saavedra77: Doc from Deadwood has a dark turn of mind .. (dark)
[personal profile] saavedra77
I recently finished re-reading Faulkner's Absalom! Absalom!, which turned out to be as powerfully immersive an experience as my first reading of the novel, over twenty years ago:

While Faulkner's prose is notoriously demanding, even obscure, I've always been drawn to its baroque music and sensuousness, as well as the ways in which his stories deal with time, personal and historical memory, and perspective. Faulkner's brand of modernist Southern Gothic moreover appeals to my moody cast of mind, historical preoccupations, and taste for poetic prose. (Personal nostalgia for humid summer scenes of wistaria, mimosa, willow, and fireflies no doubt plays a role, too.)

And Absalom! Absalom! represents Faulkner at his most demanding, obscure, baroque, and Gothic--an echo chamber of unreliable narrators and stories-within-stories, reconstructing the unscrupulous rise and Homeric fall of a family and a social system. (The expression 'eats its own young' frequently comes to mind.)

The most significant differences in my reaction to this story the second time through:

1) It's interesting that Faulkner (here and elsewhere) most readily engages with the South's legacies of slavery and segregation through mixed-race characters who "pass" for white, whereas the inner lives of visibly nonwhite characters seem inaccessible to him;

2) I feel more strongly than ever about how I want to respond to Quentin Compson's outburst about the South, at the end: I want to ask him "How could you not?! What the hell else are you doing in freezing your ass off in Massachusetts, regaling your Canadian roommate with stories of how Sophoclean it all was?"


saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Default)
Anthony Diaz

December 2014

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