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The Hamlet

(The Snopes Trilogy #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  4,275 ratings  ·  240 reviews
The Hamlet, the first novel of Faulkner's Snopes trilogy, is both an ironic take on classical tragedy and a mordant commentary on the grand pretensions of the antebellum South and the depths of its decay in the aftermath of war and Reconstruction. It tells of the advent and the rise of the Snopes family in Frenchman's Bend, a small town built on the ruins of a once-stately ...more
Paperback, The Corrected Text, 409 pages
Published October 29th 1991 by Vintage International (first published 1940)
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,275 ratings  ·  240 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jeffrey by: On the Southern Literary Trail
Shelves: southern
It was now September. The cotton was open and spilling into the fields; the very air smelled of it. In field after field as he passed along the pickers, arrested in stooping attitudes, seemed fixed amid the constant surf of bursting bolls like piles in surf, the long, partly-filled sacks streaming away behind them like rigid frozen flags. The air was hot, vivid and breathless--a final fierce concentration of the doomed and dying summer.

First Edition of The Hamlet published in 1940

Will Varner ow
The Hamlet: Faulkner's Novel of the Snopes Trilogy

Reviewed by V.K. Ratliff

Things were right quiet down at Frenchman's Bend. No, not up at the old Sutpen place. This down south an' east of town.

Ever man knew how things worked. It wasn't the best place to live. Old Will Varner owned about ever thing worth anythin'. Most of the men farmed their cotton on shares on land owned by Varner. But a man could make a livin' on shares and have a roof over his head which he most likely paid Varner for. An wh
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Long, Hot Summer

This is the first in the Snopes trilogy focusing on the decline of Southern aristocracy in Faulkner's fictional Yoknapatawpha County with the concurrent rise of capitalism via the squirrely, cold-blooded and crooked Snopes family. The Hamlet explores the Snopes clan's early years as they rise to power while the mainstay families--the Compsons and the Sartorises--decline in wealth and influence.

Abner "Ab" Snopes, the family patriarch, moves his wife and two kids to Frenchman's
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Το Χωριουδάκι", εκδόσεις Δελφίνι.
Μάλλον το πιο αδύναμο από τα βιβλία του αγαπημένου μου Φώκνερ, παραμένει ένα ενδιαφέρον και σημαντικό λογοτεχνικό έργο-εισαγωγή στην τριλογία των Σνόουπς.
Mar 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: humorists, cultural studies students
Recommended to Brandon by: Jim Hinkle
I remember reading a Joyce Carol Oates essay that referred offhandedly to Faulkner’s “misogyny.” I was an undergrad at the time, and I remember being surprised because having just read The Hamlet, I thought of Faulkner as more of a misanthrope. So when I recently reread The Hamlet and the other two novels in The Snopes Trilogy, I tried to pay attention to Faulkner’s tone regarding women and found that not only does Faulkner sympathize with the senseless brutality women suffer at the hands of pat ...more
If you are planning to read Faulkner, you must be prepared to take your meat raw. It has been decades since I initially read The Hamlet, and I had forgotten how coarse and unrestrained the writing could be at times. It was as if Faulkner wanted you to never mistake this world for one in which there was any refinement or justice or sanity, as if he meant to reveal how unendurable a life could really be.

The story, or stories if you will, since there are several told here, with only the barest thr
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Hot Diggity! Certainly not Faulkner terminology, but is what I think of this. I had encountered Snopes in a previous Faulkner - I think it was As I Lay Dying - and expected Snopes to be one person. It is true there is one Snopes who is believed superior and more or less controls the rest of them, but Snopes is a family. There are cousins in abundance who obey and fear Flem Snopes.

Faulkner had already been to Hollywood and written some screenplays when he wrote this. I knew this without looking i
Clif Hostetler
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
This book gives the impression that the author had a number of stories to tell so he sorted them out in a sequential order along a generalized timeline, located the action in his favorite fictional setting, Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, and like magic this book appeared. Faulkner is a world class story teller, and his writing skills shine in this book.

Much of the dialog in this book is filled with southern witticisms and colorful metaphor which give the story a humorous tone. But there is u
Paul Griffin
Oct 08, 2007 rated it liked it
It's a long life; I like trilogies. Nestling down into a world I know will sustain me for hours. This is the first of Faulkner's famous Snopes trilogy, about a family, the Snopes, who takes over a small Mississippi town called Frenchman's Bend. Faulkner is a master of characterization. Flem Snopes, the wily, ambitious son (whose father burns barns to intimidate his landlords), his wife Eula Snopes, the lazy, beautiful daughter of the rich, landed Will Varner, and Ratliff, the traveling sewing-ma ...more
J.M. Hushour
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've made my way through a lot of Faulkner's novels by this point and enjoyed them all a lot, but 'The Hamlet' might stand out, along with 'The Reivers' as one of the funniest. 'The Hamlet' is a series of interlinked short stories about the coming of the Snopes clan to Frenchman's Bend and their effects on the townspeople through their weird, vague wiles. Various Snopeses fingale their way to hickster triumphs over the unsuspecting, well, and suspecting, townsfolks. Horse trades gone wrong, the ...more
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels-english
The plotting is not flawless (as is, e.g., Absalom), but the writing is often so brilliant and the characterizations so rich and even profound, that one can forgive Faulkner his somewhat gothic conceits and sometimes excessive Naturalism.
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 20-ce, fiction, us
A masterpiece. I wish I could say the same for the succeeding volumes of The Snopes Trilogy.
Jun 04, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished -- I wasn't sure if I would, as I put it down to read other things, and at times wondered if I should bother picking it up again. I like Faulkner, but I didn't like this book. Faulkner can be difficult (which doesn't bother me); this book wasn't difficult -- it just wasn't that good. I liked some of the writing, and it got better near the end but not enough to make up for the middle.

Much of it was ridiculous (in more than one sense of that word) -- some of it on purpose, some of
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-lit
I read this in an undergraduate seminar on Faulkner in the mid-60s. A couple years later I would complete the trilogy, with The Town and the Mansion-this latter, probably my favorite of Faulkner's, though As I Lay Dying was my favorite to teach college Freshmen and Sophomores. (See my review.)
There's almost a willful neglect of Faulkner's Snopes trilogy, in favor of his experimental modernism. Though the trilogy is perspectival, hence modernist in that sense (especially The Mansion), the prose
Charles Lewis
Jun 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've been wrestling with Faulkner all my life. I always wanted to like him but I found him difficult to crack. Then more than 30 years ago I was working in the high Canadian Arctic, living in a tent with one other guy, when I found I had a copy of Go Down Moses in my bag. I had tried to read it a few years before. But then as I started to read the book came alive. I just could not believe how wonderful it was. So the lesson it taught me that some authors need time but you have to find the right ...more
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: high-brow
It's been a long time since I've dipped into Faulkner's dense slabs of prose, but I decided it was time to return to Yoknapatawpha County again while on a recent trip to Georgia. This is the first of three books about the Snopes family and introduces Flem Snopes to the reader. The first part of the novel may be familiar from one of Faulkner's short stories, "Barn Burning" which many of us had to read in school.

I have no idea how much Faulkner is read outside of required assignments for school,
Jun 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Nerds with free time and a desire to boring shit.
Recommended to Russell by: Nerds with no free time and a desire to boring shit.
I finally finished this dense, slow, boring reading project.

First of all, I will say that it was unbelievably well written. The imagery and scope of the story are difficult to pull off and Faulkner is obviously a master. Second, I will say that the story of the Snopes clan is pretty fascinating in itself. They are locusts swooping into Frenchman's Bend and sucking the property and people dry until they control everything and everyone.

Having given out that necessary praise, the fact is that the
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: The seriously jaded
Recommended to Still by: Scores of people throughout my life. Most recently and persistently? My wife.

One of the most memorable books I have ever read.
Maybe I'll review it tomorrow but what can I say?
You'll either read Faulkner someday or you won't.
I can't think of a better novel to start out with, though.
Aug 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book of the Snopes trilogy finds us in Frenchman's Bend a small Mississippi town built in the ruins of an old stately plantation. In the aftermath of the war the somewhat shady character Flem Snopes shows up and pretty quickly begins taking over the town. The main theme I suppose is the abject poverty of the townsfolk and the downright greed that drives some of them. It's pretty much four stories - some loosely related. I could have done without the one about weird Ike Snopes and his r ...more
Carol Storm
Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My American Literature professor at Columbia told us that this was the ideal starting point for reading the novels of William Faulkner. The language is clear and easy to read and the bigger than life characters are easy to understand and identify with.

Personally, when I was at Columbia I felt out of place and unwanted, just like Flem Snopes. Maybe that's why I always found the tone of this novel a little too glib, and smug. William Faulkner is a big promoter of the myth of southern gentility, i
Thing Two
Nov 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Thing Two by: Southern Lit book Club
Broken into four sections, and published occasionally as short stories, The Hamlet begins Faulkner's Snopes family trilogy.

Set in Frenchmen's Bend on Mississippi's Yoknapatawpha River, this tale begins as Al Snopes and his family sign-on to be tenant farmers on Will Varner's land. By the end of the book, Al's son Flem has married the Varner's daughter, is running the Varner's store, and has pissed off Varner's son. The whole story is told by the very observant V.K. Ratliff, who doesn't miss a be
Jul 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: south, favorites
The only problem with Faulkner is not what I thought it was when I was forced to read him in high school (that he just doesn't make a lick of sense). The problem I now know is that you can't read him quickly, you can't read him with the television on, nor with other people's children running through your house. If you try, it might take you 20 pages of confusion to actually understand that yes, he is really talking about somebody screwing a cow. That's just an example of how much entertainment i ...more

As some other Good readers have commented, not as tightly plotted as you might want, but still captivating at times and gives you the best of what Faulkner can give you.

Some people say that the Snopes family is a predecessor to the Trumps, but that's not entirely accurate. I mean, the low business dealings and amorality is there, as is the slow creeping into the fabric of a society through guile, but the Trumps are all sizzle, no steak. Media creations. Plus their wealth is inherited. The Sn
Apr 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
What a trip! I still have not decided whether I loved it or hated it. So much country! Reminds me of all of those Romanian novels I had to read for middle and high school, very "country". Still, something about it was fascinating. I think in the end I loved the writing, but hated the world that it describes.
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
oh, so good. the language is so gorgeous and the subtext so loud. Best to go to the classics to read a really great book. What other than maybe Don deLillo and David Foster Wallace could compare in this generation?????
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
The germ of this novel can be traced back as far as 1927 to a short story entitled "Spotted Horses" which was incorporated into the novel in Book 4. In fact, a total of four Faulkner short stories made their way into the novel at different points, but to label The Hamlet as simply a collection of previously written short stories is to miss both the uniformity of the novel and a chance to experience Faulkner's creative mind at work. If the reader takes the time to compare the original of the inco ...more
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
The "Snopes Trilogy" has been sitting on my bookshelves here at home far too long not to be read. There is always a stack from the library far more interesting requiring an immediacy (the library will want their books back soon) that my own bookshelves do not. For years, I was intimidated by Faulkner as I just couldn't get through "Sound and Fury". After many tries, I did. I like "The Hamlet" on a different level: I found it surprisingly comical and magnificently atmospheric. During the first co ...more
Paula Ferreira Pinto
Não me é possível atribuir 3 estrelas e meia, que seria a minha rigorosa avaliação quantitativa.
De todos os que li do autor, foi o que menos me impressionou, sem o deixar de fazer. E, na verdade, surpreendida fiquei por não haver uma referência à bebida de eleição do Faulkner: o toddy! Eu que a esperava para aí à décima página...
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the South, a calculating commercialism replaces sentimental courtliness. Faulkner’s grotesque and comic storylines treat both with disdain.
An Badagadze
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
FULL REVIEW (with all the emotions)

I haven't read Faulkner for quite a while - since last summer and it's a big period for a reader who needs her portion of W.F. time to time as if it was a sorbet served between courses of dinner. And I started The Hamlet, which brings me additional pleasure as it was really hard to find paperback in my country and I found it on the street book market published by already not existing Georgian publisher in 1976, with yellow pages and a smell of a real old book,
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  • One Matchless Time: A Life of William Faulkner
  • Lightning Bug
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  • Provinces of Night
  • The Robber Bridegroom
  • Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey and His Dream of Mother Africa
  • Yonder Stands Your Orphan
  • The Victim
  • Chemistry and Other Stories
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  • Toys in the Attic
  • The Woman of the Pharisees
  • A Visitation of Spirits
  • Three Lives & Tender Buttons
  • The Web and the Rock
  • The Long Dream
  • Remembrance of Things Past: Volume III - The Captive, The Fugitive, & Time Regained
William Cuthbert Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer. One of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, his reputation is based mostly on his novels, novellas, and short stories. He was also a published poet and an occasional screenwriter.

The majority of his works are based in his native state of Mississippi. Though his work was published as earl

Other books in the series

The Snopes Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Town
  • The Mansion
“He was looking forward to his visit not only for the pleasure of the shrewd dealing which far transcended mere gross profit, but with the sheer happiness of being out of bed and moving once more at free will, even though a little weakly, in the sun and air which men drank and moved in and talked and dealt with one another - a pleasure no small part of which lay in the fact that he had not started yet and was absolutely nothing under heaven to make him start until he wanted to. He did not still feel weak, he was merely luxuriating in that supremely gutful lassitude of convalescence in which time, hurry, doing, did not exist, the accumulating seconds and minutes and hours to which in its well state the body's slave both waking and sleeping, now reversed and time now the lip-server and mendicant to the body's pleasure instead of the body thrall to time's headlong course.” 4 likes
“Roofed by the woven canopy of blind annealing grass-roots and the roots of trees, dark in the blind dark of time's silt and rich refuse - the constant and unslumbering anonymous worm-glut and the inextricable known bones - Troy's Helen and the nymphs and the snoring mitred bishops, the saviors and the victims and the kings - it wakes, up-seeping, attritive in uncountable creeping channels: first, root; then frond by frond, from whose escaping tips like gas it rises and disseminates and stains the sleep-fast earth with drowsy insect-murmur; then, still upward-seeking, creeps the knitted bark of trunk and limb where, suddenly louder leaf by leaf and dispersive in diffusive sudden speed, melodious with the winged and jeweled throats, it upward bursts and fills night's globed negation with jonquil thunder.” 2 likes
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