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Preview — Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
Absalom, Absalom! : Roman
As a poor white boy, Sutpen was turned away from a plantation owner's mansion by a negro butler. From then on, he was determined to force his way into the upper echelons of Southern society. His relentless will ensured his ambitions were soon realised; land, marriage ...more
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The picture above was used on the first edition dust jacket published in 1936 by Random House. It is the image I had in my mind, while reading this book, of the plantation built by Thomas Sutpen called Sutpen's Hundred. The hundred stands for a 100 square miles, the geographic size of the plantation. 100 square miles of land is equivalent to 64,000 acres. In other words it is a BIG PLACE. The gist of all this is that Thomas Sutpen built himself an empire. These plantations were so large that it ...more
". . . and opposite Quentin, Miss Coldfield in the eternal black which she had worn for forty-three years now, whether for sister, father, or nothusband none knew, sitting so bolt upright in the st ...more
first of all, Faulkner is always doing things like this:
“He was a barracks filled with stubborn back-looking ghosts still recovering, even forty-three years afterward, from the fever which had cured the disease, waking from the fever without even knowing that it had been the fever itself which they had fought against and not the sickness, looking with stubborn recalcitrance ...more
And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! Second Samuel, 18:33, King James Version
Interestingly enough, Absalom, Absalom! and Gone with the Wind were both published in 1936. Both were novels of the Old South. However, while Margaret Mitchell chose to romant ...more
Maybe you cannot know when you first approach a novel to reread if it will live up to your recollection or sink like dead weight. Maybe it won’t do either—maybe it will just hover in that No Man’s Land between the title you added to your favorite list in 2010 and the one you plod through, ever so slowly, in 2012. Maybe, it will haunt you.
First time around, this one sailed—stream of consciousness, no problem—convoluted, page-long sentences, bring ‘em on. There’s a problem with multiple narrators?...more
The book IS constructed like an onion, with Faulkner skillfully pulling apart layer by layer (-- all the passages about Quentin and Shreeve around the table are mere narrative interludes, intended merely to allow the reader to regather himself befo ...more
So, I am going to do something a little odd here which is more for the benefit of my thinking-through than anything else, so please feel free to ignore the following ramblings.
I intend to restrict myself to only writing criticisms of this novel which I have read twice now and unhesitatingly give the full-fathom-five stars.
Because I think there are lots of things which do not work here, or which fail to do what I think they are trying to do. And these are all things that I think Evelyn Scott, i ...more
I usually don't find it so difficult to write about my reaction to a novel. But this one has defeated me. What a complex, layered work it is. I've sat in front of the computer for about an hour now, writing and deleting sentences, trying to analyse what I feel about it, and I can't quite find the words.
The narrative, which moves back and forward in time, concerns Thomas Sutpen, who arrives in Mississippi with a band of "wild" slaves to fulfill his obession to create a dynasty. He builds a large ...more
Am I going to have to hear it all again he thought I am going to have to hear it all over again I am already hearing it all over again I am listening to it all over again I shall never have to listen to anything else but this again forever so apparently not only a man never outlives his father but not even his friends and acquaintances do.
Yes he could see it all again in his mind as if he were there in front of the grave plots the tombstone pillars rising out of the misty ground thoughts of if ...more
I can see it is probably worth the effort - but also know it requires more effort than I can ...more
In one sense I, as a Texan, am a Southerner, my state, formerly its own nation--those two words oft used interchangably in a non-American sense--a member of the Confederacy, the seventh state to do so, though not without the most prominent man in the state's history, Sam Houston, fearing against it like a lone Jeremiah, but still doing so by a vote of 166 to 8; and in another sense my South is not Faulkner's South, is not the Deep South, arguably n ...more
In questo romanzo, come già in “L’urlo e il furore”, convivono, marcatamente contrapposti eppure armoniosamente gestiti, l’ossequio alla tradizione più classica e lo sperimentalismo più ardito.
Questo perché sotto il profilo temati ...more
The title for this novel is taken from the Old Testament of the Bible. The story of King David and Absalom is about a son who rebels against his father and a brother who forcibly commits incest with his sister. Absalom!undertakes these same themes.
Thomas Sutpen's deepest desire to be a great patriarchal figure at the head of a powerful dynasty stems from a humiliating experience as a teenager, wh ...more
In Absalom, Absalom! Faulkner engages the reader in a dizzying display of literary chess. The first two chapters of this book (and the chapters are often quite long) border on being barely comprehensible, perhaps somewhat similar to a conversation between strangers that one might eavesdrop upon in public. Just as one is starting to feel some sense of readerly footing with the text or else give up on the book entirely, Faulkner will ...more
I don't hate everything Faulkner wrote. I even enjoy some of it. This book made me detest him for the week or two it took to suffer through it.
Apparently one of the notes Faulkner's editor sent him after reading this was something to the effect of, "This is a period. You should use them ...more
So, you've probably seen this on two general types of list: "best books ever" lists (we'll ignore the fact that it's on GR's almost entirely awful "worst books ever" list because that's just plain distasteful) and "hardest books ever" lists, which might give you the impression that it's one of those "difficult but rewarding" kind of deals. If so, you're entirely correct. ...more
And a male instinct of procreation turns around a woman...
“...the other sex is separated into three sharp divisions, separated (two of them) by a chasm which could be crossed but one time and in but one direction—ladies, women, females—the virgins whom gentlemen someday married, the courtesans to whom they went while on sabbaticals to the cities, the slave girls and women upon whom that first caste rested and to whom in certain cases i ...more
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The majority of his works are based in his native state of Mississippi. Though his work was published as earl ...more