Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Before reading Faulkner's works look through its characteristics and then choose the most interesting one


Works by William Faulkner (1897-1962)
1924
The Marble Faun. Faulkner's first book is a collection of pastoral verse that sells so poorly that most of the five-hundred-copy edition is remaindered to a bookstore for ten cents a copy. Sherwood Anderson, whom Faulkner would meet in New Orleans in 1925, helped convince Faulkner that his talent lay in writing prose.
1926
Soldiers' Pay. Faulkner's first novel, about a disfigured American flyer's painful homecoming to Georgia, is published with the assistance of Sherwood Anderson, who supposedly agreed to recommend it to his publisher under the condition that he would not have to read the book.
1927
Mosquitoes. Faulkner's second novel assembles a mixed group of characters on the yacht of a New Orleans matron for conversations on literature and sex. Daring for its time in its references to masturbation, lesbianism, and syphilis, the book, according to critic Cleanth Brooks, "is Faulkner's least respected novel, and it is easy to see why... there is almost no story here; nothing of real consequence happens to any of its characters." The book retains a biographical relevance in expressing Faulkner's view of the New Orleans literary scene.
1929
Sartoris. Faulkner's third novel, an abridgment of the unpublished The Flags in the Dust, is his first work set in Yoknapatawpha County, the imagined equivalent of the author's native northern Mississippi. It traces Bayard Sartoris's return home from the war, haunted by the death of his twin and his aristocratic Southern family's legacy. The novel introduces themes, settings, and characters that would dominate Faulkner's books from then on. Faulkner also publishes The Sound and the Fury, which presents the disintegration of the Southern patrician Compson family through stream-of-consciousness interior monologues of the three Compson sons--the idiot Benjy, the incestuously haunted Quentin, and the grasping Jason--concerning their relationship with their fallen sister, Caddy. The fourth section is an objective account focusing on the Compson's black cook, Dilsey. It is the first of Faulkner's technically innovative narratives and one of his greatest achievements.
1930
As I Lay Dying. Faulkner's most experimentally daring novel, written over a six-week period when Faulkner was working the night shift at a powerhouse, is a multivocal stream-of-consciousness account of the poor white Bundren family's journey to bury their mother, Addie, in her native town, Jefferson, Mississippi. The book combines horror, comedy, and a profound meditation on the nature of being.
1931
Sanctuary. Failing to reach the public with his previous novels, Faulkner set out to write a potboiler--"the most horrific tale I could imagine"--to make money. Composed in three weeks (but substantially reworked by a shocked Faulkner when he received the galleys), the story of Temple Drake's rape and torture by the sadistic psychopath Popeye becomes Faulkner's only bestseller. Also published in 1931 is the story collection These 13, including some of his greatest stories, such as "Victory," "Red Leaves," and "A Rose for Emily."
1932
Light in August. One of Faulkner's greatest novels concerns the tragic ramifications of the purportedly mixed-blood heritage of the outcast Joe Christmas and the rigidity and alienation of a large cast of memorable characters, including New England liberal Joanna Burden, disgraced minister Gail Hightower, and seduced-and-abandoned country girl Lena Grove.
1933
A Green Bough. The writer, who would regard himself as a "failed poet," publishes his second and last poetry collection.
1934
Doctor Martino, and Other Stories. Faulkner's story collection includes "Fox Hunt," "Smoke," "Mountain Victory," and "Honor."
1935
Pylon. Between the masterful Light in August (1934) and Absalom, Absalom! (1936), Faulkner publishes what is generally regarded as a minor work about aviators during a Mardi Gras celebration.
1936
Absalom, Absalom! Regarded by many as the writer's masterpiece, this complex, multivocal novel depicts the fall of the house of Mississippi's Thomas Sutpen and reflects American and Southern history before, during, and after the Civil War.
1938
The Unvanquished. Faulkner groups previously published short stories into a narrative chronicling the Sartoris family of Mississippi during the Civil War and Reconstruction.
1939
The Wild Palms. Two stories centered on the precariousness of love juxtapose a New Orleans doctor's tragic affair with a married woman and a convict's relationship with a pregnant hill woman during a flood.
1940
The Hamlet. The first of a trilogy that includes The Town (1957) and The Mansion (1960), the novel covers the rise to power of the grasping, corrupt Flem Snopes and his kin in Faulkner's imagined county in Mississippi.
1942
Go Down, Moses and Other Stories. Faulkner's short story collection deals with the McCaslin clan and includes one of his most admired works, "The Bear." Reviewers alternately recognize evidence of Faulkner's maturity and greatness as a writer and express their irritation at the "hopelessly tangled skeins" of his sentences, creating opaqueness rather than lucidity.
1946
The Portable Faulkner. This selection and arrangement of Faulkner's work, edited by Malcolm Cowley, is widely credited with reviving interest in the writer, most of whose books were out of print by 1946.
1948
Intruder in the Dust. In a working out of Faulkner's response to the South's "Negro Problem" (as it was called at the time), Lucas Beaucamp, a black Mississippi farmer, is charged with the murder of a white man. He is eventually cleared by black and white teenagers and a spinster from an old Southern family.
1949
Knight's Gambit. A story collection featuring country attorney Gavin Stephens in Faulkner's version of the detective genre. According to critic Malcolm Cowley, the work is "the slightest... and the pleasantest of all the books that Faulkner has published."
1950
Collected Stories. These forty-two stories represent what, according to Faulkner, constitutes his achievement as a short story writer. The stories are arranged with care into six thematic units that provide a key to the author's intentions. The collection is universally praised and receives the National Book Award.
1951
Requiem for a Nun. This sequel to Sanctuary is yet another of Faulkner's experiments with novelistic form. Three prose sections providing historical background are interspersed with three others constituting a three-act play. The story concerns the fate of Nancy Mannigoe, a black nurse accused of murdering a white child.
1954
A Fable. Faulkner's novel is a long parable about the passion of Christ, set during World War I. Faulkner had labored for years over the novel and considered it his masterwork. Although it wins the Pulitzer Prize, later critics would deem it one of his weakest books.
1955
Big Woods. Faulkner's collection brings together his previously printed hunting stories--"The Bear," "The Old People," and "A Bear Hunt"--with a new story, "Ride at Morning," as well as the author's explanatory comments.
1957
The Town. The second installment of Faulkner's Snopes trilogy appears seventeen years after the first volume, The Hamlet (1940). The novel focuses on an outsider, the lawyer Gavin Stevens, and his naive longing for two of the Snopes women. Narration by another outsider, the itinerant sewing machine salesman V. K. Ratliff, integrates The Town with its predecessor in the trilogy. The set would be completed with the 1960 publication of The Mansion.
1958
New Orleans Sketches. This book collects Faulkner's experimental prose pieces written in 1925, marking his transition from poetry to fiction.
1959
The Mansion. Faulkner concludes his trilogy on the Snopes family, begun with The Hamlet (1940) and continued in The Town (1957). The novel shows a prosperous Flem Snopes and the vengeance of his cousin Mink, which ends Flem's career.
1962
The Reivers: A Reminiscence. Published one month before his death, Faulkner's final novel is a nostalgic last look at Yoknapatawpha County in a comic tale set in 1905. It wins Faulkner a second Pulitzer Prize.
1965
Essays, Speeches, and Public Letters. This collection includes Faulkner's review of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, lectures, introductions, essays on various writers including Sherwood Anderson and Albert Camus, impressions of Japan and New England, and comments about social issues such as race relations.

1 comment:

anna_filatova said...

Olga, great!
You are the most enthusiastic blogger in your group. But you have forgotten to provide the link to the site from which you have borrowed this wonderful biographical material. Please do that!