Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner

The timelessness of art is gripping not only when I contemplate 600-year-old Notre Dame de Paris, but also when realize this Faulkner masterpiece is almost a full 90 years old. 

Re-reading it, I'm thinking it's almost as if Faulkner had been determined to experiment how much it is humanely possible to play on narration while still remaining coherent and maintaining his literary standard. 
Reading takes focus and concentration, therefore, but is so intensely pleasurable I tore through the novel in two days.

It is set, of course, in Faulkner's usual, fictional Yoknapatawpha county, and revolves around the Compsons, the fall of the Compson family paralleling the decay of the Old South. The narration is divided into four parts, the first three told by different members of the family and the fourth by an omniscient narrator. Daughter Caddie does none of the narrating yet is at the core of the plot, most of which, incidentally, is already in the past when the novel begins.

For anyone with even a slight interest in literature, the Norton Critical Edition is always The Shit To Get, as it completes the novel with a series of very enlightening critical texts -  by prominent critics; here Robert Penn Warren, Jean Paul Sartre and AndrĂ© Bleikasten, for instance, though my favourite is Olga Vickery's A Study In Perspective -  plus, in this case, Faulkner's own Appendix, explicating the plot to the point it's almost indispensable.

I just remembered precisely why Faulkner my Favourite Author of All Time.


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