William Faulkner: The Yoknapatawpha Country
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About this book
Hailed by critics and scholars as the most valuable study of Faulkner's fiction, Cleanth Brooks's "William Faulkner: The Yoknapatawpha Country "explores the Mississippi writer's fictional county and the commanding role it played in so much of his work. Brooks shows that Faulkner's strong attachment to his region, with its rich particularity and deep sense of community, gave him a special vantage point from which to view the modern world.Books's consideration of such novels as "Light in August, The Unvanquished, As I Lay Dying, "and "Intruder in the Dust "shows the ways in which Faulkner used Yoknapatawpha County to examine the characteristic themes of the twentieth century. Contending that a complete understanding of Faulkner's writing cannot be had without a thorough grasp of fictional detail, Brooks gives careful attention to "what happens: In the Yoknapatawpha novels. He also includes useful genealogies of Faulkner's fictional clans and a character index.
At no point in reading Cleanth Brook's treatment of Faulkner do you stop wishing you were reading Faulkner, which isn't really Brook's fault I suppose. Perhaps it isn't fair to require literary theorists to write about our favorite books. No matter how thorough Brooks manages to make his survey of Faulkner's work his collection fails to capture or sustain the kind of language that I think flourishes in the best criticism. Intelligent, clear, well written there is not anything to say against this book just not enough to say for it. Since Brooks avoided a chronological arrangement I have to wonder why he segmented off his review of Faulkner by novel. It is themes that Brooks seems to excel at the most. As it is he stops repeatedly in every chapter to either remind us of a previous book or summarize one that will follow. (He also annoys me considerably by spending about 4 pages comparing Gavin to Sir Tristan when there are so many, better, allusions to explore)
Invaluable for those who love Faulkner and want to understand his writing even more.