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Becoming Faulkner: The Art and Life of William Faulkner

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  72 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
William Faulkner was the greatest American novelist of the twentieth century, yet he lived a life marked by a pervasive sense of failure. Throughout his career, he remained haunted by his inability to master a series of personal and professional challenges: his less-than-heroic military career; the loss of his brother in an airplane crash; a disappointing stint as a Hollyw ...more
Hardcover, 235 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2009)
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Jun 16, 2013 Perry rated it really liked it
“Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain.”

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”

Philip Weinstein writes "The Art and Life of William Faulkner" in a flowing style that kept me interested, at times captivated, which is refreshing in this day and age of excess academic double-speak, as an exploration of Faulkner'
Jan 11, 2017 Chrissie rated it it was ok
See below for my thoughts after having completed the book.

After 30%:
Ugh, this is giving me immense grief. This is a mini literature seminar with a teacher you detest but himself thinks he knows all.

- I don't like how the book is organized - by diffuse themes, not chronologically.

- I don't like the language of the author - he mimics Faulkner's own lines, but he is no Faulkner!

- I don't appreciate the book's repetitiveness - of lines, of ideas and interpretations.

I am looking for a biography ab
Nov 17, 2016 Gill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, challenge
Well, I thought this was a wonderful book.

Weinstein's writing style appeals to me greatly. It was literary and poetic, and meandered back and forth as he sought, successfully in my opinion, to link Faulkner's life and writing with each other.

I think this would be an engaging, thought provoking book, even for anyone who has read nothing or little by Faulkner. In my case, I am coming to the end of my Faulkner challenge for this year, 5 books read and 1 to go! I found reading this book to be a fabu
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Jul 29, 2012 Elizabeth (Alaska) rated it really liked it
Quite good. Could be 5 stars if you've read all of his early masterpieces. Four stars because there are more than the occasional spoilers. In fact, as I have not yet read Absalom, Absalom!, I found myself skipping a small (3 pages?) section that completely outlined and discussed the entire plot.

Weinstein does give us the high points of Faulkner's life. He was the oldest of 4 children, he dropped out of school when he was 15, he married his childhood sweetheart but not until 10 years after she'd
Jean V. Naggar Literary
Aug 08, 2012 Jean V. Naggar Literary rated it it was amazing

Winner of the 2011 C. Hugh Holman Award for the best and most significant book in Southern Literary Studies of the year!

"Philip Weinstein...has written a deeply felt, spellbinding, lyrically written tale of Faulkner's art and life, how each bred and interpenetrated the other, a dynamic dialectic of doom and hope, sex and sensibility, Southern myth and personal agonies." --Providence Journal

"Weinstein acknowledges that although Faulkner would have protested this glimpse into his tormented priva
Rick Wilcox
May 01, 2014 Rick Wilcox rated it liked it
A number of fine biographies of Faulkner preceded this book, but the twist here is different. As the title suggests, Faulkner was a self invented creation, as remarkable in achievement as he was miraculous in duration. He seemed hell bent on destroying himself with alcohol and it's easily argued that he ultimately succeeded.

His story abounds with paradox, irony and incredulity.

A high school dropout, he mastered the English language. A slight stature of five and a half feet tall, he personified
Brian Willis
Jan 31, 2017 Brian Willis rated it it was amazing
Having read all of Faulkner's novels and nearly all of his short stories, as well as the exhaustive Blotner biography, I wanted to find a book that delves more into the creative side of Faulkner's work.

This is that book. Concise in its examination of the major novels (usually about 10 pages each), but also a deep examination of his mind and spirit, this academic was hard to put down, and that is a high praise indeed for an intellectually framed book. While it does cover the affairs and the acute
James R. C.
Feb 22, 2016 James R. C. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography-memoir
The author sees the messiness of Faulkner's life "as the fertilizing loam for his novelistic soaring." Faulkner expresses what children experience, but it never left him. His technique of interior monologue--especially in The Sound and the Fury--expresses deeply the troubles that accumulate through living. For me, the analysis of technique become insightful and appalling as I acknowledge my inner messages.

I recommend highly Weinstein's accounts of Faulkner's art and life for significant literar
Jan 26, 2014 Jason rated it it was amazing
For anyone interested in understanding Faulkner's work as much as knowing about his personal life, this book is wonderful. As the author points out, one cannot fully understand an author of this power's work without understanding the author himself. Faulkner himself wrote in "Mosquitoes": "A book is the writer's secret life, the dark twin of the man." Weinstein names a chapter "Dark Twins" and spend a great deal exploring the many contradiction and insightful brilliance of Faulkner. I highly re ...more
Sherry Chandler
Nov 11, 2010 Sherry Chandler rated it it was amazing
I found this critical biography highly readable and it reminded me both of why I liked Faulkner so much and why I stopped reading him -- besides the fact that I'd read everything at least once anyway. Iwouldn't recommend it to anybody who hasn't read Faulkner, though maybe to some who have read him and don't get him.
Artem Chapeye
Jan 24, 2017 Artem Chapeye rated it it was amazing
great. not so much biography as "bigraphical criticism". Faulkner is one of the greatest authors; and so it was good that Weinstein doesn't fail to show the weakness of Faulkner's weaker work when compared to his own greater work, too.
May 31, 2016 ACRL added it
Shelves: motw
Read by ACRL Member of the Week Callie Wiygul Branstiter. Learn more about Callie on the ACRL Insider Blog.
Aug 15, 2012 Zach rated it really liked it
I never read biographies. This is more of a critical look at Faulkner's works mixed with some factoids. I approve of this. READ THE SOUND AND THE FURY! Seriously, it's the greatest.
Sep 05, 2010 Tracey added it
This book is really aimed at people who've devoured Faulkner and want more. Unfortunately ... that's not me.
I am a Faulkner newbie, who was looking for a readable biography. Whoops!
John M.
Sep 05, 2015 John M. rated it really liked it
Excellent biography/study of Faulkner.
Lee Thompson
Aug 12, 2012 Lee Thompson rated it it was amazing
An awesome biography that demonstrates how intertwined Faulkner's art and personal life were. Terrific and insightful read!
Lyn LeJeune
Aug 09, 2011 Lyn LeJeune rated it it was amazing
all I can say is that I've read everything I can get my hands on about Faulkner, this book is at the top of my list....his life told as a page turner
Kimberly Canova
Jun 02, 2010 Kimberly Canova rated it it was amazing
This is certainly a book for a Faulknerian but is not for you if you have not read most of his books.
Tony Daniel
Jun 24, 2013 Tony Daniel rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
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Apr 27, 2010
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Dec 03, 2013
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May 01, 2012
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Richard Matthews rated it it was amazing
May 14, 2014
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Dec 28, 2016
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