Absalom, Absalom!
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Absalom, Absalom!

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Quentin Compson and Shreve, his Harvard room-mate, are obsessed by the tragic rise and fall of Thomas Sutpen. 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 ensures his ambitions are soon realised; land, marriage, children. But in after the chaos of Civil War, secrets from his own past threaten to destroy everything he has worked for.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 24mm | 266g
  • Vintage Classics
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • 0099475111
  • 9780099475118
  • 2,861

Flap copy

Absalom! Absalom! is William Faulkner's major work--his most important and ambitious contribution to American literature. In the dramatic texture of this story of the founding, flourishing and decay of the plantation of Sutpen's Hundred, and of the family that demonic Stephen Sutpen brought into the world a generation before the Civil War, there rises the lament of the South for its own vanished splendor. From its magnificent and bold inception, when with his wild Negroes the founder of the great plantation appeared out of nowhere to seize his hundred square miles of land and build his mansion, through the destruction of the Civil War and its aftermath, and the drab beginnings of the new South, the narrative is colored by the author's glowing imagery, his command of a powerful and magical prose style. Beneath its brilliant surface and dark undercurrents, the novel sweeps backward and forward through time. The story in all its ramifications becomes crystallized in the mind of a relative of this strange family, young Quentin Compson, a Harvard student. At the terrifying and abrupt end of the tale there remain in the crumbling shell of the old house only the dying son of its builder, an ancient Negro woman who had been his slave, and the idiot mulatto youth who was to be the only direct descendant of the Sutpen blood.
This edition is set from the first American edition of 1936 and commemorates the seventy-fifth anniversary of Random House.
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Back cover copy

WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE

'By universal consent, Faulkner stands as an equal in the sequence that includes Hawthorne, Melville, Mark Twain and Henry James' Harold Bloom

Quentin Compson and Shreve, his Harvard room-mate, are obsessed by the tragic rise and fall of Thomas Sutpen.
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 ensures his ambitions are soon realised; land, marriage, children. But in after the chaos of Civil War, secrets from his own past threaten to destroy everything he has worked for.


See also: Sanctuary
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Review Text

"The magnitude of Faulkner's characters lies in their blood and bone and sinew: the exquisite specificity of their human fallibility... Faulkner seemed incapable of separating intimate character from universal truth, and this rough refusal - both humble and defiant - was at the root of his force as a writer... No other American writer has achieved such staggering heights of form"
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Review quote

"The novel in which Faulkner most profoundly and completely says what he has to say about the South and the human condition" -- Walter Allen "For range of effect, philosophical weight, originality of style, variety of characterisation, humour and tragic intensity [Faulkner's Works] are without equal in our time and country" -- Robert Penn Warren "For all his concern with the South, Faulkner was actually seeking out the nature of man. Thus we must turn to him for that continuity of moral purpose which made which made for the greatness of our classics" -- Ralph Ellison "The magnitude of Faulkner's characters lies in their blood and bone and sinew: the exquisite specificity of their human fallibility... Faulkner seemed incapable of separating intimate character from universal truth, and this rough refusal - both humble and defiant - was at the root of his force as a writer... No other American writer has achieved such staggering heights of form" * Boston Globe * "Heart-pinching" * New York Times *
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About William Faulkner

Born in 1897 in New Albany, Mississippi, William Faulkner was the son of a family proud of their prominent role in the history of the south. He grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, and left high school at fifteen to work in his grandfather's bank. Rejected by the US military in 1915, he joined the Canadian flyers with the RAF, but was still in training when the war ended. Returning home he studied at the University of Mississippi and visited Europe briefly in 1925. His first poem was published in The New Republic in 1919. His first book of verse and early novels followed, but his major work began with the publication of The Sound and the Fury in 1929. As I Lay Dying (1930), Sanctuary (1931), Light in August (1932), Absalom, Absalom! (1936) and The Wild Palms (1939) are the key works of his great creative period leading up to Intruder in the Dust (1948). During the 1930s, he worked in Hollywood on film scripts, notably The Blue Lamp, co-written with Raymond Chandler.
William Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949 and the Pulitzer Prize for The Reivers just before his death in July 1962.
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Rating details

32,589 ratings
3.96 out of 5 stars
5 40% (12,896)
4 31% (10,139)
3 19% (6,189)
2 7% (2,133)
1 4% (1,232)
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