Faulkner the Southerner

(I usually don’t post book reviews as articles, but if it’sa book written by Jim Kibler it’s worth a read – DD)

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(The Abbeville Institute) What more can be said than what has already been said about the life and work of William Faulkner? For decades, scholars and lay enthusiasts alike have written a myriad of books (and even more articles) analyzing the techniques that formed, and the influences and beliefs that informed, such seminal works as The Sound and the FuryAs I Lay Dying, and Absalom, Absalom! While it is true that these novels deserve all of the attention that they have received over the past ninety years, it also remains true that quantity is no measure of quality. Every year sees the publication of tomes dedicated to examining the world of Yoknapatawpha County in a new light, offering “fresh” perspectives and interpretations that all too often end up being shoddy attempts to relegate the author to the limiting dogmas of various ideological camps. Many, unfortunately, degenerate into mere sensationalism. One can see a recent example of this decadence in Phillip Gordon’s Gay Faulkner: Uncovering a Homosexual Presence in Yoknapatawpha and Beyond (University of Mississippi Press, 2019), the cover of which shows Rowan Oak behind its cedars and beneath a sky that have been superimposed by the now infamous rainbow. This may be an extreme example of the sorry state of Faulkner studies, but even among the best academic biographies that have been written on Faulkner none seem to have adequately approached the factors that could help explain how brilliance could have emerged from such a place and time as Oxford, Mississippi in the first half of the twentieth century. Fortunately for Faulkner’s true audience, a new study (one that does not claim to offer novel, modern, or au courant insights) of his work has proven that sensible criticism is far from moribund. The book is Dr. James E. Kibler’s Faulkner the Southerner & the Continuity of Southern Letters (Abbeville Institute Press, 2023).

This volume, the result of over fifty years of studying the inspired creator of Yoknapatawpha County, holds…

Faulkner the Southerner – Abbeville Institute