William Faulkner
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William Faulkner

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In this newest volume in Oxford's Lives and Legacies series, Carolyn Porter, a leading authority on William Faulkner, offers an insightful account of Faulkner's life and work, with special focus on the breathtaking twelve-year period when he wrote some of the finest novels in American literature. Porter ranges from Faulkner's childhood in Mississippi to his abortive career as a poet, his sojourn in New Orleans (where he met a sympathetic Sherwood Anderson and wrote his first novel Soldier's Pay), his short but strategically important stay in Paris, his "rescue" by Malcolm Crowley in the late 1940s, and his winning of the Nobel Prize. But the heart of the book illuminates the formal leap in Faulkner's creative vision beginning with The Sound and the Fury in 1929, which sold poorly but signaled the arrival of a major new literary talent. Indeed, from 1929 through 1942, he would produce, against formidable odds-physical, spiritual, and financial-some of the greatest fictional works of the twentieth century, including As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom! and Go Down, Moses. Porter shows how, during this remarkably sustained burst of creativity, Faulkner pursued an often feverish process of increasingly ambitious narrative experimentation, coupled with an equally ambitious thematic expansion, as he moved from a close-up study of the white nuclear family, both lower and upper class, to an epic vision of southern, American, and ultimately Western culture. Porter illuminates the importance of Faulkner's legacy not only for American literature, but also for world literature, and reveals how Faulkner lives on so powerfully, both in the works of his literary heirs and in the lives of readers today.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 142.2 x 210.8 x 25.4mm | 362.88g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195310497
  • 9780195310498

Review quote

At once comprehensive and succinct, Carolyn Porter's life of Faulkner is the best critical introduction to America's greatest modern writer. * Eric Sundquist, author of Strangers in the Land * Carolyn Porter has written the best short, critical biography of Faulkner. It's a work characterized by keen critical insight, deep learning acquired from a lifetime's work as a Faulkner scholar, and a witty, engaging style that makes the book a joy to read * a perfect introduction to Faulkner's life and work for anyone just becoming acquainted with Faulkner's fiction. * This short biography is a valuable addition to Faulkner scholarship, combining fresh insights and new analysis of Faulkner's remarkable achievements with a sensitive recounting of his life. Both general readers and experienced Faulkner scholars will find it engaging and illuminating. * David Minter, author of William Faulkner: His Life and Work * A concise but authoritative resource.... Porter's examination of Faulkner's writing technique, especially his experimentation with the narrative form, makes this resource essential for all libraries that support literature collections. * Erica Swenson Danowitz, Library Journal *show more

About Carolyn Porter

Carolyn Porter has taught American literature at the University of California, Berkeley, since 1972. The author of Seeing and Being: The Plight of the Participant Observer in Emerson, James, Adams, and Faulkner, she has written numerous essays on Henry James, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, and William Faulkner, as well as theoretical essays on American Studies and the New Historicism.show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Youth and Apprenticeship: The Sound and the Fury ; Chapter 2 The Major Years, Part I: As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary, & Light in August ; Chapter 3 The Major Years, Part II: Absalom, Absalom! and Go Down, Moses ; Chapter 4 Snopes and Beyond: The Hamlet ; A Final Note to Readers: Bibliography ; Notes ; Indexshow more

Rating details

32 ratings
3.71 out of 5 stars
5 22% (7)
4 41% (13)
3 28% (9)
2 6% (2)
1 3% (1)
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