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weezo
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« Reply #450 on: August 30, 2007, 05:28:05 PM »

Miscegenation may have been a taboo in the south, and there were legal raminifications for those who indulged, yet it was widely practiced nevertheless. Incest is still practiced in the mountains of Appalachia, as I learned from conversations with teachers in the western part of Virginia and with a project I did in West Virginia within the past decade. Many African Americans who have researched their roots or had their DNA tested, have learned they have Native, African and/or Cacausian ancesters. In Virginia, it was not uncommon for the plantation "massa" or his overseers to see to increasing the number of slaves by personally providing the seed. It was also not unusual for the lower class and servant class women to have children by free or enslaved black men. Such children, when they were discovered, were declaired wards of the local court and sold into indenture until they were 21 or older. If the resultant mullatos bore children during their indenture, the children were "owned" by the person who had purchased the indenture and were never freed or allowed to be raised by the mother/parents.

On this issue, history is a lurid as fiction.
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« Reply #451 on: August 30, 2007, 06:43:54 PM »

On this issue, history is a lurid as fiction.

Interesting. What you're telling me reminds of Willa Cather's Sapphira and the Slave Girl (1940).

"If the Africanist characters and their condition are removed from the text of Sapphira and the Slave Girl we will not have a Miss Havisham immured or in flames. We have nothing: no process of of deranged self-construction that can take for granted acquiescence in so awful an enterprise; no drama of limitless power."--Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, New York: Random House, 1993, p. 26.

That's why I'm interested in Absalom, Absalom. Quentin's "deranged self-construction" with Shreve in that cold Harvard dormatory room...is that not a drama of limitless power?

« Last Edit: September 02, 2007, 10:15:25 PM by pugetopolis » Logged

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« Reply #452 on: August 30, 2007, 06:52:48 PM »

"The imaginative strategy is a difficult one at best, an impossible one in the event--so impossible that Cather permits the novel to escape from the pages of fiction into nonfiction. For narrative credibility she substitutes her own dertermination to force the equation. It is an equation that must take place outside the narrative."--Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, New York: Random House, 1993, p. 26.
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« Reply #453 on: August 30, 2007, 06:59:05 PM »

"We are reminded of other images at the end of literary journeys into the forbidden space of blackness. Does Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom, after its protracted search for the telling African blood leave us with just such an image of snow and the eradication of race? Not quite. Shreve sees himself as the inheritor of the blood of African kings; the snow apparently is the wasteland of unmeaning, unfathomable whiteness."--Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, New York: Random House, 1993, p. 58.
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« Reply #454 on: August 30, 2007, 07:11:41 PM »

  weezo,re: #614
 "A new report by the ACLU, Broken Promises: Two Years After Katrina, exposes numerous civil rights violations that have occurred in Louisiana and Mississippi since the storm, including reports of heightened racially motivated police activity, housing discrimination, and prisoner abuse. "
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« Reply #455 on: August 30, 2007, 07:22:19 PM »

Go Down, Moses

“His own daughter. His own daughter. No No Not even him!!!”—William Faulkner, Go Down Moses, New York: Vintage, 1990, 259

In Go Down Moses, Old Carothers McCaslin makes the three-hundred mile journey to New Orleans in 1807 to purchase a black mistress. Two years later he marries her to his slave Thucydus, and a year after that she bears him the daughter who will bear him the son he remembers in his will. Initially Ike assumes the $1,000 legacy is payment for miscegenation: “Some sort of love. Even what he would have called love: not just an afternoon or a night’s spittoon.” (GDM, 258).

"What distinguishes Go Down, Moses from the Compson novels is the incestuous miscegenation between father and daughter that Ike subsequently discovers in the ledgers… Father-daughter incest is a different and, for Faulkner, a more personal matter than Quentin’s idealizing desire for his sister or the “pure and perfect incest” Mr. Compson imagines for Henry Sutpen in his half-brother Bon’s marrying Judith.”—James G. Watson, William Faulkner: Self-Presentation and Performance, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000, 189.

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« Reply #456 on: August 30, 2007, 07:22:32 PM »

....the south as a dying civilization in the wake of the Civil War.


Yes, but I’d go a little bit further and say that perhaps the ultimate taboo was “incestuous miscegenation” which Faulkner looks at with his novels.

TSATF—the Caddy, Quentin, Dalton ménage-a-trois.

Absalom—the Bon, Henry, Judith ménage-a-trois.

Dysfunctional families tho aren’t limited to the South—either antebellum or now.

Perhaps it’s just that Southerners like Faulkner, Capote, Harper Lee, Eudora Welty, Walker Percy, Tennessee Williams come from a storytelling tradition that flows like a summer breeze through the wisteria and bougainvillea vines on a verandah at night and there’s nothing else to do except sip a julep and tell the Story…

over and over again

South, North, Dysfunctional families.....Jerry Springer's made a killing in this particular industry.
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« Reply #457 on: August 30, 2007, 07:32:03 PM »

Go Down, Moses

“His own daughter. His own daughter. No No Not even him!!!”—William Faulkner, Go Down Moses, New York: Vintage, 1990, 259

In Go Down Moses, Old Carothers McCaslin makes the three-hundred mile journey to New Orleans in 1807 to purchase a black mistress. Two years later he marries her to his slave Thucydus, and a year after that she bears him the daughter who will bear him the son he remembers in his will. Initially Ike assumes the $1,000 legacy is payment for miscegenation: “Some sort of love. Even what he would have called love: not just an afternoon or a night’s spittoon.” (GDM, 258).

"What distinguishes Go Down, Moses from the Compson novels is the incestuous miscegenation between father and daughter that Ike subsequently discovers in the ledgers… Father-daughter incest is a different and, for Faulkner, a more personal matter than Quentin’s idealizing desire for his sister or the “pure and perfect incest” Mr. Compson imagines for Henry Sutpen in his half-brother Bon’s marrying Judith.”—James G. Watson, William Faulkner: Self-Presentation and Performance, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000, 189.



Father/daughter, Father/son relationships seem to be what Faulkner built around.  The father's input seems to have far more impact on his characters than the mother's input (or lack of). 

What sort of Thomas Sutpen would we have if his father had shown him the way of the world, instead of sending him up to the big house to find out for himself?  Henry and Judith, molded by their father, their mother being a weak woman who couldn't handle the hand she'd been dealt.  Quentin Compson's father, married to a self-centered woman, seems an observer of life more than a participant, eventually drinks himself to death.   Catastrophe passes through the fathers to their offspring....Faulkner's commentary on the shortcomings of the patriarchal society?
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« Reply #458 on: August 30, 2007, 07:48:04 PM »

South, North, Dysfunctional families.....Jerry Springer's made a killing in this particular industry.

The same with Frey and A Million Little Pieces...

Fiction...disguised as tell-all truthful Autobiography when it's really all bullshit.

The same with OJ's faux-memoir.

We're getting into "genre-bending" now.

Faulkner was good at it...

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« Reply #459 on: August 30, 2007, 07:51:04 PM »

Another way of looking at the father/son situation is to turn it around.  Sutpen was a guy from the sticks who had in mind that he was master of a grand design....a dynasty.  To build a dynasty, he needed sons, and those sons were his undoing. 

Interesting to note that Sutpen never claimed Clytie as his daughter.
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« Reply #460 on: August 30, 2007, 08:09:04 PM »

....Faulkner's commentary on the shortcomings of the patriarchal society?

Yes, but grounded in his own family.

That's the meaning of the two words: "apocryphal" and "philoprogegitive."

When sons and daughters reconceive and figuratively beget their own fathers again...as Quentin does.

Reconstructing, decomposing, extending past experience to still more personal family material...

New representations of immediate precursors...precognitive compositions delving into the past.

Autobiographical performances disguised as pulp fiction...

Aristocratic Sartorises, Delta Bourbon Sutpens, large-land-owning McCaslins, cheesy but smart Snopes and beautiful tragic Bons...they're all there.

Inside Absalom, Absalom = Pandora's Box






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« Reply #461 on: August 30, 2007, 08:20:55 PM »

To build a dynasty, he needed sons, and those sons were his undoing. 

There are other ways to build a Dynasty...you don't really need sons.

Sons are so uppity and troublesome don't ya know?

You can build a Dynasty with hard work and words...they're called Novels.

Not just one novel...but a Dynasty of them.

That's what the American writer William Faulkner did...

In the intro to The Sound and the Fury Faulkner describes how he saw The Sound and the Fury and all his other novels flash before his eyes...

Like a strike of lightening...

illuminating the landscape of his mind.........................





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« Reply #462 on: August 30, 2007, 08:21:55 PM »

....Faulkner's commentary on the shortcomings of the patriarchal society?

Yes, but grounded in his own family.

That's the meaning of the two words: "apocryphal" and "philoprogegitive."

When sons and daughters reconceive and figuratively beget their own fathers again...as Quentin does.

Reconstructing, decomposing, extending past experience to still more personal family material...

New representations of immediate precursors...precognitive compositions delving into the past.

Autobiographical performances disguised as pulp fiction...

Aristocratic Sartorises, Delta Bourbon Sutpens, large-land-owning McCaslins, cheesy but smart Snopes and beautiful tragic Bons...they're all there.

Inside Absalom, Absalom = Pandora's Box



Yes....now I see where you're at with the reference to Frey.  I have a more limited vision of "apocryphal" but it works combined with "phyloprogenative."    

Interesting thing about family....ask six members and you get six different stories. We all recreate our fathers.  Perhaps that's the only way we can forgive them when they die, and hate them when we need to break away.

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« Reply #463 on: August 30, 2007, 08:56:13 PM »

I would suggest that in this case the wilderness that made Sutpen run is precisely the same as the one that got Faulkner to his feet...

That's right. That's it exactly...

Aren't we really just dirt that decided one day to get up and walk around...

...and see what's going on, baby?

The Land says...Is there something you wanted to tell me?

The Land says...Is there something I should know?

The Land says...tell me a story, my man...







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« Reply #464 on: August 30, 2007, 10:06:00 PM »

Hoffman, Weezo, Reader, Roady, Nynhav, John

“Writing and reading are not all that distinct for a writer”—Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination

I wonder what’s going on here? Are we deconstructing the context of Absalom, Absalom? It seems like to me that the literary imagination is constantly decomposing itself all around us. It’s like everything is rotting away—I can almost smell it. It’s rotting away so bad—it smells sweet as honeysuckle and magnolia blossoms. Even my brain is rotting away—drooping down like Spanish moss in the bayou swamps. I think this is what Faulkner was tuned into—that’s what he was doing. Tuning into it—the Deep South rotting away. This is something he wanted to tell us—something that we should know? It’s something I can see in the morning when I look in the mirror—it’s something I see in people’s faces when I work with them during the day. Tell the story—oh gawd do I have too?

“For young America it had everything: nature as subject matter, a system of symbolism, a thematics of the search for self-valorization and validation—above all, the opportunity to conquer fear imaginatively and to quiet deep insecurities. It offered platforms for moralizing and fabulation, and for the imaginative entertainment of violence, sublime incredibility, and terror—and terror’s most significant, overweening ingredient: darkness, with all the connotative value it awakened.” —Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination

Decomposing myself…like Quentin did. Shreve pushing me more and more—he won’t leave me alone. He’s got African kings and queens on the brain—all he can think about is Sutpen’s Dynasty and getting into Caddy’s dirty drawers. Ogling up into that pear tree—Caddy peering into the bedroom of death. Oh Lordy Lordy—how that Dalton Ames held me tight on the bridge. He held me so tight I fainted in his arms—and I knew then why Caddy was in love with him. Suddenly on the bridge there over the river—I knew how Henry Sutpen must have felt. In the French Quarter and at Ole Miss—Charles Bon holding me tight in bed. My young handsome mulatto half-brother—there’s something he wanted to tell me. But then there was the War—the War Between the States. And when we got to the Gate—he didn’t love me anymore. Bon wanted to go back home to New Orleans—his wife and his son Charles Etienne St. Valery Bon waiting there for him. Charles didn’t care about Sutpen’s Hundred anymore—he didn’t care about me and Judith. I wanted Bon to marry Judith—he was the rightful Sutpen heir. We’d do a Dynasty—the three of us. Truly a Southern ménage-a-trois of power and glory. We’d get thru Reconstruction—we’d build the New South. But it didn’t work out that way—it all turned into a story of sound and fury. So I shot my half-brother—I shot him dead. From then on—it was downhill for me. Until that dark rainy night—when Quentin and Shreve got out that goddamn Ouija board…

“Writing and reading…both require being alert and ready for unaccountable beauty, for the intricateness or simple elegance of the writer’s imagination, for the world that imagination evokes. Both require being mindful of the places where imagination sabotages itself, locks its own gates, pollutes its vision. Writing and reading mean being aware of the writer’s notions of risk and safety, the serene achievement of, or sweaty fight for, meaning and response-ability.” —Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination






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