On William Faulkner
About this book
American Literature -- Literary Criticism Eudora Welty (1909-2001) and William Faulkner (1897-1962) were almost unquestionably Mississippi's leading literary lions during the twentieth century. Their influence on American literature is immeasurable."On William Faulkner" brings together Welty's reviews, essays, lectures, and musings on Faulkner, including such gems as her reviews of "Intruder in the Dust" and "The Selected Letters of William Faulkner," as well as her comments during her presentation of the Gold Medal to Faulkner during the National Institute of Arts and Letters awards ceremony in 1962. The collection also features an excerpt from a letter she wrote to the novelist Jean Stafford, telling of meeting Faulkner and of going sailing with him. Included too are Welty's impassioned defense of Faulkner's work-published as a letter to the "New Yorker"-and the obituary of the Nobel laureate that she wrote for the Associated Press.In addition, the book includes a cryptic postcard Faulkner wrote to Welty from Hollywood, plus six photographs, and a caricature of Faulkner drawn by Welty during the 1930s.Commenting on the place of both writers in contemporary literature, an essay by the noted literary scholar Noel Polk puts the collection in context and offers assessment and appreciation of their achievements in American literature."On William Faulkner" is a valuable resource for exploring Faulkner's work and sensing Welty's critical voice. Her sharp critical eye and graceful prose make her an astute commentator on his legacy.Eudora Welty is the author of many novels and story collections, including "The Optimist's Daughter" (Pulitzer Prize), "Losing Battles," "The Ponder Heart," "The Robber Bridegroom," "A Curtain of Green and Other Stories," as well as three collections of her photographic work (all from the University Press of Mississippi)-"Photographs," "Country Churchyards," and "One Time, One Place: Mississippi in the Depression."William Faulkner is the author of "The Sound and the Fury," "Light in August," "Absalom, Absalom!," "Sanctuary," "As I Lay Dying," among others. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949.Noel Polk, a professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi, is the author of many critical studies on Welty and Faulkner and is the co-editor of the Library of America edition of Faulkner's works.
There are three ways to look at this book: as an object, as a relic, and as a visit. As an object, it is a peculiar kind of monument: words of literary greats housed in format like a children's book (though inside, the pictures were merely illustrative.) It seems a thing built to appeal to poetasters and the glitterati, a chic addition to the coffee table.As a relic, it has an appeal to anyone that fell in love with the charming words of either author, and especially to those who loved both. It's a book built around a theme, that of adoration (sometimes mutual) of people we may think too elevated, to sharply aware of emotional depth to allow themselves the transient and lighthearted feelings of admiration. In that the book is cleverly designed, it appeals to those who have the feelings for these authors that Welty had for Faulkner.As a visit, there is much to take away, especially in the depths of critical analysis Welty was capable of, although this time focused on the three great things about Faulkner (and herself): the ability to tell a wonderfully memorable story, the ability to evoke a sense of place in both time and space, and the ability to show humor in tragedy, and the tragedy of humor. You can sometimes feel privvy to a wonderful chat, reading this. But you will not walk away any more enlightened. Worth taking from the library, which I did.
A beautiful tribute from one master to another.