 'umble opinion. Dick in Alaska, who just did his cockney impression =============== Reply 34 of Note 5 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 07/04 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 0:24 AM Ruth, I think I disagree with you about this whole dialect issue. In one sense, all of us are "Other" to someone or to some group; one of the points of literature is to make all of the "others" understand that they aren't as "other" as they thought they were. The fact of the matter is that the people Faulkner lived among wrote and spoke English, and what Faulkner wrote was, to his ear, English. But people who talked differently than the inhabitants of hilly northern Mississippi didn't say the same words the same way. In other words, we learn language by speaking it, and when you associate the spoken word with its written manifestation, that's how it sounds, whether it looks right or not. So "standard" English to someone born and raised in the South might involve drawls and dipthongs, where the same word in some other area wouldn't require them. Thus, when you encounter someone who talks differently than you, you are compelled to represent that speech on the page in a different manner. I don't think that necessarily makes the representation--and this seems to be the leap you're taking--patronizing or worse. It makes the representation the manifestation of what the writer's eye sees. And that's all. Not some attempt on the part of the writer to demean "others" but an attempt to capture something that'd otherwise be omitted, or worse to the artist, I think, inaccurate. I'm not saying that dialect cannot be used for demeaning purposes, but that when it is, it's usually very obvious and the artistic spell is broken. By the way, what do you think of HUCKLEBERRY FINN? It might be a better book around which to have this discussion. Do you think that Twain was being patronizing to his characters because of the way he represented their speech? --The Irrepressible DJP 7/3/96 11:09PM CT =============== Reply 35 of Note 5 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 07/04 From: YHJK89A CATHERINE HILL Time: 3:04 AM I grew up the works of an inveterate dialect writer - Rudyard Kipling. Kipling did have a good natural "ear", and it is obvious - certainly in his earlier works - that he is trying to introduce his readers to a world of people of whom they are ignorant and to whom they feel superior. In his stories and poems about the British Indian Army, he is virtually rubbing the noses of the upper classes in the reality and humanity of what too many considered lower class cannon fodder. Even his Indians - he's controversial in India, of course, but you can't read SOLDIERS THREE or even the late A SAHIB'S WAR without coming away with great respect for the Indian fighting man and his code. This is a man's world, of course, though his dialectal "Mary, Pity Women", based on conversations with a local barmaid, is still a pithy truth worth quoting. John Buchan was another heavy dialect user, though obviously of dialects he himself knew and loved. He also interspersed his work with Gaelic words and phrases; I had to ask my Irish friend what they were doing to a deer when they were "proceeding to gralloch". In these instances, of course, we're talking about evoking foreign climes for folks who don't get to travel them much. Gerald Durrell's African pidgin (pinyin is the original Chinese term, I believe) is delightfully expressive and obviously delightedly indulged in. It's easy to see the author isn't patronizing these people; he loves them and willingly exchanges eccentricities. Some writers, I think, "get up" dialect like they "get up" the vocabularies of various industries or endeavors. Kipling certainly did. And there are some folks who subconsciously change their own speech patterns (hopefully not writing ones) with exposure to other cultural groups. I can always tell when Larry's been visiting his Chinese friends. He starts leaving out his auxiliary verbs and speaking staccato. Cathy =============== Reply 36 of Note 5 =================  
To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 07/07 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 9:40 AM Felix, La Divina sent me a little swatch on Caddy from a guy named Volpe's READER'S GUIDE. It goes as follows: "Only one Compson is capable of giving herself completely to love and to life--Caddy. Everyone else is completely self-absorbed. Caddy is the only vibrant, warm, and loving person in the family. In adolescence, she responds to love and to life; later her natural response is twisted into something corrupt by her family. Driven by the sense of guilt they foster in her, she becomes promiscuous." and. . . . "Caddy is 17 when she gives herself to Dalton Ames. She is passionately in love with him. As far as can be ascertained, he seems to return her love." Now, Divina and I have a bit of a disagreement about this. I will certainly let Sara speak to this herself, but in essence, these remarks do not hold true for her. She thinks Caddy is as genetically screwed up as all the rest are. I on the other hand tend to agree for the most part with Mr. Volpe. Part of the problem, as I alluded to earlier, is that Caddy is so sketchily drawn that the reader is free to interpret her in almost any way that suits. Nonetheless, since I view Benjy as the only reliable reporter and human being here and since he adores Caddy and since she seems to respond to him very warmly, I conclude that Mr. Volpe is pretty much on the money. I would certainly be interested in your observations on Caddy though--and anyone else's for that matter. Marty? Richard? What do you think? And Divina, please. I yield the floor. I am certainly not a hundred percent on this yet myself. Your pal. =============== Reply 37 of Note 5 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 07/07 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 12:10 PM Steve: We certainly see Caddy only in reflection, and I agree that Benjy's 'I am a camera' images should be considered the most trustworthy. I hadn't really thought about it until you posted this note, but I instinctively liked Caddy and it was simply because of her goodness to Benjy and his love for her -- the only redeeming bit of humanity in the whole bloody mess. So in general I guess I'd vote for the Volpe analysis -- although I'm not sure that Caddy was 'driven' to promiscuity. She just seemed like a darned healthy girl to me. Dick in Alaska, ready for a final round of golf before that next Supreme Court brief =============== Reply 38 of Note 5 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 07/07 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 4:59 PM Steve, Caddy seems to be the only one in the family who gave a rat's behind about Benjy. For that, she is to be commended. Her promiscuity is hard to interpret since it comes largely through the mind of Quentin, who was completely obsessed with promisculty himself. So basically, I think I agree with you, Steve. --The Irrepressible DJP 7/7/96 3:53PM CT PS--I've thought for several years now that someone could make a fortune and crete an instant feminist classic were he to write a book called, simply, CADDY. The academics would go wild. =============== Reply 39 of Note 5 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 07/09 From: NMTT86A JAMES HEATH Time: 10:12 AM For the answer to all your Faulkner questions check out http://www.mcsr.olemiss.edu/~egjbp/faulkner/faulkner.html. This is the Faulkner Home Page and includes a complete description of who the characters are and how they relate to each other. Highly impressive. --Jim in Oregon =============== Reply 40 of Note 5 =================  
To: NMTT86A JAMES HEATH Date: 07/09 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 7:39 PM I've just come back from the library where I discovered they do not have a copy of ABSALOM, ABSALOM. (Amazing) Since I'm trying to cut down on my book buying, what do you Faulkner fans suggest instead? Ruth =============== Reply 41 of Note 5 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 07/09 From: KWWP63A SARA SAUERS Time: 11:02 PM Steve, Dick & Marty: Okay. Caddy is certainly more caring and warm and loving than the rest of the Compsons. I didn't ever mean to say she wasn't. It is just that Volpe (and this is in A READER'S GUIDE TO WILLIAM FAULKNER), seems to be painting this absolutely GLOWING picture her mental health and I just don't think there is any way the news on Caddy is this good or this simple. She has grown up in a home where almost every "normal" inter-family relationship is twisted or non-existent. She has essentially provided a mother's love and caring to Benjy and Quentin and then, after her loss of virginity throws this family into total disfunction, she even feels compelled to offer to relieve Quentin of his very weighty virginity. (I believe that offer was made and don't agree, Steve, that one must just summarily dismiss Quentin's section as not offering ANY truth or insight about Caddy.) Marty, the same idea occurred to me about a CADDY story. I imagine it as written by a woman, however, because it is definitely going to require a lot of dual-hemispheric neuron action. (Of course a guy like you, who knows so much about the female psyche, might take it on!) And, Ruth, I believe I read somewhere in here that Dick has acquired SANCTUARY, and I have as well, so perhaps we could all take on that one together. -Sara =============== Reply 42 of Note 5 =================  
To: KWWP63A SARA SAUERS Date: 07/10 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 0:10 AM Sara: I did indeed obtain 'Sanctuary' (well, at least I got the book) and would be delighted to forge ahead with it. I've also been reading the Faulkner & Southern History volume that I purchased last weekend, and what a rascal that Billy Faulkner was! Showing up at home in 1918 in an RAF officer's uniform, telling tales of his flying exploits when in fact he was a prematurely discharged (easy there, Lynn, you suggestible woman, you) cadet with no air time at all. Given the hearty contempt with which Hemingway's 'exaggerations' of his life and exploits tend to generate, am I missing something if I seem to detect a bit of a double standard about the personal integrity of the two gents? Now, keep in mind you Faulkner and Hemingway afficianados that I'm woefully undereducated about both authors. So if a little learning is a dangerous thing, and I've cut myself on the sharp edge of ignorance, I am trusting all of you to point out the blood and offer me a suitable bandage. Dick in Alaska, who was a hero in several wars across the centuries, but whose records have been lost due to a combination of governmental misfeasance, malfeasance and downright malice. =============== Reply 43 of Note 5 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 07/10 From: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Time: 0:51 AM Dick -- What was that about a premature discharge? I was nodding off there, I think, and came to rather suddenly. And Dick, have you called the White House re your misplaced records? Maybe Craig Livingstone has them. Lynn =============== Reply 44 of Note 5 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 07/10 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 0:51 AM Ruth, All true Faulkner fans know that your library must now be burned to the ground. It's only fitting, in a Southern Gothic sort of way. SANCTUARY...is not generally thought to be one of Faulkner's five great books...those being THE SOUND AND THE FURY; AS I LAY DYING; LIGHT IN AUGUST; ABSALOM, ABSALOM!; and GO DOWN, MOSES. My vote would be for either AS I LAY DYING or LIGHT IN AUGUST, but I've already read all of the books mentioned in this note except for GO DOWN, MOSES. And I'm working furiously on the McCarthy paper for the Oxford Conference on Southern Writers and Southern Writing, so I probably won't have time to delve back into Faulkner anyway. Which is, of course, my loss. --The Irrepressible DJP 7/9/96 11:43PM CT =============== Reply 45 of Note 5 =================  
To: ALL Date: 07/10 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 10:14 AM Well, yes, Marty, but it is his SIXTH best book and his one "best seller." I thought it was an acceptable choice at this point because it is not nearly as difficult as the others you have mentioned. It seemed to me that we needed a break from the really heavy going. This is simply an entertaining book. I found it so interesting that both you and Sara came up with the idea of the CADDY book independently. Great minds and all. Since Sara thinks it would best be written by a woman, she should get busy on it. I'm serious. Not facetious at all. What an interesting project! And who better to do it? As to the overall subject of the last several notes, Sara's point is well taken, now that I have read her views carefully. Let's just say that Caddy, regardless of her quirks, is still the most appealing of the Compsons. But there again, that may just be because we know so little about her. Jim, thanks for that reference to the web page. I will look into it. Your pal. =============== Reply 46 of Note 5 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 07/10 From: EUCR61A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 2:10 PM Steve, Marty, Ruth & Sara: Plus, let's not forget this is the one with all the sex and lewdness. Well, maybe not ALL the sex and lewdness, but a respectable portion. Packaging, you know. Also, I just reread all the notes on this thread dating back to Dale's first post this morning. Pretty good discussion, folks. I don't know whether we could do better than a 'C+' at any major state university Senior Seminar on Faulkner, but it's not bad for a bunch of aging boomers and upstart X-er's with day jobs. Dick in Alaska, trying to whack Horace Mann, which requires REAL creativity =============== Reply 47 of Note 5 =================  
To: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Date: 07/10 From: ACCR69A JOSEPH BARREIRO Time: 3:24 PM Dick - The old "the records were destroyed in a courthouse fire" routine seems to work as well. Personally, I appreciate a crafty liar, especially when they are merely lying about themselves (as opposed to those who lie about others for their own aggrandizement); this must have been the primary source of entertainment for all generations before the appearance of mass media if we discount waiting for wild animal attacks. The highest honor I can claim is battle-scarred veteran of several domestic wars, surely a mean distinction among the brotherhood of man. I have half a mind to read more Faulkner just to see if I might like it better than I did TS&TF. The only other Faulkner I'd read was the short story "A Rose for Emily" which is what Catherine Hill must have in mind every time she disparages Southern Gothics (though come to think of it she could just as well have meant this novel). The other half says to take a break and read something for fun (like the biography on Stalin my wife is almost finished with). Joe B =============== Reply 48 of Note 5 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 07/11 From: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Time: 9:36 PM greetings to all CR's... is there anyone who didn't like THE SOUND AND THE FURY... gail..hp..a passionate reader in cool..sunny and windy SAN FRANCISCO... =============== Reply 49 of Note 5 =================  
To: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Date: 07/16 From: ACCR69A JOSEPH BARREIRO Time: 2:11 PM Yes gail - I did not enjoy it very much either. I had much the same reactions as most of the people who posted about it: confusion in the first two parts, distaste for Jason in the third, etc. It seemed an experiment to me that I probably haven't got the feel for - I didn't get the sort of payoff I expect from a novel - the conclusion was depressing and left me asking why do I want to know anything about these people? I'm sure it was considered much more sensational when it was originally published. I see it as an influence on many writers' perceptions of the South 'cause I know I've seen these characters in the movies. Steve's opening remarks to the thread leave me feeling I'm missing something here but I don't know what it might be. I'll probably try another Faulkner novel just to see if it goes down any better. Without the commentary from the CR's I'd not have finished the novel on my own. Joe B =============== Reply 50 of Note 5 =================  
To: ACCR69A JOSEPH BARREIRO Date: 07/16 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 9:14 PM Joe, My suffestion would be that, instead of reading another Faulkner, you reread THE SOUND AND THE FURY again, immediately, now that you've a feel for the plot. What amazes most people I know about Faulkner is that he had a feel for the musicality of language, and for depth of character. It's not necessarily that we like these characters, but that we feel like we know them, that we've been them. --The Irrepressible DJP 7/16/96 8:10PM CT =============== Reply 51 of Note 5 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 07/17 From: ACCR69A JOSEPH BARREIRO Time: 12:14 PM Marty - The book is already back at the library and I'm already into MAN'S FATE and SUTTREE, as well as some 'light' reading, so WF will have to wait for a while. I probably will at least look at it again sometime, but I'm not overly enamored of Faulkner. You are right about that sense of connection to the characters, but to me it is not so immediate or overwhelming as it apparently was for others; there is a remove of time and mindset and perhaps a sense of the hand of the author that is a kind of barrier between me and them that doesn't exist for me (most of the time) when I read Steinbeck or Stegner for instance. One thing about participating on this BB is that I have done more rereading in the last year or so than I had done in the previous twenty years. And I am also relearning how to squeeze something more than the initial sensory experience of the novel from my reading. I'm looking forward to your accompaniment at the carnival of SUTTREE. This will be my second time through this novel so I hope to be able to contribute to the discussion. Joe B =============== Reply 52 of Note 5 =================  
To: ACCR69A JOSEPH BARREIRO Date: 07/17 From: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Time: 7:37 PM greetings JOSEPH... wonderful to find your post...actually i thought everyone would think i had NO TASTE in literature nor patience and was off on another book...which doesn't bother me a bit as at my stage in life...whatever i do is TERRIFIC... now i must share with you my latest find...i started SANCTUARY and somehow that evening..nothing was right...the next day..decided to give it another whirl...I AM HOOKED... i hoPE DIAMOND JIM reads this post......will fill you in JOSEPH when i am further along.... i just didn't want to give up on FAULKNER without effort...i am a moody reader and it becomes a problem..i am anxiously awaiting two pieces of nonfiction..the bio by peter ackroyd of WM. BLAKE...and THE RAILWAY MAN by eric lomax....a fascinating story.. NONFICTION..centers me and then i am able to plow through my fiction... thanks for sharing ... gail..hp..a passionate reader in ..by george..i spy some sun..in SAN FRANCISO at almost five p.m. ..we take it at any time.. =============== Reply 53 of Note 5 =================  
To: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Date: 07/18 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 0:53 AM high priestess, Horray! You like Faulkner...at least in passing. Well, he grows on you. Be careful...but remember, Faulkner was pretty prolific; if you develop a literary crush (to steal from Theresa) on him, you'll be busy for years. --The Irrepressible DJP 7/17/96 11:45PM CT =============== Reply 54 of Note 5 =================  
To: ACCR69A JOSEPH BARREIRO Date: 07/18 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 0:53 AM Joe, SUTTREE is indeed a carnival. A wild, twisted, sentient, and depraved carnival perhaps, but carnival nonetheless. I'm looking for ward to it too; expect a note (or a repost of the note I posted a few days ago) on it when I return from the Oxford Conference that will officially begin the book's discussion. --The Irrepressible DJP 7/17/96 11:48PM CT =============== Reply 55 of Note 5 =================  
To: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Date: 07/18 From: ACCR69A JOSEPH BARREIRO Time: 11:07 AM gail - Some people are also reading SANCTUARY on Fearless Reader subject. It sounds very creepy. I will have to watch out for the bio on Blake, he is a person who interests me very much and I would like to know more about him and his fascinating work. Joe B =============== Reply 56 of Note 5 =================  
To: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Date: 07/19 From: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Time: 10:21 AM gail, Your exchange with Marty and Joe has illustrated my point that I made early on so well. It is an absolute, doggoned shame that the first exposure to Faulkner of so many is TSATF. It is a daunting book, highly regarded mainly for its experimental style and language. Its characters only start to acquire real depth when viewed in the context of two or three others of his books, and not many people are willing to immerse themselves that much into one author's work. Delighted to read that you are giving him a second shot. I just finished my reread of SANCTUARY last night. This book does not require a familiarity with his other books. It stands alone. I will be back to chat with you a bit about it this weekend, but I must get some real work done right now--the kind that brings in the scratch. You might consider latching onto the collection of Faulkner short stories. I think you would find them to be a delightful entre to this man's work. I do so wish Joe would very soon leap into my personal favorite--ABSALOM, ABSALOM! That is the companion piece to the TSATF that would enlighten him as to why he should care about these characters. Not for me to preach, though. Your pal. =============== Reply 57 of Note 5 =================  
To: SEZG73A STEVE WARBASSE Date: 07/19 From: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Time: 10:30 AM Marty, Steve, et al -- It struck me throughout TSATF but especially in the final section how gorgeous Faulkner's language and imagery are. (Jason 'leaving the bells' as he leaves town...) And yet I've never seen him copied or imitated anywhere! Writers may be influenced by a sense of his vision and maybe even the freedom of his language, but they don't seem to try to imitate the language itself. Which in this day and age, when fads seem to sweep through the American fiction-writing workshop world, strikes me as pretty amazing. Whatcha think, Marty? Lynn =============== Reply 58 of Note 5 =================  
To: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Date: 07/19 From: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Time: 10:51 AM The exact quote about the bells: 'And he drove on out of the bells and out of town...' Amazing, imagery and metaphor so breathtakingly lovely and yet so incredibly economic! Almost swept past, like Jason and his single-minded fervor. Lynn =============== Reply 59 of Note 5 =================  
To: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Date: 07/19 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 11:16 AM Lynn, I think Faulkner's been copied--and imitated--usually badly--by many writers, especially the male ones from the South. Madison Smartt Bell (I think that's the proper spelling of his name) says in his NYTBR review of THE CROSSING that Cormac McCarthy is perfectly capable of leaping into "high Faulknerian crash-and-burn" when the situation seems to demand it. He does, and it works. Reading it post-Faulkner is something marvellous to behold, yet it reads indisputably like McCarthy--not like Faulkner. Something about those passages is quite similar to Faulkner's writing, yet they remain intensely, well, McCarthian. I seriously hope you're planning to join us on our romp through SUTTREE. It's McCarthy's...best Faulkner, if it's possible to say that and at the same time maintain that SUTTREE is intensely original and un-Faulknerian in some way. There's no better time to read SUTTREE than after a healthy dose of Faulkner. McCarthy's first book, THE ORCHARD KEEPER, reads a lot like poor Faulkner. One critic said of McCarthy that he was the only writer who had looked Faulkner in the face and lived to tell the tale. Shelby Foote is often compared to Faulkner in terms of style and everything else--setting, characters, etc. I think that comparison is unfair to Foote, because it seems to me that Foote is drawing heavily on some older narrative tradition, too. Robert Penn Warren's ALL THE KING'S MEN reads sort of like Faulkner in places, to me anyway. Gabriel Garcia Marquez' ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE is often mentioned as having a Faulkner-derived style. But your comment was very specific..."they don't seem to try to imitate the language itself." I think that some of them have tried and failed. The ones have succeeded have managed--somehow--to sort of incorporate Faulkner's style and cadence with their own. I'd say that better if I knew how. Have you ever read any of the Faux Faulkner contest entry books? They're hysterical. I remember the title of one piece--"The Soft and the Furry"--but I have no idea what it's about. I'd like to know what some of you think about this whole question of Lynn's. This seems to be an area where some hair-splitting would be a good thing. --The Irrepressible DJP 7/19/96 10:11AM CT =============== Reply 60 of Note 5 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 07/19 From: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Time: 11:39 AM Marty -- What a smorgasbord of a note! I'll have to print it out and savor the various morsels you've laid out. But briefly: the faux Faulkner sounds hilarious, would love to find me one of those; Gabriel Garcia Marquez? hmm, love his writing but I wouldn't have thought of Faulkner (nor did I think of GGM while reading Faulkner--still GGM is certainly capable of the same kind of gorgeous economy, doesn't feel compelled to take an image, riff on it, beat it to within an inch of its life and then some); Suttree, sigh, will try, not optimistic, did ye know I was starting law school next month? yes, 'tis true, so you know what the odds of my success on reading, and finishing, Suttree are. Later! Lynn =============== Reply 61 of Note 5 =================  
To: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Date: 07/19 From: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Time: 9:37 PM Lynn - spill the beans - what school? why? why didn't you talk to me first so I could warn you? Theresa =============== Reply 62 of Note 5 =================  
To: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Date: 07/19 From: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Time: 9:48 PM Theresa, gulp! I knew some eagle-eyed person would spot that and call me on it, but I did so hope I could slip it in unnoticed, thereby allowing myself to claim later: Well I did post it! It's not like I kept it to myself! But it's Loyola, evening part-time. Maybe switch to full-time day next year if I can line up a little funding. And hmm, I've backed into this whole thing, marvelling the whole way: This can't be happening. Am I really about to do this? I can't be about to do this... But now that I am, what can I say? I'm thrilled! Oh but warn me anyway. Would love to hear any advice, warnings, suggestions you might have! Lynn =============== Reply 63 of Note 5 =================  
To: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Date: 07/20 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 1:13 AM Lynn, I was going to say something myself, but my jaded, cynical law-school mind can think of only one syllable: RUN! --The Irrepressible DJP 7/20/96 12:09AM CT =============== Reply 64 of Note 5 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 07/20 From: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Time: 1:30 AM Marty -- Jaded, cynical and irrepressible. Hmm. Having a tough time with this combination, Marty! =============== Reply 65 of Note 5 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 07/20 From: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Time: 9:47 PM greetings to our IRREPRESSIBLE DIAMOND JIM... now just hold your horses. don't get excited about my enthusiastic adventure with FAULKNER..that is SANCTUARY...his first book...as i remember years ago we had some dialogue about CORMAC MCCARTHY...THE CROSSING and then SHELBY FOOTE and magically appearing in my mailbox ..you sent me this tome on THE CIVIL WAR... .which in due time i returned with a courtesy note..... actually I DON'T DO THE CIVIL WAR... you can't attempt to make us all into SOUTHERNERS...... please no books...a gentle shove is all i required to begin SANCTUARY again...see you NASHVILLE..gsg =============== Reply 66 of Note 5 =================  
To: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Date: 07/21 From: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Time: 1:02 PM high priestess, Point of correction: SANCTUARY was not Faulkner's first book; it was after THE SOUND AND THE FURY and AS I LAY DYING. Plus a few other books. I wasn't planning to send you books, gail. Don't fret. And that other book eventually went to a worthy cause; I gave it to a young woman I'm enamored of who happens to be a Civil War buff in her own right (she comes by it honestly and not as a result of my pernicious influence), and she was, of course, thrilled. No, gail, I can't make you all into Southerners, but that's sure a pity...for all of you and for the South. I think that CBJ can back me up on this one. And I'm stunned and amazed that you'd have problems with books magically appearing in your mailbox.... --The Irrepressible DJP 7/21/96 4:13AM CT =============== Reply 67 of Note 5 =================  
To: DCTW04A MARTY PRIOLA Date: 07/22 From: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Time: 9:44 PM greetings DIAMOND JIM.. thank you for setting the record straight ..i was under the impression that SANCTUARY was the first... and delighted the CIVIL WAR book has found a worthy home... but do understand your kindness was well appreciated... i prefer to do the sending of magically appearing materials.. it is a joy on my part so when something does appear in my snail mail..i am startled and amazed.... and glad to be thought of...but i still like to surprise people...... we can argue about this all day...tbc in NASHVILLE.. must get back to reading... gail..hp..a passionate reader ...

 

 

William Faulkner

 
Search:
Keywords:
In Association with Amazon.com