Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
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Author Topic: Fiction  (Read 25190 times)
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pugetopolis
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« Reply #480 on: August 31, 2007, 09:44:56 PM »

It was a dark and stormy night…

Barton was blue—the methane mauve.

Actually sepia—but did it make any difference?

It was like being a guest at the spa.

No Exit—the patients come & go.

The fetid natatorium pool…

Ennui and boredom…

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“Other people's obsessions
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Lhoffman
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« Reply #481 on: August 31, 2007, 10:58:00 PM »

Pugetopolis....Did you finish those three stories?  I'll only comment on the first, since you mentioned it.  It is interesting to note the difference in the attitude toward siring daughters in moving from the stories to Absalom.  In The Big Shot, Martin (protoSutpen) seems just as happy to have a daughter, as he plans to use his daughter to breed himself into the upper classes.  Quite a contrast to the evolved Sutpen who sees himself as the establisher of a line of "dukes."

I wonder how Faulkner developed the idea of Absalom up through the short stories.   Faulkner said that his ideas sometimes came to him like thunderbolts, all at once.  So, did it one day strike him out of the blue that Sutpen's background was an empty canvas to draw on as he wished?  Perhaps he had the idea of a man wrestling with the gods. 
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pugetopolis
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« Reply #482 on: August 31, 2007, 11:11:50 PM »

I wonder how Faulkner developed the idea of Absalom up through the short stories.    

Q. "Sir, you mentioned at the English Club that you had to lay aside Absalom at one point, to resume it later on. I wonder if it might not have been the point where toward the end of Miss Rosa's section--where you might have felt that she was running away with you, because right after that Shreve comes in. Is that in your memory at all, sir?"

A. "I can't say just where it was that I had to put it down, that I decided that i didn't know enough at that time maybe or my feeling toward it wasn't passionate enough or pure enough, but I don't remember at what point I put it down. Though when I took it up again I almost rewrote the whole thing. I think that what I put down were inchoate framents that wouldn't coalesce and then when I took it up again, as i remember, I rewrote it."

--Faulkner in the University, Frederick Gwynn and Joseph Blotner, ed, Charlottsville: University Press of Virginia, 1995, 75-76.
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« Reply #483 on: August 31, 2007, 11:37:21 PM »

Whoa....sort of like asking questions of that old magic eight ball.  But tell me, what did Mr. Faulkner have for breakfast on the day he finished Absalom, Absalom?  Wink Wink Cheesy

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« Reply #484 on: August 31, 2007, 11:41:12 PM »

Better call in the big boys for that one:

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pugetopolis
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« Reply #485 on: September 01, 2007, 12:25:41 AM »

In The Big Shot, Martin (protoSutpen) seems just as happy to have a daughter... 

And of course despite Martin's conniving for social triumph using his daughter, the tragedy is that's she's run-over and killed by Popeye racing to get the carload of liquor to Martin. This is after Martin gets Popeye out of trouble for the very same thing at the beginning of the short story.

In terms of timeline, the character traits of Popeye and Wrennie Martin anticipate Sanctuary and Absalom. And to a certain extent Snopes in the Snopes Trilogy. "Big Shot" was written in 1929 and published posthumously; later published in Uncollected Stories.

Martin is proto-Sutpen like you say; they both crave power and respect, they both have dynastic delusions, and they both use people to get what they want. So that kind of answers your question about short stories developing into novels. Faulkner kept everything; he morphed short stories into novels.

Blotner points out in Uncollected Stories that the stories "present a view of Faulkner's developing art over a span of thirty years." (p. xv).

A process that takes 30 years -- that's hard for Readers like you and me to comprehend; let alone put into a couple of sentences...



« Last Edit: September 02, 2007, 09:54:46 PM by pugetopolis » Logged

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« Reply #486 on: September 01, 2007, 01:50:23 AM »

“The Big Shot”

I found this little tidbit before going to bed. It’s from Karl’s excellent biography of Faulkner. He’s discussing “The Big Shot.” It shows the importance of the short story in the development of Sanctuary and Absalom in terms of the character development of the ur-Sutpen and ur-Popeye personalities.

“Here we encounter not only a foreshadowed Sutpen, Wash Jones and Temple Drake, not only the episode in which the child Sutpen is turned away at the big house in Absalom, but Popeye himself.”

“The story [“The Big Shot”] nevertheless lacks the inevitability of the characters, something the mature Faulkner never faulted on; and we become caught in coils of unshaped talk instead of that narrative race to an inexorable end. “The Big Shot” is so structured, in fact, that it can end only with an O. Henry punchline, which turns the story into a kind of amusement for which we are unprepared. Faulkner was reaching for a commercial success of sorts, but this leaden piece never found a publisher (it was rejected by the American Mercury and at least four other magazines). At nearly every stage, the story falls into stereotype, and the “big shot” seems formed by those stories of gangsters which found their way into the pulps, or a little later Hollywood movies with James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, George Raft, and then Humphrey Bogart. Faulkner is clearly out of his depth, trying to write tough-guy fiction with a sentence structure suited to other materials.”

“The Big Shot,” then, despite its focus on Dal Martin (the big shot, a pre-Sutpen “force”) and his Temple Drake-like daughter, has something very personal in it. And although Faulkner does not describe Popeye’s sexual deviance here, saving it for Sanctuary, he suggests in the story something of Popeye’s epicene quality. How much this mirrored Faulkner’s sense of himself we cannot tell; but we do know that Popeye’s bizarre sexuality played an important role in the sexual patterns in Faulkner’s work for the next ten years.”

—Frederick Karl, William Faulkner: American Writer, New York: Ballantine, 1989, 263-264.


Another nice book discussion day. Thank you, Hoffman.

« Last Edit: September 02, 2007, 09:54:03 PM by pugetopolis » Logged

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« Reply #487 on: September 01, 2007, 02:40:50 AM »



Caddy / Temple Drake
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« Reply #488 on: September 01, 2007, 11:55:19 AM »

Have you got to Evangeline yet?  This story came after The Big Shot.  Here Faulkner writes Judith/Henry/Bon, but the relationship is different than in AA.    Race is the central issue, rather than the racial/intersexual conflict between brother/brother/sister.  There is also a theme of secret keeping and family loyalty.

Henry has the central role, rather than his father, so there is none of the mythic quality, the idea of playing with fate, the hubris that will be Thomas Sutpen' downfall. 
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johnr60
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« Reply #489 on: September 01, 2007, 03:54:43 PM »

race is the central issue

For me that's the case in Absalom:

Surpen's problem with Bon is not incest, it's tainted seed.

Sutpen inherits a code in which sister's become pregnant in a wagon full of family and he remains basically isolated from southern culture.

I have no feeling at all for a gay relationship between Bon and Henry and the menage idea to me is forced.  There is more chance of a relationship between Henry and Judith.

Shereve's story is no more than speculation apparently believed in part by Quentin.

Thomas Sutpen is pictured as heroic. 

It might be interesting to speculate on facts not present in the text and then speculate on where the author got those  facts, but in my mind is has nothing to do with interpretation.
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johnr60
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« Reply #490 on: September 01, 2007, 03:56:43 PM »

please scratch the inappropriate apostrophe
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« Reply #491 on: September 01, 2007, 04:01:59 PM »

reader

I see the baseball piece as merely a time-space positioning device by RLJ and another chance to show his Clarion reporting skills.

Stiles becomes a paid observer soon.
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« Reply #492 on: September 01, 2007, 04:12:32 PM »

hoffman

Your very early comment on stereotypes interests me since it appears to come from the false notion that stereotypes are bad.  Twain, Lee, Faulkner (fill in the rest) have built our (non-participant) image of the South; why wouldn't it feel steretypical?
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pugetopolis
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« Reply #493 on: September 01, 2007, 04:17:45 PM »


It might be interesting to speculate on facts not present in the text and then speculate on where the author got those  facts, but in my mind is has nothing to do with interpretation.


Faulkner’s Sexualities

Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference • July 22–26, 2007

"William Faulkner grew up and began his writing career during a time of great cultural upheaval, not the least aspect of which was in the realm of sexuality. Every normative notion of sexual identity and sexual relationship was ripe for reexamination, every form of behavior and utterance probed for its sexual implication. Not only does Faulkner explore multiple forms of sexuality throughout his work, he also studies their implications within various social, economic, and racial concerns. Quentin Compson’s obsession over decaying social standards in The Sound and the Fury is complicated by the incestuous desires seemingly designed to purify what he regards as sexual violation. Same-sex attraction in Absalom, Absalom! is both the screen for racial hatred and its hidden core. Sexuality and trade in The Hamlet antagonize and inspire each other. Above all, the sexual and psychosexual dimensions of race relations is always a factor, a straight and/or queer dynamic inseparable from an intimacy that underlies even the most violent situations."

http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/events/faulkner/
« Last Edit: September 02, 2007, 09:53:24 PM by pugetopolis » Logged

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« Reply #494 on: September 01, 2007, 08:58:09 PM »

hoffman

Your very early comment on stereotypes interests me since it appears to come from the false notion that stereotypes are bad.  Twain, Lee, Faulkner (fill in the rest) have built our (non-participant) image of the South; why wouldn't it feel steretypical?


Not good or bad, but maybe a bit of both.  If an author begins from a position that his readers are familiar with, he can write with less diversions from the plot.  Also, stereotypes exist for a reason; there is usually at least a small kernel of truth behind them. 

On the negative, very often stereotypes only focus on the inferior aspect of a particular culture or people.

And so, when I find myself reading material that is stereotypical, I ask "why?". 

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