William Faulkner and Southern History

William Faulkner and Southern History

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One of America's great novelists, William Faulkner was a writer deeply rooted in the American South. In works such as The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light In August, and Absalom, Absalom! Faulkner drew powerfully on Southern themes, attitudes, and atmosphere to create his own world and place - the mythical Yoknapatawpha County - peopled with quintessential Southerners such as the Compsons, Sartorises, Snopes, and McCaslins. Indeed, to a degree perhaps unmatched by any other major twentieth-century novelist, Faulkner remained at home and explored his own region - the history and culture and people of the South. Now, in William Faulkner and Southern History, one of America's most acclaimed historians of the South, Joel Williamson, weaves together a perceptive biography of Faulkner himself, an astute analysis of his works, and a revealing history of Faulkner's ancestors in Mississippi - a family history that becomes, in Williamson's skilled hands, a vivid portrait of Southern culture itself. Williamson provides an insightful look at Faulkner's ancestors, a group sketch so brilliant that the family comes alive almost as vividly as in Faulkner's own fiction. Indeed, his ancestors often outstrip his characters in their colorful and bizarre nature. Williamson has made several discoveries: the Falkners (William was the first to spell it "Faulkner") were not planter, slaveholding "aristocrats"; Confederate Colonel Falkner was not an unalloyed hero, and he probably sired, protected, and educated a mulatto daughter who married into America's mulatto elite; Faulkner's maternal grandfather Charlie Butler stole the town's money and disappeared in the winter of 1887-1888, never to return.Equally important, Williamson uses these stories to underscore themes of race, class, economics, politics, religion, sex and violence, idealism and Romanticism - "the rainbow of elements in human culture" - that reappear in Faulkner's work. He also shows that, while Faulkner's ancesshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 514 pages
  • 166 x 242 x 40mm | 1,079.54g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 4 pp genealogical tables
  • 0195074041
  • 9780195074048

About Joel Williamson

About the Author: Joel Williamson is Lineberger Professor in the Humanities at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is one of our foremost historians of the South, and his classic work The Crucible of Race (1984) won five awards: the Parkman Prize by the Society of American Historians (for high literary quality), the Emerson Award by Phi Beta Kappa (for scholarship in the humanities), a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, the Mayflower Cup, and the Owsley Prize of the Southern Historical Association (for the best book on the American South). It was also one of three books nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in nistory for 1984.show more

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