Faulkner, Faulkner, Faulkner – the bane of droves and droves of undergraduates lives, desperately attempting to decipher his exquisite works, his novels being far from easily accessible, they are deeply layered and initially appear completely chaotic. All novelists rely on their imagination, they take from it, think about what goes on in there, form letters around the ideas which are derived and place the words on paper…et voila a book is born. Faulkner skipped the interim steps, he places his imagination on the page and just like the erratic, confusing world of the imagination, so too are his novels, fuzzy and disorientating and annoying and amazing. Time, Faulkner time, is warped in relation to our normal perceptions, more akin to a dripping Dali motif, it plays havoc with normal form and sends us reeling in a desperate game of catch up. Faulkner perceived time as not being so structured and easy to tame, he viewed it as a rampant beast that swung whichever way it desired and therefore the reading of his work was never going to be easy. At times Joyce can seem crystal as Faulkner flings the kitchen sink at us, stuffed with snapshots, flashbacks and stream of consciousness, the reader is soon lost in the swirling maze. It wasn’t always like this, in his first novels, time is, well rather normal and familiar, his tinkering with our sensibilities can be firstly sniffed in Sartoris (1929) and it’s plethora of reminiscences that completely overshadow the ’real time’ of the work. 

Indeed the time in Sartoris is a cyclical thing with the past constantly being pored over and endlessly being interpreted. Within the same year, Faulkner had finished his The Sound and the Fury in which he abandoned all courtesy to the logical progression of time. The story, often maddeningly difficult to get a hold off is based around the decline of the once noble Southern Compson family. The Sound and the Fury (1929) was set in the same fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi as Sartoris had being, marking the beginning of what would become an obsessive chronicling of what was really his home of Lafayette County, Mississippi which would cover fifteen novels. They cover the decades from the American Civil War through the Depression narrating the tragic tale of the decay of the Old South. Faulkner followed The Sound and the Fury with As I Lay Dying (1930), which he perhaps unbelievably wrote in six weeks while working the nightshift in a power plant. It concentrated on the illness, death and burial of matriarch Addie Bundren, consisting of interior monologues spoken by people who knew Addie, mainly members of her family. The result is a grotesque, monstrous, ugly, catalogue of a quasi pilgrimage that Addie enforces upon her far from loving family of burying her in her home town of Jefferson. It has being acclaimed as one of Faulkner’s greatest novels, although it garnered little commercial success at the time of its publication. Once again, Faulkner employed far from conventional methods of writing, perhaps dissuading readers but time proved the book’s worth, it’s vivid characters, compelling tone and complex narrative were far too original to be ignored.

 Relative fame and commercial success came with his fifth novel Sanctuary (1931), although unfortunately his publishing house became bankrupt, failing pay Faulkner’s due royalties. The novel was met with some disdain which was mainly due to Faulkner’s public admittance that the novel was written purely to make money and for that he was disgusted with himself. Perhaps he was, the novel disgusts us the reader but only for it’s content, the novel is in a word, excellent. Sanctuary challenges its reader, it’s menagerie of monstrous characters, page long sentences and subtle details that need to be remembered are all serious hurdles but bear with them and once again Faulkner delivers a wondrous piece of work. Faulkner continued the nightmare in his novel of the following year, Light in August (1932), charging at the age old problem of race in the Deep South, as we follow the travails of Joe Christmas in pursuit of his identity, completely confused as to whether he is white or black. His next novel, Pylon (1935) was different in two manners – it was published three years after his previous effort, not the usual one year turnaround and it was not set in apocryphal Yoknapatawpha County but rather in a thinly disguised New Orleans. It was savaged by most critics who viewed it as overly melodramatic, but Hollywood pounced on it, tuning it into a movie The Tarnished Angels starring Rock Hudson. Arguably it was the first time that Faulkner produced anything that could be considered shoddy, however he followed it, with what many critics regard as his masterpiece.

Absalom, Absalom! (1936), The following year, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, Faulkner had taken his place among the greatest writers to ever have written. His acceptance speech was muffled and low, typical of Faulkner’s shyness but when it was published the following day, it was hailed for it’s eloquence and brilliantce, often being hailed as the greatest Nobel acceptance speech ever delivered. 1954 finally saw the publication of The Fable, which Faulkner had spent a decade sweating over and believed it to be his masterpiece. The critics thought otherwise although it did land him the 1955 Pulitzer Prize. It was based in the trenches of France in World War One, it seemed any time he wandered away from the environs of Yoknapatawpha County the critics and readers were not happy, desperately encouraging him to return. He did so, in The Reivers (1962), it would be for the last time, as sadly Faulkner was to pass away the following year. He was a rare type of writer, he possessed pure genius in his craft and this added to a unwavering commitment to his art helped him revolutionise Southern literature and universally transform the novel. From the beginning he was in it for the art’s sake, his earlier efforts were rejected but he refused to compromise an ounce, dedicating himself to his vision, he decided to write for the fulfilment it gave him. He would, he thought write for the drawer on his own terms, rather than write for the masses and not be true to himself. But something as original and simply brilliant as what he produced cannot be contained, it spread and spread, everybody recognising a master writer, although he more often than not drove his readership crazy with his intricate narratives, the rewards for perseverance of the reader were more than worth it, indeed the same could be said for Faulkner. returned to familiar territory, as the narrative is mainly driven by Quentin Compson of The Sound and the Fury, describing the rise and fall of Thomas Sutpen. Once again, Faulkner does not shirk from criticising elements of the Deep South, this time tackling the morals and ethics of slavery. Aesthetically, it was also testy, it was written in such a manner that readers would interpret it differently, depending on how much of the evidence they picked up on and then whether they would be capable of separating what was true from what was false. April 1940, saw the publication of, The Hamlet, which was to be the first segment of a trilogy of novels depicting the Snopes, a poor Southern family, who would surface again in The Town (1957) and The Mansion (1959). However, the decline in the sales of his novels continued and following the publication of Go Down, Moses (1942), he moved back to Hollywood to write once again for the screen. During this stint, he earned screenwriting credits on To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep and The Southerner. Great movies they were, no doubt, but how it must have burned Faulkner having to write the screenplay for Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not. Poignantly, the American public had abandoned his work, although according to Jean Paul Sartre, Faulkner was a god in France. However, the publication of The Portable Faulkner, an anthology of his work, in 1946, led to a re-awakening of interest in his work. It appears to have rejuvenated Faulkner, as he finished his first novel in six years, it was entitled Intruder in the Dust (1948) and it would bring huge acclaim to Faulkner when MGM purchased the rights and shot the movie in Faulkner’s hometown of Oxford, Mississippi.

Absalom, Absalom! (1936),

The following year, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, Faulkner had taken his place among the greatest writers to ever have written. His acceptance speech was muffled and low, typical of Faulkner’s shyness but when it was published the following day, it was hailed for it’s eloquence and brilliantce, often being hailed as the greatest Nobel acceptance speech ever delivered. 1954 finally saw the publication of The Fable, which Faulkner had spent a decade sweating over and believed it to be his masterpiece. The critics thought otherwise although it did land him the 1955 Pulitzer Prize. It was based in the trenches of France in World War One, it seemed any time he wandered away from the environs of Yoknapatawpha County the critics and readers were not happy, desperately encouraging him to return. He did so, in The Reivers (1962), it would be for the last time, as sadly Faulkner was to pass away the following year. He was a rare type of writer, he possessed pure genius in his craft and this added to a unwavering commitment to his art helped him revolutionise Southern literature and universally transform the novel. From the beginning he was in it for the art’s sake, his earlier efforts were rejected but he refused to compromise an ounce, dedicating himself to his vision, he decided to write for the fulfilment it gave him. He would, he thought write for the drawer on his own terms, rather than write for the masses and not be true to himself. But something as original and simply brilliant as what he produced cannot be contained, it spread and spread, everybody recognising a master writer, although he more often than not drove his readership crazy with his intricate narratives, the rewards for perseverance of the reader were more than worth it, indeed the same could be said for Faulkner.

 

Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland. Article source Russell Shortt, http://www.exploringireland.net http://www.visitscotlandtours.com

Bacterial Vaginosis Remedy
Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Technorati
  • Live
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace