| While commenting on the problems of being
an individual Southern writer amidst so many genuinely talented writers
from that region in this century, Flannery O'Connor once noted, "The presence
alone of Faulkner in our midst makes a great difference in what the writer
can and cannot permit himself to do. Nobody wants his mule and wagon stalled
on the same track the Dixie Limited is roaring down."1
Her railroading metaphor wittily captured much of the respect and unease
the example of Faulkner has brought the worldwide community of writers.
Few modern writers, except perhaps for James Joyce, have had so profound an influence throughout the world as has William Faulkner. He might be called a "writer's writer," that is one who is held up as a preceptor and model for other writers to emulate. The novel has certainly not been the same since Faulkner, that much seems clear, and the intent here is to document some of the reasons by surveying the exact nature of what Faulkner has meant to his colleagues both in the United States and abroad.
Faulkner began to attract the attention of other writers at the very start of his career as a published novelist. In Nashville, Fugitive poet Donald Davidson, not yet a spokesman for Agrarianism, reviewed Faulkner's first three novels for his prominent book page in the Nashville Tennessean newspaper. Soldiers' Pay (1926) he found to be the product of a skillful writer with "a fine power of objectifying his own and other's emotions, ... an artist in language, a sort of poet turned into prose." Mosquitoes (1927) he thought too much under the influence of James Joyce and too possessed with the grotesque, but admirable nevertheless for "the skill of the performance." As an emerging poet himself, with two volumes in print, these are the kinds of things another wordsmith would find noteworthy. Davidson would remain an admirer of Faulkner's genius with words, and with the appearance of Sartoris in 1929, he would proclaim Faulkner "the equal of any except three or four American novelists who stand at the very top."2
Such praise was not only regional however. Modernist poet Conrad Aiken, writing in the New York Post on Mosquitoes, provided a thorough analysis of both the charms and deficiencies of Faulkner's prose and, along the way, found him the equal of Hemingway in dialogue, "with something of Katherine Mansfield's sense of light and texture, and a good deal of [Aldous] Huxley's erudition...."3 This placed him in-the company of some of the best known writers of the time, and in a later 1939 essay for Atlantic magazine, a penetrating defense of the complexity of Faulkner's style, Aiken placed him in the company of Henry James and Balzac as a brilliant stylist.4
Reviewing Mosquitoes for the New York Herald Tribune, playwright Lillian Hellman (who had enthusiastically read the manuscript for the publisher) likewise found Faulkner comparable to Huxley at his best, and at his worst under the influence of Joyce in overwritten passages. Mainly the novel demonstrated a genius found "in the writings of only a few men."5 Of course, both Aiken and Hellman were transplanted Southerners, the first from Savannah, Georgia, and the second from New Orleans, Louisiana, the exact states in which the first two novels were set respectively. They were thus able to exercise a kind of judgment about authenticity that other readers might not. But this was not why they were impressed with the works. Their independent critical judgments suggested that they were in the presence of a great writer and rival.
Just about all of Faulkner's contemporaries also knew they were in for major-competition from the young Mississippi country boy with an unabridged vocabulary and undisciplined style. Beginning with Sartoris, to be followed shortly by The Sound and the Fury (1929), As I Lay Dying (1930), and Sanctuary (1931), as well as the other stellar works of the 1930s, including Light in August (1932) and Absalom, Absalom! (1936), anyone who cared about writing in America could hardly overlook or ignore his presence. Among the older generation of writers, Sherwood Anderson both praised and mentored Faulkner into print, and he would say in an essay for American Mercury in 1930, "The two most notable young writers who have come on in America since the war, it seems to me, are William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway."6 That is a coupling that would be frequently made, usually to the chagrin of the latter.
The leading lady of Southern letters, Ellen Glasgow, repulsed by the gothicism and grim naturalism of many modern writers, rejected Faulkner as one of their number. In her essays and letters, she referred to "the fantastic nightmares of William Faulkner," "the sodden futilitarians and the corncob cavaliers of Mr. Faulkner," and "Faulkner's school of Raw-Head-and-Bloody-Bones" fiction.7 Similarly, the genteel Mid-Western sensibility of Booth Tarkington found Faulkner little too his liking, sarcastically nominating him "our Leader and Hero," but after parodying his prose in a 1932 letter to historical novelist Kenneth Roberts, he would grudgingly admit, "Outside of being different with parenthesis and things now and then, and some traces of Stephen Crane, our Leader is often satisfactorily confusing in ways that demonstrate greatness."8
The writers who rested most uneasily in light of his increasing reputation were those immediate contemporaries who were making a conscious bid for recognition as the major American novelist. Ernest Hemingway, the major contender, always taking on the competition in figurative boxing matches, was especially worried that Faulkner was the better writer. When Hemingway was not put out or responding nastily to some negative comment he thought Faulkner had made about his own writing, Hemingway was quite generous in his praise. Reacting in 1932 to a reviewer of Death in the Afternoon who had misunderstood a reference to Faulkner in that book, Hemingway wrote the New Yorker to assert "I have plenty of respect for Faulkner and wish him all luck."9 In an essay for Esquire in 1935, he mentioned with admiration Faulkner's Pylon, and in a 1946 interview he agreed that Faulkner was "the greatest living American writer."10 Despite referring sarcastically to Faulkner's mythic county as "Octonawhoopoo" and "Anomatopoeio County," and to the writer as "Old Corndrinking Mellifluous," Hemingway greatly respected Faulkner's achievement, as did Faulkner his.11 They were simply different kinds of writers with different artistic visions, and their public personae sometimes got in their way.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, who alternately found himself either being tutored how to write better or being disparaged by Hemingway, although he needed no lessons, held no public discourse with Faulkner and no sense of competition. They had met and seemed to respect each other, but when Fitzgerald was making notes or giving advice about writing, he often cautioned against Faulkner's influence. He warned John Peale Bishop, when reviewing his manuscript for Act of Darkness, that too often he "saw patterns in this book which derived background and drama from Faulkner," and while working on Tender is the Night, he made a note for himself: "Must avoid Faulkner attitude and not end with a novelized Kraft-Ebing--better Ophelia and her flowers."12 He and Zelda frequently gave friends copies of Sanctuary, although one told Zelda "she couldn't sleep for three nights it gave her the horrors so terribly," and Scott reported in 1932, "Have been reading Sanctuary and Little Lord Fauntleroy together--chapter by chapter (this is serious) and am simply overwhelmed by the resemblance. The books are simply two faces of the same world spirit ...."13
Of course, neither Hemingway nor Fitzgerald were likely to be influenced very much by Faulkner, set as they were in their own aesthetic ways, but the influence did go the other way. In Faulkner's first two novels, techniques he had learned about style and authorial attitude from both writers are clearly evident, and the original title for Soldiers' Pay, "Mayday," had been used previously by Fitzgerald for one of his short stories. After Fitzgerald's death in 1940, and the temporary eclipse of his reputation, when asked to list the major American writers, Faulkner usually omitted Fitzgerald but consistently included Hemingway, although what he said nearly always got him into trouble.
It was, in fact, what Faulkner said specifically about Thomas Wolfe that got him into the most trouble with Hemingway. On more than one occasion that got into print, Faulkner ranked Wolfe above Hemingway among the current generation of writers, because Hemingway lacked the artistic courage of a Wolfe. As Faulkner later retold it:
|I said ... that among his and my contemporaries, I ranked Wolfe first because we had all failed but Wolfe had made the best failure because he had tried hardest to say the most.... My admiration for Wolfe is that he tried his best to get it all said; he was willing to throw away style, coherence, all the rules of preciseness, to try to put all the experience of the human heart on the head of a pin, as it were. He may have had the best talent of us, he may have been "the greatest American writer" if he had lived longer....14|
|As for Wolfe's opinion of Faulkner, he had lived long enough to see his major works into print but two years before his death made some encouraging if condescending remarks about both Hemingway and Faulkner to a newspaper reporter:|
|I have met both Hemingway and Faulkner and my own deep feeling is that neither has begun to reach full maturity and that both will do better books than they have done yet.... I don't think [Faulkner] has begun yet to use the whole range and sweep of his material, for here is a man whose talent could play over all of life. I've read "The Sound and the Fury" and "As I Lay Dying" and, of course, "Sanctuary." I've no notion of how he will develop, but here is a man with too extensive knowledge to deal merely with the horrible and the demented and the macabre types of life.... "The Sound and the Fury" was in many ways a very wonderful book, and I doubt that a man of that imaginative and inventive power can be held down ... or restricted to one type of story.15|
|Interestingly enough, it was the very thing that Faulkner admired in
Wolfe--the sweep and inclusiveness of human experience--that Wolfe felt
Faulkner lacked in his focus on those alienated from and marginalized by
society. But if Wolfe could not tell by then, having read some of his best
novels, that Faulkner was a great writer, then he probably never would
have recognized his worth. We do not know if Faulkner ever saw these comments,
but he did not retain his high opinion and rudely told a reporter in 1957
that reading Wolfe bored him.16
Two other names usually appeared in Faulkner's lists of great American writers--John Steinbeck and John Dos Passos-- but neither publicly reciprocated during his lifetime. In a letter to a friend in 1956, Steinbeck complained that receiving the Nobel Prize had ruined Faulkner:
|When those old writing boys get to talking about The Artist, meaning themselves, I want to leave the profession. I don't know whether the Nobel Prize does it or not, but if it does, thank God I have not been so honored.... Sure he's a good writer but he's turning into a god damned phoney.17|
|When he asked Faulkner for advice about visiting Japan to attend the
P. E. N. Congress is 1957, and Faulkner replied with useful suggestions,
there was no hint of such rancor in Steinbeck's very friendly letter of
thanks. But then he probably had not seen Faulkner's comment made while
he was in Japan in 1955: "Steinbeck is just a reporter, a newspaperman,
not really a writer."18 As for
Dos Passos, it was not until after Faulkner's death that he wrote a eulogy
in 1963 praising his story telling abilities, his visual use of details,
his "marvelously accurate observations," and his creation of real characters
based on the truth of experience, "just as Homer made his goddesses and
heroes real because he built them out of traits he knew in men and women."19
Women writers were usually not included in the famous Faulkner lists, although Willa Cather occasionally crept on, but there was one whom he should have mentioned because of her importance in establishing his reputation--Evelyn Scott. At the time recognized as the author of a powerful and complex novel about the Civil War, The Wave, and seemingly destined for greatness, she was asked to review the galley proofs for The Sound and the Fury by Faulkner's publisher in 1929. Her one page response was so enthusiastic that she was asked to expand it into a pamphlet which was to be issued along with the novel for book dealers and critics. In the six pages of text, Scott outlined the reasons why The Sound and the Fury was "a unique and distinguished novel," "an important contribution to the permanent literature of fiction."20 Moving through the novel book by book, she displayed in these few pages a clearer understanding of the plot, structure, and themes of the novel than most of the critics in the decade to follow. There is no doubt that this boost from a writer of greater reputation than his own helped establish the seriousness of Faulkner's work in the eyes of the literary world, but there is no record of his having reciprocated with a thank you or a single compliment as her career degenerated, except to say on one occasion when asked to name any good women novelists, "Well, Evelyn Scott was pretty good, for a woman."21 This was 1940 when Scott was alive and still publishing, but note the past tense and the condescending last phrase.
At least two other contemporary women writers went on record about Faulkner, although he is not known to have mentioned them. Although Katherine Anne Porter did not include him on her list of the true masters of fiction, she did lecture about his novels in the late 1940s and 1950s, spoke appreciatively of his humor as "-one of the funniest men in the world," and praised "The Bear" as "a just about perfect" piece of fiction. In general she thought his work was too emotional and "Dionysiac" and wrote in a letter probably to Caroline Gordon in 1931 about The Sound and the Fury: "I have never seen such a cold-blooded assault on the nerve-ends, so unrepentant a statement of horror as that book. And such good bold sound writing."22 In 1951, Porter sent Faulkner a fan letter which he seems to have disregarded.
When The Portable Faulkner appeared in 1946, Caroline Gordon let her views be known in a front-page review for the New York Times Book Review, where she unhesitatingly declared him a "major novelist" and "poet" in prose. When she put together in collaboration with her then husband Allen Tate the 1950 textbook, The House of Fiction: An Anthology of the Short Story, she called Faulkner a "master" of the form in his ability "to unite concrete historical detail with lyricism."23
Other novelists, playwrights, and poets across the nation found it necessary to weigh in with an opinion on the value of Faulkner's example as a creative writer. James T. Farrell thought he had already been overpraised in 1932 but was forced to recognize his "impressive stylistic competence and a considerable virtuosity in construction and organization."24 Upon publication of Absalom, Absalom! in 1936, Wallace Stegner noted that the-novel had confounded most critics because they were inept or lazy, and although Faulkner may not have entirely succeeded in his intention, "the new technique of this novel may prove to be a significant contribution to the theory and art of fiction...."25 Stegner would also write with appreciation in later reviews of Faulkner's uses of humor and his ability to create violence such that "reading him is like taking hold of an electrified fence."26 In Paris, in 1934, Henry Miller tried to find a copy of Sanctuary to read because, he wrote Anaïs Nin, "I have a feeling that he is the only possible rival I have today in America," and in 1944 he would write publisher James Laughlin that Faulkner was one of "only two American writers, since Twain and Whitman, who give the real American feeling." Miller expressed a desire to meet Faulkner several times over the years, but apparently he never did, although he visited Eudora Welty in Mississippi.27
Playwright Laurence Stallings in 1935 felt that there were three Faulkners "struggling for possession of Faulkner's heart." One was a humorist, the second was a Southern sentimentalist, and the third was an author of "prose engendering enormous technical friction," and possibly one of the three was a "genius."28 When Thornton Wilder read both Light in August and The Hamlet in 1940, he oddly misread the first as a defense of lynching and the second a defense of unscrupulous acquisitiveness: "Again," he wrote in his journal, "the South's thin blood must prostate itself in envy and admiration before any expression of action, however base." Wilder did not pick up Absalom, Absalom! until nine years later and then at Cleanth Brooks' suggestion. He was sorry he did. Recording his response in a journal entry, he found that "the book runs the risk momently of collapsing into ignominious absurdity," and he thought he detected racist attitudes in Faulkner's treatment of miscegenation.29
Poet Stephen Vincent Benét was an admirer of Faulkner's ability to create "continuously interesting characters," especially the Snopes family, and the "hallucinative power" of his style which kept "one reading like a man in the toils of nightmare, till the last page is turned."30 Dorothy Parker thought he simply was "the greatest writer we have," and Wallace Stevens once noted that "For all his gross realism, Faulkner is a poet," but E. E. Cummings (whom Faulkner had imitated in a few of his early poems) was not impressed and wrote with his typical free-lance comic spelling that "all the Flakners in Missouriissippi" could not match one of Isak Dinesen's best stories.31
In the beginning, Winfield Townley Scott was not impressed either. When he was reviewing The Sound and the Fury in 1929 (Scott himself was only nineteen at the time), he called it a tiresome modernist experiment which "tells us nothing," but he changed his attitude as he reviewed Faulkner over the years. By the time of Absalom, Absalom! in 1936, he regretted his earlier lapse in judgment and was reading with greater appreciation, and when The Reivers was published in 1962, he had only praise for Faulkner and predicted that his last novel would prove a "classic of American literature."32
A dominant school of Southern authors had emerged alongside Faulkner and Thomas Wolfe in the form of a group of writers gathered at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, at first as poets publishing The Fugitive magazine, then as essayists on behalf of the cause of Agrarianism against Industrialism in their 1930 manifesto I'll Take My Stand, and finally as independent critics, novelists, and men of letters in and outside the South. While Faulkner looked askance at organized writers turned polemical spokesmen, they were largely supporters of his work and contributed to his growing reputation. Donald Davidson's early appreciative reviews of his novels have already been mentioned, and the other leading lights would have their say.
In preparing an essay on modern Southern literature for the Virginia Quarterly Review in 1935, John Crowe Ransom found Faulkner one of "the most artful Southern writers," "a powerful man of genius," and "the most exciting figure in our contemporary literature just now."33 This was before he picked up Pylon to review it for the Nashville Tennessean. Pylon, he wrote, was "frenzied and bad; the wildest prose he has ever written," and he concluded, "it is such a bad book that it seems to mark the end of William Faulkner."34 It didn't, of course, and much later by 1951 Ransom would return to a balanced opinion by noting the uneven quality of his prose but believing "his perfections are wonderful, and well sustained, and without exact precedent anywhere."35
Allen Tate would seldom write at any length about Faulkner, but when he did, he would say and reiterate unequivocally that he was "the most powerful and original novelist in the United States and one of the best in the modern world."36 Of course, Faulkner was a perfect example for Tate of the power to be gained by writing under the inspiration of provincial tradition and regionalism. The two other associated novelists who wrote frequently and at great length about Faulkner were Andrew Lytle and Robert Penn Warren. Both were also teachers and critics of literature and examined Faulkner's novels with an analytic eye sharpened by the actual practice of writing their own successful fiction. Lytle's several essay reviews for the Sewanee Review are extended appreciations of the style, structure, and meaning of the fiction by a writer who was clearly for Lytle, as he calls him at one point, the "master."37
Through a series of book reviews for various periodicals beginning in 1932 up to his editing of an anthology of criticism on Faulkner in 1966, more than any other writer, Warren paid tribute to the master's accomplishment, perhaps best summarized in his review of The Portable Faulkner for the New Republic in 1946 (itself an important essay that would lay down the major lines of criticism to follow): "Here is a novelist who, in the mass of his work, in scope of material, in range of effect, in reportorial accuracy and symbolic subtlety, in philosophical weight, can be put beside the masters of our own past literature."38 Warren learned much from Faulkner about ways to transpose his personal experience as a Southerner into art and perhaps the debt was partly repaid when Faulkner may have borrowed something from him. Just as Warren was writing his review of The Portable Faulkner, Faulkner read All the King's Men, and in a letter to the publisher complimented the book but was especially moved by the Cass Mastern narrative within the novel.39 Frederick R. Karl has suggested that it was his reading of Warren that caused Faulkner to follow the "Cass Mastern pattern" in most of his work after 1946.40
Outside the South and the United States, Faulkner's work and career captured early attention in England and France. British novelist Richard Hughes was responsible for initiating his European reputation. While visiting the states in 1929, he read copies--of Soldiers' Pay and Mosquitoes, and the galley-proofs for The Sound and the Fury supplied by the publisher. Once home, he encouraged his own publisher to issue Soldier's Pay for which he wrote the introduction calling Faulkner "the most interesting novelist in America." Hughes then encouraged the elderly novelist Arnold Bennett to review Soldiers' Pay and The Sound and the Fury. While Bennett found him "exasperatingly, unimaginably difficult to read," he thought he had a "great and original talent" and made the famous comment, "he writes generally like an angel."41 The strength of Bennett's reputation was such that soon other novelists began to pay attention in England. L. A. G. Strong, for example, reviewed several of the novels and said that Faulkner filled him "with admiration and envy," and V. S. Pritchett would come to the considered conclusion that he was "the only substantial American novelist since Henry James."42
But the praise was by no means uniform. Rebecca West in 1931 thought "Sanctuary would seem a clear case of art that had lost its sense of values."43 Edwin Muir found As I Lay Dying naive and full of "signs of immaturity," and Graham Greene, about to publish his first major novel Brighton Rock, declared that Faulkner "isn't another Joyce ... that Mr. Faulkner has not created a single character of recognizable humanity and that the intellectual content of his novel [Absalom, Absalom!] is about nil."44 George Orwell, known for his love of lucid style, predictably rejected The Hamlet in 1940 as "fatiguing" and certainly not worth a second reading to understand it.45 But one of the most damning assessments perhaps ever written about Faulkner came from Irish short story writer Sean O'Faolain, who began carefully to follow Faulkner's career in 1935 and would conclude by 1953, in one of his Christian Gauss lectures at Princeton University, "He is an ingenuous man, of strong feelings, a dedicated sincerity and poor equipment: a maimed genius," or as he subtitled his paper, "More genius than talent."46
Faulkner's reception and influence in France would be more profound. The person mainly responsible for introducing him there was the critic and translator Maurice Edgar Coindreau, first with an essay in 1931, the translation of two short stories in 1932 ("Dry September" and "A Rose for Emily"), and then a series of highly competent translations of the novels, beginning with As I Lay Dying in 1934.47 Immediately the emerging French writers responded. André Malraux wrote an admiring introduction for the French version of Sanctuary, where he outlined Faulkner's world view, in which Destiny controlled man's fate, and concluded that "Sanctuary is the intrusion of Greek tragedy into the detective novel."48 Jean-Paul Sartre, who was introduced to Faulkner's novels even before they were translated by his companion Simone de Beauvoir, undertook analyses of Sartoris and The Sound and the Fury and applauded in the first its humanism and in the second its use of the metaphysics of time: "Faulkner's vision of the world can be compared to that of a man sitting in an open car and looking backwards."49 In a 1946 essay, Sartre detailed just how profoundly Faulkner "evoked a revolution" in French literature, especially through his innovations in "the method of reflecting different aspects of the same event, through the monologues of different sensitivities," and changing the "chronological order of the story" in behalf of "a more subtle order, half logical, half intuitive."50 In a letter to Malcolm Cowley, Sartre wrote, "For the youth of France, Faulkner is a god."51
Albert Camus would especially be drawn to Requiem for a Nun and believing that in it Faulkner had created a "modern tragedy," he effectively proved it by translating and adapting the work for the European stage where it had a long and successful run.52 On more than one occasion, when asked by an American for an opinion, including the week before his untimely death in 1960, Camus would say, "Faulkner remains for me your greatest living creator."53 Even this he had topped earlier by reportedly saying, "Faulkner is the greatest writer in the world."54 After his death, Faulkner would write a tribute to Camus. The only dissenting voice in France may have been from the much older and established André Gide, who read Light in August in 1926--and noted in his journal, "I had hoped to be able to admire it much more. Certain pages are those of a great book; lost in manner and device."55 He was also reported to have said, "there is not one of Faulkner's characters who properly speaking has a soul...." Faulkner always retained a good opinion of Gide, however, and called him a "very intelligent talent."56
If the French literary landscape had been radically altered by Faulkner, even more so was this true apparently in South America. The first translation of Faulkner to appear in Spain was a version of Sanctuary by Cuban novelist Lino Novás Calvo as early as 1934, and others would follow in both Spain and Argentina, including a 1940 translation of The Wild Palms by Jorge Luis Borges of Buenos Aires. Borges believed "Faulkner was a writer of genius," but he was also "perverse" in his playing with time and using multiple narrators which made reading him so difficult. Nevertheless he thought Faulkner was "not unworthy" of comparison with Shakespeare.57 Of course, Borges' own erudite, labyrinthine "ficciones" owe little to Faulkner and create their own kind of difficulties for the reader. Borges' Guatemalan contemporary, Miguel Angel Asturias, put Faulkner "first" at the top of his list of favorite American novelists.58
With the next generation of South American writers, however, it is more than a matter of admiration. Carlos Fuentes of Mexico has reported, "When I first read Faulkner, I thought: 'I must become a writer,"' But he also felt strongly moved by his reading because of a kinship he detected in Faulkner's central theme of human defeat:
|That is why we Latin Americans feel so close to Faulkner's works; only Faulkner, in the literature of the United States, only Faulkner, in the closed world of optimism and success, offers an image that is common to both the United States and Latin America: the image of defeat, of separation, of doubt: the image of tragedy.59|
|Fuentes' own concern in his work with the history of Mexico and its
political and social problems, as well as his experiments with fragmented
and nonchronological perspectives, are elements he owes to Faulkner's example.
Gabriel García Márquez of Colombia, who began reading Faulkner is 1949, would develop the affinity idea further, as when he observed, "I read Faulkner and found that his whole world--the world of the Southern United States which he writes about--was very much like my world, that it was created by the same people.... One mustn't forget that Faulkner is in a way a Latin American writer. His world is that of the Gulf of Mexico."60 García Márquez would claim that this was Faulkner's main influence on him, a confluence of spiritual kinship, but it is perfectly clear that he learned a good deal more: the creation of a fictional community to serve as a microcosm of an entire society, as well as his experiments with sentence structure, the fragmentation of time, and multiple narrators are merely the more obvious. It is indeed arguable that his 1967 masterpiece, Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude), could not have been possible without Faulkner's fiction to serve as inspiration and master instruction. García Márquez would state, "Faulkner is found in all the fiction of Latin America," and any number of writers have admitted this applies to them, including Juan Rulfo of Mexico, Julio Cortázar of Argentina, Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru, Juan Carlos Onetti of Uruguay, and José Donoso and Isabel Allende of Chile.61 By liberating these writers, and many others, from the traditional themes and methods of narration, and paving the way for new techniques in dealing with time and history and modern tragedy, Faulkner helped generate what may be the most vital writing in the world at the century's end.
As a new generation of writers after Faulkner's emerged in the states, they too found their artistic and literary landscape considerably changed as a result of the large shadow cast by Faulkner. But it was a more diverse group now, with more African-Americans and women than before. When fellow Mississippian--Richard Wright published his first book in 1938, Uncle Tom's Children, he told an interviewer that Faulkner was one of his two favorite writers because "He is the only white writer I know of living in Mississippi who is trying to tell the truth [about the real South] in fiction."62 Native Son attracted Faulkner's attention in 1940, and when Black Boy appeared in 1945, he sat down to write a letter to Wright commending his courage for saying what "needed to be said" about race relations in America, but he went on to express his preference for Native Son, because it was a more "artistic" statement on the level of general human experience.63 Ten years later, he told a Japanese interviewer that Wright "wrote one good book and then went astray," because he failed to remain an artist first and a black activist second.64 Wright had partly responded to this charge when Faulkner received the Nobel Prize in 1950 by writing a tribute in French in which he congratulated him for making art out of the material of regional experience: "... Faulkner's greatness resided primarily in his power to transpose the American scene as it exists in the Southern states, filter it through his sensibilities and finally define it with words."65 While there seems to be a meeting of the minds here, the truth is both followed separate missions as artists and writers.
In the same interview in which he mentioned Wright in Japan, Faulkner also noted, "Another [black writer] named Ellison has talent and so far has managed to stay away from being first a Negro, he is still first a writer."66 Ralph Ellison's only novel, Invisible Man, had appeared three years earlier and was very Faulknerian in its uses of time, narrative consciousness, and surreal structure. But Ellison was always uneasy about Faulkner, and in an essay written in 1946 but not published until 1953, while he thought Faulkner had explored black experience "more successfully than anyone else," he also found "mixed motives" in his frequent use of black stereotypes. Nevertheless, he believed that Faulkner was "the greatest writer the South has produced."67
Among other black writers, Chester Himes said he always turned to Faulkner for inspiration when he was writing, because he felt that Faulkner's world view was based on the absurdity of life, as was his own. Referring to his close relationship with Richard Wright, Himes once noted, "Faulkner had the utter influence over my writing, but Dick had influence over my life."68 The younger and more radical James Baldwin had little patience for Faulkner, especially his gradualist attitude towards civil rights. For him, Faulkner was a mixture of contradictions and hypocrisy and embodied the confused paradox of being a Southerner in the modern world. In more than one essay Baldwin would lay out his deep disappointment in Faulkner in no uncertain terms, as in his comments just five months before Faulkner's death:
|I respect Faulkner enough, for example, to be saddened by his pronouncements on the race question, to be offended by the soupy rhetoric of his Nobel Prize speech, and to resent--for his sake--the critical obtuseness which accepted (from the man who wrote "Light in August") such indefensibly muddy work as "Intruder in the Dust" and "Requiem for a Nun."69|
|For Baldwin, Faulkner seemed to be a fallen idol who was unable to
match his words with action, itself a profound form of respect.
Ernest Gaines found it possible to distinguish between Faulkner, the writer, and Faulkner the man who said inept things sometimes in interviews and public statements about race relations. Interestingly enough, Gaines did not turn to Wright, Ellison, or Baldwin to learn his craft, but to Chekhov, Turgenev, Joyce, Hemingway, Anderson, and especially Faulkner, the writer: "I think Faulkner has influenced me more than any other writer," he has said. Like Faulkner, Gaines has created a mythical community in his fiction, effectively recreated the rhythms of Southern dialect, and addressed the themes of time and the past and their influence on the present moment. While his philosophy is different, these are things Gaines says he has learned from Faulkner.70
Among the women writers of the next generation who would speak up on behalf of Faulkner, most were Southern, and perhaps the major voice was that of another Mississippian, Eudora Welty. She first began to read him when she was a student at the University of Wisconsin, from which she graduated in 1929. After her third book was out in 1943, she received a note from Faulkner asking about her work, which he would recall and compliment some fifteen years later at the University of Virginia. She also visited Faulkner in his home in the summer of 1949 through the auspices of a mutual friend.71
Welty would first venture into print in his defense against an unflattering review of Intruder in the Dust by Edmund Wilson which had appeared in the October 23, 1948 issue of the New Yorker and which suggested Faulkner's artistic development was hampered by his remaining "stubbornly" in Mississippi. In her letter in the January 1, 1949 issue, she asserted that Wilson was merely displaying his own provincialism and that writers are best judged by their accomplishments, not where they lived.72 She went on to write a full appreciation of the novel for the Hudson Review that year in which she praised the energy, the humor, and the "intolerably unanalyzable and quite pure" style of the prose in Intruder in the Dust.73 In other essays and reviews over the years, she would continue her soundly reasoned arguments that "above all present day story tellers, he is the one ahead of his time--the most astonishingly powered and passionate writer we have."74 After his death, she would write, "His work is a triumphant vision ..., an imagination that has shone incomparably the brightest in our firmament," and "No man ever put more of his heart and soul into the written word than did William Faulkner."75
Regarding his influence on her own work, she put it most picturesquely when she said:
|So often I'm asked how I could have written a word with William Faulkner living in Mississippi, and the question amazes me. It was like living near a big mountain, something majestic--it made me happy to know it was there, all that work of his life. But it wasn't a helping or hindering presence.76|
|She would go on to discuss how she had learned from him how to capture
the sounds and cadences of speech--"Faulkner did it perfectly"--and the
ways to use locale and place in fiction, but beyond these things, there
was little influence, because "He wrote about a much vaster world than
anything I ever contemplated in my own work...."77
Given the range of her own work, however, she was being modest in that
last statement, but she also clearly perfected her own fictional voice.
She is a good example of how to learn from and not be intimidated by the
presence of Faulkner.
The same can be said for Flannery O'Connor and others. While she often issued denials in the spirit of humility--"I keep clear of Faulkner so my own little boat won't get swamped," or "he makes me feel that with my one-cylinder syntax I should quit writing and raise chickens altogether"--O'Connor had her own distinctive vision and style, unmatched in its spiritual singularity and gothic boldness, original and inimitable.78 Carson McCullers went her own way as well in her meditations on loneliness and isolation, and she had nothing but good words for Faulkner's ability to achieve "a fusion of anguish and farce that acts on the reader with an almost physical force."79 Faulkner helped her win a Guggenheim fellowship in 1941 with a letter of recommendation (actually written by someone else but signed by Faulkner like a blank check), and he said in 1958 at the University of Virginia that "she's done some of the best work in our time...."80 Another Mississippian, Elizabeth Spencer, has written a full essay on "Emerging as a Writer in Faulkner's Mississippi," in which she concludes, "Faulkner was a lion in the path, menacing further advance--or a bear in everybody's private wilderness," but "a good many writers have found a way to borrow from this extraordinary style of Faulkner's without sounding too much like the one who invented it," herself included. 81
The one Southern writer who seems to have found it hardest to get out from under the shadow of Faulkner is William Styron. This is partly because he had been deep into reading Faulkner when he wrote his first novel, Lie Down in Darkness, in 1951, which in turn demonstrated any number of affinities with The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying. Faulkner read the book and thought it "showed promise," but he made no comment about the similarities.82 Styron has himself admitted that he was imitating Faulkner at the start but then stopped and started all over again to escape the overwhelming influence. He would also argue, "I think that, whereas almost any fool could detect an influence of Faulkner in Lie Down in Darkness, I shook the more obvious qualities of Faulkner, and was left with a book which had its own distinctive and original stance."83 Styron would be known for some time, nevertheless, as imitation Faulkner, until he broke free of the reputation almost entirely with such original works as The Confessions of Nat Turner in 1967 and Sophie's Choice in 1979.
Shelby Foote, another Mississippian who was befriended by Faulkner, set about in the beginning of his career to write a series of novels and stories about a fictional Mississippi community interconnected in much the same way as the Yoknapatawpha cycle, which served to bring him the only reprimand of its kind on record. At the University of Virginia in 1957, Faulkner responded to a question about writers he thought worth reading: "There's a young man, a Mississippian, Shelby Foote, that shows promise, if he'll just stop trying to write Faulkner and will write some Shelby Foote."84 Foote heeded his advice and turned to his Civil War narratives, both fictional and historical, to achieve a greater reputation, and he always praised the Faulkner canon as "one of the greatest bodies of work in all the world's literature...."85
Walker Percy once said that "Faulkner has been both a blessing and a curse to the South--a blessing because he is probably the greatest American novelist of this century and a curse because he was so powerful and influential that many Southern writers, younger writers ... have published as imitation Faulkners."86 Doing something like that got Percy into trouble early on. When he had to produce a writing sample upon entering college, he submitted a piece in the style of The Sound and the Fury and was promptly placed in a remedial English class. As for his own writing, Percy said, "I'm probably least influenced by him than anyone else," although he saw his central character in The Moviegoer as an extension of one of Faulkner's : "In a way, Binx Bolling is Quentin Compson who didn't commit suicide."87
Peter Taylor believed that no one writing could escape the influence of Faulkner: "I think we all ought to get down on our knees every night and thank God for Faulkner. He is the master; he taught us all to observe our own world.... What gets borrowed or stolen doesn't matter, because a good writer always adds something, makes his particular mark."88 George Garrett would agree: "He has opened up new territories for all writers who have come and will come after him. He has changed our ways of thinking about the power and glory of fiction."89 In an essay on "The Influence of William Faulkner," Garrett argued "For myself, and for many of the young writers I know, he stands as a master, an example from whom we can always learn. There is no sense of competition. Art is not a horserace."90
The new territories Faulkner opened up and the new ways of thinking extended far beyond the South and its writers. In reviewing one of his books, Nelson Algren also claimed him as his "master," and Kay Boyle spoke of the "fearless, gifted hand" of "the most absorbing writer of our time."91 Poet Delmore Schwartz (the model for the character Von Humboldt Fleisher in Saul Bellow's Humboldt's Gift) wrote a lengthy appreciation of Faulkner for the Southern Review in 1941, and in 1955 an eleven-page exhaustive explication of A Fable to support his opinion that it was "a masterpiece, a unique fulfillment of Faulkner's genius which gives a luminous new meaning to his work as a whole," a conclusion shared by few others.92 Thomas Merton thought "Faulkner was an outrageously and deliberately demanding writer..., a genius comparable to Melville, Hawthorne, Dickens, and Dostoevsky," and looking for spiritual themes in his work, and paraphrasing Claude Edmonde Magny, noted "Faulkner works like a pre-historic Shaman who enmeshes the reader in numinous symbols and entrances him with sacred horror."93 Absurd satirist Terry Southern wrote an appreciation of Faulkner's humor in As I Lay Dying as a "twenty-one-gun salute to the absurd...."94 Wright Morris published an appraisal of his technical virtuosity and engaging visual humor, but he also felt that "Faulkner's interest in technique is exhaustive, and often at the expense of his substance."95
There have been the dissenting voices, of course. When John Hawkes declared "I love Faulkner" in an exchange with John Barth, Barth replied, "I read Faulkner with proper astonishment and instruction when I was graduate student age. I do not remember him with great pleasure."96 Truman Capote declared, in his first published interview, "I'm afraid of Faulkner, squeamish, really--I see him as a personal threat," and later in his career, "I find Faulkner's prose so cumbersome and tanglesome, the exact opposite of what I admire and try to do myself."97 Vladimir Nabokov said in 1965 that he saw no way "Faulkner's corncob chronicles can be considered 'masterpieces'...."98 It remained for Edward Dahlberg to offer perhaps the most savage attack on record, from which I will quote a few sample lines: "... the Popeye Faulkner novelist is a medieval corncob poet of everyday banalities that have a Rasputin odor.... Faulkner the Nobel Prize winner, gives us a diseased world, a moldy poor white class--and all in the name of truth and humanity.... Faulkner never bothered to learn how to write...."99
Such opinions notwithstanding, so powerful is the Faulknerian influence that it continues to the present. One of the most popular emerging writers at the moment is one more Mississippian who chooses not to write about the South or Mississippi, Richard Ford. Growing up in Jackson, he was aware of the spirit of Faulkner and the local reality of Eudora Welty, "whom I used to see, "he says, "buying her lunch at the steam table at the Jitney Jungle grocery...." He didn't begin to read Faulkner until college, especially Absalom, Absalom!, and luxuriated in the dazzling language, "Life, in words, geysering and eddying over each other...." Thus it was, he says, that "if anything I read influenced me to take a try at being a writer--even on a midget scale-- it was this pleasure I got from reading Faulkner."100
There is the case too of Toni Morrison, our most recent Nobel Prize winner, who wrote her master's thesis on Virginia Woolf and Faulkner and has taught his works but who denies any direct influence on her fiction. She has been "fascinated by what it means to write" the way he did in Absalom, Absalom!, she says, but she feels her roots are more in a distinctive African-American experience and culture. However that may be, critics are finding interesting parallels and reading the works of both together in ways to elucidate each other's vision and accomplishment.101 There is a dialogue about race going on between them that is remarkably rational, intelligent, and enlightening.
Meanwhile the waves of Faulkner influence have begun to reach the shores of new parts of the world. South African playwright Athol Fugard says that Faulkner "convinced him he was on the right track by concentrating on the dramas of his own small world."102 Japan's most recent Nobel Prize winner, Kenzaburo Oe, has proven himself a careful and articulate reader of Faulkner's fiction in his essays and comments, and as a writer has said, "Among the modern British and American writers, Faulkner is the one whom I have the strongest impulse to challenge."103 Other Japanese writers have testified to his importance in their careers, including Takehiko Fukunaga, Yukio Haruyama, Otohiko Kagawa, Nobuo Kojima, Minako Ohba, Kazuko Saegusa, Hiroshi Sakagami, and Kenji Nakagami.104 Even in China, one of the most respected contemporary authors, Mo Yan, has confessed that "Two particular works had the greatest impact on me. One was García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. The other was William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury." While possessing his own style and point of view, established to escape the two sources of his inspiration, like both of them Mo Yan has proceeded to create a fictional world based on rural Shandong province very much in the grand Faulknerian manner.105
This survey of essays, articles, reviews, letters, and interviews published over the last seven decades by novelists, poets, and dramatists about Faulkner, his fiction, and the power of his accomplishment demonstrate how profound and far reaching his impact has been. Most speak about his technical virtuosity and aesthetic genius and how these have influenced their own practice as writers. Others express the difficulties of trying to escape his example in forging their own styles. A minority criticize him for what they see as artistic failures and poor writing. Such a variety of responses indicate, in any case, that Faulkner has been an unavoidable presence in his own time and after, and he will remain a permanent part of the literary landscape at home and abroad.106
|1. Flannery O'Connor, Mystery
and Manners, ed. Sally and Robert Fitzgerald (New York: Farrar, Straus
& Giroux, 1969), p. 45.
2. Donald Davidson, "William Faulkner," Nashville Tennessean, April 11, 1926, Magazine Section, p. 6; "The Grotesque," Nashville Tennessean, July 3, 1927, Magazine Section, p. 7; "Two Mississippi Novels," Nashville Tennessean, April 14, 1929, Magazine Section, p. 7. Reprinted in M. Thomas Inge, ed., William Faulkner: The Contemporary Reviews (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 12-13, 20, 26-28.
3. Conrad Aiken, A Reviewer's ABC (New York: Meridian Books, 1958), pp. 197-200.
4. Aiken, pp. 200-207.
5. Lillian Hellman, "Futile Souls Adrift on a Yacht," New York Herald Tribune, June 19, 1927, p. 9. Inge, pp. 19-20.
6. Sherwood Anderson, "They Came Bearing Gifts," American Mercury, 21 (October 1930), p. 129.
7. Ellen Glasgow, "Heroes and Monsters," Saturday Review of Literature, 12 (May 4, 1935), 3; Letters of Ellen Glasgow, ed. Blair Rouse (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1958), pp. 154, 143.
8. Kenneth Roberts, I Wanted to Write (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1949), pp. 236-37.
9. New Yorker, November 5, 1932, pp. 74-75.
10. By-Line Ernest Hemingway, ed. William White (New York: Scribner's, 1967), p. 200; Conversations with Ernest Hemingway, ed. Matthew J. Brucolli (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996), p. 44.
11. Carlos Baker, Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story (New York: Scribner's, 1969), pp. 495, 503, 532.
12. The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Andrew Turnbull (New York: Scribner's, 1.963), p. 365; Arthur Mizener, The Far Side of Paradise: A Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1951), p. 313.
13. Correspondence of F. Scott Fitzgerald. ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Margaret M. Duggan (New York: Random House, 1980), pp. 270, 298.
14. Richard Walser, ed., The Enigma of Thomas Wolfe (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1953), p. vii.
15. "An Interview with Thomas Wolfe," Press Time: A Book of Post Classics (New York: Books, Inc., 1936), pp. 247-48. Originally published in the New York Evening Post, May 14, 1936.
16. Lion in the Garden: Interviews with William Faulkner, 1926-1962, ed. James B. Meriwether and Michael Millgate (New York: Random House, 1968), pp. 267-69. Originally published in the Washington Evening Star, June 12, 1957.
17. Steinbeck: A Life in Letters, ed. Elaine Steinbeck and Robert Wallsten (New York: Viking, 1975), pp. 529, 564-66.
18. Lion in the Garden, p. 91.
19. John Dos Passos, "Faulkner," Occasions and Protests (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1964), pp. 275-77. Also see Nancy St. Clair, "Dos Passos Lauds Faulkner in Talk," Charlottesville Dally Progress, February 9, 1963, p. 11.
20. Evelyn Scott, On William Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury" (New York: Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith, 1929), P. 5.
21. Lion in the Garden, p. 49. When the Saturday Review of Literature published an analysis of Sanctuary by psychoanalyst Lawrence S. Kubie in its issue of October 20, 1934, pp. 218, 224-26, Evelyn Scott wrote a response in the November 10 issue, pp. 272, 280, questioning Dr. Kubie's assessment of the character Popeye.
22. Jan Nordby Gretlund, "The Wild Old Green Man of the Woods: Katherine Anne Porter's Faulkner," Notes on Mississippi Writers, 12 (Winter 1980), 67-79.
23. Caroline Gordon, "Mr. Faulkner's Southern Saga," New York Times Book Review, May 5, 1946, pp. 1, 45; Caroline Gordon and Allen Tate, The House of Fiction: An Anthology of the Short Story with Commentary, Second edition (New York: Scribner's, 1960), pp. 331-34.
24. James T. Farrell, "The Faulkner Mixture," New York Sun, October 7, 1932, p. 29. Inge, pp. 83-84.
25. Wallace Stegner, "New Technique in Novel Introduced," Salt Lake City Tribune, November 29, 1936, p. 13-D. Inge, pp. 153-55.
26. Wallace Stegner, "The New Novels," Virginia Quarterly Review, 16 (Summer 1940), 464-65; "Conductivity in Fiction," Virginia Quarterly Review, 15 (Summer 1939), 446-47.
27. Henry Miller, Letters to Anaïs Nin, ed. Gunther Stuhlman (New York: Putnam's, 1965), pp. 130, 290, 294; Henry Miller and James Laughlin: Selected Letters, ed. George Wickes (New York: Norton, 1996), pp. 29, 42.
28. Laurence Stallings, "Gentleman from Mississippi," American Mercury, 34 (April 1935), 499-501.
29. The Journals of Thornton Wilder, 1939-1961, ed. Donald Gallup (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), pp. 18-21, 57-58.
30. Stephen Vincent Benét, "Flem Snopes and His Kin," Saturday Review of Literature, April 6, 1940, p. 7.
31. Dorothy Parker, "Best Fiction of 1957," Esquire, December, 1957, Inge, p. 464; Letters of Wallace Stevens, ed. Holly Stevens (New York: Knopf, 1966), p. 412; "E. E. Cummings: Twenty-Three Letters," ed. F. W. Dupee and George Stade, Harper's Magazine, March 1969, p. 78.
32. Winfield Townley Scott, "The Waning South," Providence Journal, October 20, 1929, Magazine Section, p. 27; "Faulkner, His Critics, and a Fresh Survey," Providence Sunday Journal, November 22, 1936, Section VI, p. 8; "Faulkner," Santa Fe New Mexican, June 3, 1962, pp. 3, 8. Inge, pp. 37-38, 152-53, 528-29.
33. John Crowe Ransom, "Modern with a Southern Accent," Virginia Quarterly Review, 11 (April 1935), 184-200.
34. John Crowe Ransom, "Faulkner, South's Most Brilliant but Wayward Talent, Is Spent," Nashville Banner, March 24, 1935, p. 8. Inge, pp. 120-21.
35. John Crowe Ransom, "William Faulkner: An Impression," Harvard Advocate, 135 (November 1951), 17.
36. Allen Tate, "The New Provincialism," Virginia Quarterly Review, 21 (Spring 1945), 262-72; "William Faulkner," New Statesman, September 28, 1962, p. 408.
37. Andrew Lytle, "Regeneration for the Man," Sewanee Review, 57 (Winter 1949), 120-27; "The Son of Man: He Will Prevail," Sewanee Review, 63(1955), 114-37; Sewanee Review, 65 (Summer 1957), 475-84.
38. Robert Penn Warren, "Not Local Color," Virginia Quarterly Review, 8 (January 1932), 153-160; "The Snopes World," Kenyon Review, 3 (Spring 1941), 253-57; "Cowley's Faulkner," New Republic, August 12, 1946, pp. 176-80, and August 26, 1946, pp. 234-37; "The Redemption of Temple Drake," New York Times Book Review, September 30, 1951, pp. 1, 31,Inge, pp. 343-46; Faulkner: A Collection of Critical Essays (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1966).
39. Selected Letters of William Faulkner, ed. Joseph Blotner (New York: Random House, 1977), p. 239.
40. Frederick R. Karl, William Faulkner: American Writer, A Biography (New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989), p. 746.
41. Richard Hughes, "Faulkner and Bennett," Encounter, 21 (September 1963), 59-61.
42. L. A. G. Strong, Spectator, September 19, 1931, p. 362; V. S. Pritchett, "Time Frozen: A Fable," Partisan Review, 21 (September-October 1954), 557-61; "That Time and That Wilderness," New Statesman, September 28, 1962, pp. 405-6.
43. Rebecca West, Daily Telegraph, October 2, 1931, p. 18.
44. Edwin Muir, Listener, October 16, 1935, p. 681; Graham Greene, "The Furies in Mississippi," London Mercury, 35 (March 1937), 517-18.
45. George Orwell, "Fiction and Life," Time and Tide, November 9, 1940, p. 1097.
46. Sean O'Faolain, Spectator, April 19, 1935, p. 668; The Vanishing Hero: Studies in the Novelists of the Twenties (Boston: Little, Brown, 1957), pp. 72-111.
47. Maurice Edgar Coindreau, "William Faulkner in France," Yale French Studies, No. 10 (Fall 1952), 85-91.
48. André Malraux, "A Preface for Faulkner's Sanctuary," Yale French Studies, No. 10 (Fall 1952), 92-94.
49. Jean-Paul Sartre, Literary and Philosophical Essays (New York: Criterion Books, 1955), pp. 73-87.
50. Jean-Paul Sartre, "American Novelists in French Eyes," Atlantic Magazine, 178 (August 1946), 114-18.
51. Malcolm Cowley, The Faulkner-Cowley File (New York: Viking, 1966), pp. 21-22.
52. Albert Camus, Lyrical and Critical Essays (New York: Knopf, 1968), pp. 311-21.
53. Albert Camus, letter, Harvard Advocate, 135 (November 1951), 21; Robert Donald Spector, "Camus' Illuminating Answers to Searching Questions," New York Herald Tribune Book Review, February 21, 1960, p. 1.
54. Joseph Blotner, Faulkner: A Biography (New York: Random House, 1984), p. 611.
55. André Gide, The Journals of Andre Gide (New York: Knopf, 1949), Vol. III, p. 341.
56. Lion in the Garden, p. 94.
57. Rita Guibert, Seven Voices: Seven Latin American Writers Talk to Rita Guibert (New York: Knopf, 1972), p. 100; Jorge Luis Borges, An Introduction to American Literature (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1971), pp. 48-49.
58. Seven Voices, p. 154.
59. Luis Leal, "A Spanish-American Perspective of Anglo-American Literature," Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, 5 (October 1980), 71; Luis Harss and Barbara Dahmann, Into the Mainstream: Conversations with Latin-American Writers (New York: Harper & Row, 1967), p. 322; Alfred MacAdam and Charles Russ, "The Art of Fiction LXVIII: Carlos Fuentes," Paris Review, 82 (Winter 1981), 140-175.
60. Seven Voices, p. 327.
61. Harley D. Oberhelman, "The Presence of Faulkner in the Writings of García Márquez," Graduate Studies Texas Tech University, No. 22 (August 1980), 1-43.
62. Conversations with Richard Wright, ed. Keneth Kinnamon and Michel Fabre (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1993), p. 10.
63. Selected Letters, p. 201.
64. Lion in the Garden, p. 185.
65. Richard Wright, "A Man of the South," Mississippi Quarterly, 43 (Winter 1989-90), 355-57.
66. Lion in the Garden, p. 185.
67. The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison, ed. John E. Callahan (New York: Modern Library, 1995), pp. 86, 97.
68. Edward Margolies and Michel Fabre, The Several Lives of Chester Himes (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1997), pp. 101, 118.
69. James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name (New York: Random House, 1961), pp. 117-26; "As Much Truth as One Can Bear," New York Times Book Review, January 14, 1962, pp. 1, 28.
70. Conversations with Ernest Gaines, ed. John Lowe (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1995), pp. 13, 25, 44-45, 90-92, 197.
71. Conversations with Eudora Welty, ed. Peggy Prenshaw (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1984), pp. 79, 322-23; Blotner, Faulkner: A Biography, p. 450; Faulkner in the University, ed. Frederick L. Gwynn and Joseph Blotner (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1959), p. 24.
72. Eudora Welty, "Department of Amplification," New Yorker, January 1, 1949, pp. 50-51. Inge, pp. 269-71.
73. Eudora Welty, "In Yoknapatawpha," Hudson Review, 1 (Winter 1949), 596-98.
74. Eudora Welty, Short Stories (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1949), p. 45.
75. Eudora Welty, "He Created Life in Fictional County," Washington Post and Times Herald, July 7, 1962, p. 2C; "Selected Letters of William Faulkner," New York Times Book Review, February 6, 1977, pp. 1, 28-30. A useful survey of her comments on Faulkner is found in Hunter Cole's "Welty on Faulkner," Notes on Mississippi Writers, 9 (Spring 1976), 28-49.
76. Conversations with Eudora Welty, p. 80.
77. Conversations with Eudora Welty, pp. 208. 220.
78. Flannery O'Connor, The Habit of Being (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1979), pp. 273, 292.
79. Carson McCullers, "The Russian Realists and Southern Literature," Decision, 2 (July 1941), 15-19.
80. Faulkner in the University, p. 259.
81. Faulkner and the Southern Renaissance, ed. Doreen Fowler and Ann J. Abadie (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1982), pp. 120-37. See also Hunter Cole, "Elizabeth Spencer at Sycamore Fair," Notes on Mississippi Writers, 6 (Winter 1974), 81-86.
82. Faulkner in the University, p. 13.
83. Conversations with William Styron, ed. James L. W. West III (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1985), pp. 6-7, 54-55.
84. Faulkner in the University, p. 50.
85. Shelbey Foote, "Five Stories, One Novella and Crime Themes Comprise Faulkner's Newest Collection," Delta Democrat Times (Greenville, Mississippi), November 13, 1949, p. 18. Inge, pp. 287-89.
86. Conversations with Eudora Welty, p. 112.
87. Conversations with Walker Percy, ed. Lewis A. Lawson and Victor A. Kramer (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1985), pp. 10-11, 53, 300.
88. Conversations with Peter Taylor, ed. Hubert H. McAlexander (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1987), pp. 8, 82.
89. George Garrett, "Introduction," Snopes by William Faulkner (New York: Modern Library, 1994), p. xi.
90. George Garrett, "The Influence of William Faulkner," Georgia Review, 18 (Winter 1964), 419-27.
91. Nelson Algren, "Faulkner's Thrillers, " New York Times Book Review, November 6, 1949, p. 4; Kay Boyle, "Tattered Banners, " New Republic, 94 (March 9, 1938), 136-37, Inge, pp. 177-79.
92. Delmore Schwartz, "The Fiction of William Faulkner," Southern Review, 7 (Summer 1941), 145-60; "William Faulkner's A Fable," Perspectives U.S.A., No. 10 (Winter 1955), pp. 126-36, Inge, pp. 401-410.
93. Thomas Merton, "The Sounds are Furious," The Critic, 25 (April-May 1967), 76-80. See also Merton's "'Baptism in the Forest': Wisdon and Initiation in William Faulkner," Mansions of the Spirit: Essays in Religion and Literature, ed. George A. Paniches (New York: Hawthorne Books, 1967), pp. 19-44.
94. Terry Southern, "Dark Laughter in the Towers," Nation, 190 (April 23, 1960), 348-50.
95. Wright Morris, Earthly Delights, Unearthly Adornments (New York: Harper & Row, 1978), pp. 131-40.
96. Thomas LeClair, "Hawkes and Barth Talk About Fiction," New York Times Book Review, April l, 1979, pp. 7, 31-33.
97. Truman Capote: Conversations, ed. M. Thomas Inge (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1987), pp. 12, 198.
98. Vladimir Nabokov, Strong Opinions (New York: McGraw Hill, 1973), p. 57. (Thanks to Professor Charles Nicol for calling this to my attention.)
99. Edward Dahlberg, Samuel Beckett's Wake and Other Uncollected Prose (Elmwood Park, Illinois: Dalkey Archive Press, 1989), pp. 67-74, 266-67.
100. Richard Ford, "The Three Kings: Hemingway, Faulkner, and Fitzgerald," Esquire, 100 (December 1983), 577-87.
101. Carol A. Kolmerten, Stephen M. Ross, and Judith Bryant Wittenberg, eds., Unflinching Gaze: Morrison and Faulkner Re-Envisioned (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1997) PP. 3-16 and passim; Philip M. Weinstein, What Else But Love? The Ordeal of Race in Faulkner and Morrison (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996).
102. John Battersby, "Athol Fugard: The Face of South Africa's Conscience, " Christian Science Monitor, July 14, 1992, pp. 10-ll.
103. Kenzaburo Oe, "Reading Faulkner from a Writer's Point of View," Faulkner Studies in Japan, ed. Thomas L. McHaney (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1985), pp. 62-75.
104. See their essays in Faulkner in Japan, as well as Faulkner After the Nobel Prize, ed. Michel Gresset and Kenzaburo Ohashi (Kyoto: Yamaguchi Publishing House, 1987), pp. 326-36.
105. M. Thomas Inge, "Faulkner and Mo Yan: Influences and Confluences," Perspectives on American Culture: Essays on Humor, Literature, and the Popular Arts (West Cornwall, Connecticut: Locust Hill Press, 1994), pp. 225-37.
106. For an earlier important essay which covers a part of the same ground as this one, see Thomas McHaney, "Watching for the Dixie Limited: Faulkner's Impact upon the Creative Writer," Fifty Years of Yoknapatawpha, ed. Doreen Fowler and Ann J. Abadie (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1980), pp. 226-47.
I did not see Professor McHaney's essay until the research and writing for mine was completed.
Copywright (C) 1999 M. Thomas Inge