The saddest words : William Faulkner's Civil War

by Gorra, Michael Edward,

Format: Print Book 2020
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 3 copies
Available (3)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Squirrel Hill Non-Fiction Collection PS3511.A86 Z7838 2020
Location  CLP - Squirrel Hill
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  PS3511.A86 Z7838 2020
Northland Public Library Nonfiction 813.52 G68
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  813.52 G68
Whitehall Public Library Nonfiction Collection NF 813.52 F273g
Location  Whitehall Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction Collection
Call Number  NF 813.52 F273g
Should we still read William Faulkner in this new century? What can his works tell us about the legacy of slavery and the Civil War, that central quarrel in our nation's history? These are the provocative questions that Michael Gorra asks in this historic portrait of the novelist and his world. Born in 1897 in Mississippi, Faulkner wrote such iconic novels as Absalom, Absalom! and The Sound and the Fury , creating in Yoknapatawpha County the richest gallery of characters in American fiction, his achievements culminating in the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature. But given his works' echo of "Lost Cause" romanticism, his depiction of black characters and black speech, and his rendering of race relations in a largely unreconstructed South, Faulkner demands a sobering reevaluation. Interweaving biography, absorbing literary criticism, and rich travelogue, The Saddest Words recontextualizes Faulkner, revealing a civil war within him, while examining the most plangent cultural issues facing American literature today.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The Portable Faulkner, published in 1946, is widely credited with reviving Faulkner's reputation and bringing him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949. Yet as esteemed literary scholar Gorra informs us in this transcendent study, European audiences had long considered Faulkner one of the leading modernists, along with Joyce, Proust, and Woolf. Faulkner was a complex man of many contradictions. He lacked an advanced education but displayed a profound understanding of the human condition. He did not decamp to Paris like so many artists of his era, but instead repaired to Hollywood, where he worked on screenplays, including those for To Have and Have Not and The Big Sleep. He didn't leave behind a vast personal library, yet he was immersed in the southern storytelling tradition, which he mined to alchemically render the world building of fictional Yoknapatawpha County and produce works of near incomparable artistry. Similarly, Gorra expertly mines his own deep reading of the Faulkner oeuvre to serve as our Virgil and guide us through an exploration of how the Civil War influenced Faulkner's work and how, in turn, Faulkner's writing helped shape modern literature. Gorra adroitly and poignantly portrays Faulkner at war with himself, juxtaposed and entwined with the history of a cleaved nation, to provide a compelling and necessary reexamination of a towering literary figure."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Smith College English professor Gorra (Portrait of a Novel) examines the Civil War as the "all-determining absence" at the center of William Faulkner's life (1897--1962) and work in this immersive and enlightening account. Blending history, travelogue, biography, and literary analysis, Gorra treats the Yoknapatawpha novels and stories as a "single enormous text" spanning the 1830s to the 1930s, and moves back and forth between Faulkner's fictional universe and real-world events during the same time frame. Gorra visits the battlefield at Gettysburg to walk the path of Pickett's Charge, notes that Faulkner's most fecund period (from the late 1920s to the early 1940s) coincided with "the heights of Confederate hagiography," and finds parallels between W.E.B. Du Bois's views on race and Reconstruction and those expressed in Faulkner's fiction. Gorra sees characters including Ike McCaslin, Bayard Sartoris, and Quentin Compson as reflective of Faulkner's personal attempts to reconcile his Southern heritage with his rejection of the principles behind slavery, though he remains clear-eyed about the novelist's "incoherence" on the civil rights movement. Fluidly written, expertly researched, and brilliantly conceived, this is an essential reckoning with Faulkner's art and the legacy of the Civil War. (Aug.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Faulkner, William, -- 1897-1962 -- Criticism and interpretation.
Faulkner, William, -- 1897-1962 -- Characters -- African Americans.
African Americans in literature.
Race relations in literature.
Yoknapatawpha County (Imaginary place)
Southern States -- In literature.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Literature and the war.
Publisher New York, NY :Liveright Publishing Corporation,2020
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description x, 433 pages : illustration, maps ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 381-407) and index.
ISBN 9781631491702
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