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pugetopolis
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« Reply #495 on: September 01, 2007, 09:57:29 PM »

“Evangeline”

Faulkner’s university lecture notes and Karl’s biography are the two books I read when I read Faulkner.

“The Big Shot” opened up doors for me—and so has “Evangeline.”

1 Karl looks at “Evangeline” as more than ur-version of Absalom.

2 What characterizes the story is persiflage: a vaudeville act, a comic routine.

3 The narrator (“I”) and Don (Spratling-figure in New Orleans sketches) are lighthearted innocuous characters.

4 These two evolve into Quentin and Shreve in Absalom.

5 Ole Miss, New Orleans, the War—these plots are in “Evangeline.”

6 The narrator does the Henry Sutpen discovery trip in the “dark house” like Quentin—aided by Raby Sutpen.

7 He learns Henry killed Bon—the “last shot of the war.”

8 Faulkner has the subject for Absalom—but it has to develop some.

9 How does the author do this?

10 Authoring his way thru the short story to the novel?
« Last Edit: September 02, 2007, 09:52:42 PM by pugetopolis » Logged

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« Reply #496 on: September 01, 2007, 10:22:47 PM »

Storytelling—A Garden of a Thousand Forking Paths

“Other foreshadowings occur at this time. [“Evangeline”] would remain unpublished, although heavy revision led into various aspects of Absalom. This inchoate story, with the great novel implicit in it, reveals a degree of supernatural dimension to his imagination. His creative mind appeared to have stored away all the materials he wanted to use, and as he moved along, this material did not have to be invented, but reinvented.”

One can see this with the short stories—many of them submitted to Woman’s Home Companion, Scriber’s, Collier’s, etc. for cash which he needed badly. Many stories were rejected—but Faulkner kept them and reworked them.

“It was all there, ready to be tapped. If we assume some such working, then we can connect it to his need to tell and retell; for reinventing is a form of retelling for his own use. It was not so much that he was a natural-born storyteller—he was a retriever of what was somehow implanted in his imagination and which could be recalled only through a complicated method of narrative repetition.”

Narrative repetition—the Southern tradition. Telling the story over and over again on verandahs and by evening fire—generation to generation.

“The enemy of his imagination was apparently the simple line, the straightforward story. As though he were in thrall of something he could not quite control, he had to let his emanations evolve in the only way they could—through looping, overlapping, and repeated telling.”

The trick—looping, overlapping, and repeated telling.

“This was true in his early career, even as soon as “Elmer” and Father Abraham, but it becomes clearer as we move through these miraculous years 1929-32. By now, he has foretold his future. Like some Biblical Joseph prophesying the ways of the land, Faulkner was reading his own career for the next twenty years.”

Reading one’s life forward—inside a garden of a thousand forkingpaths

—Frederick Karl, William Faulkner: American Writer, New York: Ballantine, 1989, 440.


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« Reply #497 on: September 02, 2007, 12:41:45 AM »

Persiflage....There is sort of a staged feel about that whole conversation in the big house....Henry upstairs on his deathbed, Raby keeping hold of the family secrets, the dog that keeps coming back...and Raby's parting shot:  "He was my brother." 

Maybe after writing The Big Shot, Evangeline and Wash, Faulkner thought he was finished, but the characters kept nagging at him. 

Or maybe Faulkner was practicing what he preached.  From an interview in the Paris Review:   "...There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him."

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« Reply #498 on: September 02, 2007, 07:02:35 PM »

May I quote from our discussion over in Latin Literature?


This is why I'm interested in "magic realisim."

As I mentioned to Hoffman above:

I read this as Borges discussing Adrogué as the ur-city of his Argentine imagination—just as Yoknapatawpha County is the ur-place of William Faulkner’s American imagination.

These archetypal “magic realist” labyrinthine ruins like Adrogué—these are the places where writers and poets lose themselves. It is by being lost that the Narrative of the fourth dimension becomes known. It’s through telling, retelling, looping back, getting lost, moving deeper and deeper into the Maze—that in my humble opinion the meaning of Adrogué to Borges can be found. It's like stepping back into the Heraclitus flux ("You shall not go down twice to the same river") and experiencing the Moment again whatever that Moment was that haunts you or takes you down a Labyrinthine path into the forked paths or the Library of Babel or the Circular Ruins or the Works of Herbert Quain or Tlön, Uqbar or Orbis Tertius...


One can step into the Heraclitus flux again and again...by telling, retelling, looping back, getting lost, moving deeper and deeper into the Maze as both Borges and Faulkner did. Borges seems to use interesting almost surrealist models like the Library of Babel to do this House of Mirrors trick. Faulkner seems to stick closer to home by letting the novel itself be the Gate through which his storytelling powers mature, develop and awe us lucky Readers...

Or rather perhaps seduce us down the meandering path into our own Adrogué-esque imaginations?

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« Reply #499 on: September 02, 2007, 09:21:24 PM »

Reading Absalom

Perhaps we don’t read Faulkner—like readers read Faulkner back then. Back in the Thirties or even now. A friend of mine from Charleston—his mother said she didn’t read Faulkner because he wasn’t a nice writer. He wrote about things—that a fine upstanding Charleston woman shouldn’t read about or even discuss…

To paraphrase Borges: Even though Robert Browning’s poem “Fears and Scruples” prophesies the work of Kafka, Browning did not read the poem as we read it today. Our reading of Kafka noticeably refines and diverts our reading of the poem. If it’s read at all…or for that matter if either Browning or Kafka are read today.

Ask a you-tube kid or a boy reading graphic novels on the floor in the aisles of Fiction there in Barnes and Noble or Borders…”By the way young man, what do you think of Kafka or Faulkner?” you’ll get this look of puzzlement and wonder. If you get that at all—with their earphones growing out of their heads…

The same with older readers—how many have read Absalom, Absalom? “Is it the precursor of his other novels?” More dead-brainer looks—so very embarrassing to me. A serious devotee of literature—there at the Book Temples near the university. I can get into movies like Sin City—but the graphic novels it’s taken from leave me cold and brain-dead. The you-tube interviews with writers interest me—but hip hop hauteur I ain’t…

The word “precursor” is used a lot in the vocabulary of criticism—often in terms of polemic and rivalry like William Logan’s review “Hart Crane’s Bridge to Nowhere” in the NYTimes January 28, 2007.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE0D71130F93BA15752C0A9619C8B63

For some reason gay poets like Crane are still being politicized by the NYTimes in tacky outmoded discriminatory ways. It’s easy to kick a dead gay man like Crane—like his contemporary closet-case critics back in the Thirties did like Yvor Winters at Stanford. Stanford University? Oh dear me…

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5905

Things change somewhat though—although some say things don’t change, they just get worse. For example, doing a Google of “logan crane critics” comes up with a nice list of anti-Logan links with a perhaps more reasonable critique of the man Hart Crane:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=logan+crane+critics

“It’s disappointing to watch Logan, usually such a fine critic, spend half of his review eloquently recounting Crane’s life and the other half smirking at his poems. At worst, Logan dismisses Crane’s poetry in between bouts of stock biographical trivia, and he demonstrates sparse intimacy with that poetry beyond a superficial disinclination towards Crane’s heroic failure to produce an American masterpiece on the order of “Song of Myself.”

http://kenyonreview.org/blog/?p=307

You see what I mean? The NYTimes seems to cultivate anti-gay lit crit. The Logan piece, the skimpy poet laureate Ashbery piece, the purging of BBB and the Book Forum…But then the Old Grey Lady has been doing that a long time, don’t cha know?

The fact is that any writer—gay or straight— creates his or her own precursors. Faulkner’s Absalom modifies our conception of the past—as it will modify the future. (See T. S. Eliot, Points of View (1941), 25-26.)

“In this correlation, the identity or plurality of men doesn’t matter. The first Kafka of “Betrachtung” is less a precursor of the Kafka of the gloomy myths and terrifying institutions than is Browning or Lord Dunsany.”—Jorge Luis Borges, “Kafka and his Precursors,” Selected Non-Fictions, New York: Penguin, 1999, 365

I suppose that’s why I’m interested in the recent Yoknapatawpha Faulkner Conference at Ole Miss. I would have gone down there myself but the July heat and humidity would surely have done this old queen in—despite the juleps and my desperate Pascagoula Funeral Home cardboard fan doing overtime…

Ole Miss Press -- won't cha send me a copy please...
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« Reply #500 on: September 02, 2007, 10:36:13 PM »



http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/files/archives/exhibits/past/faulknercentennial/faulkcent.html
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« Reply #501 on: September 02, 2007, 11:16:32 PM »



Wendemarke. Translated by Georg Goyent. Berlin: Rowohlt, [1936]. First German Edition, First printing. With dust jacket.

Wendemarke.(German for "pylon") was published three years after Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany. The expressionist jacket design for Wendemarke is as stunning as it is unsettling.

http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/files/archives/exhibits/past/faulknercentennial/faulkcent.html

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« Reply #502 on: September 03, 2007, 03:41:28 PM »

"Faulkner likes to expound the novel through his characters. This method is not entirely original--Robert Browning's The Ring and the Book (1868) details the same crime ten times, through ten voices and ten souls--but Faulkner infuses it with an intensity that is almost intolerable. There is an infintie decomposition, an infintie and black carnality, in this book. The theater is the state of Mississippi: the heroes, men disintegrating from envy, alcohol, loneliness and the erosions of hate. Absalom, Absalom is comparable to The Sound and the Fury. I know no higher praise." [1937]--Jorge Luis Borges, "William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom," Collected Non-Fictions, New York: Penguin, 1999, 178.

I like the way Borges phrases it: "decomposition" and "black carnality."
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« Reply #503 on: September 03, 2007, 06:41:25 PM »

Quentin and Shreve

After reading Borges, I wondered to myself if Quentin and Shreve are reconstructing the past, deconstructing the past, decomposing the past…or ad libbing a past that only exists in Quentin’s troubled Southern mind…extrapolated even further by Shreve’s Canadian presuppositions about a South he’s never experienced or actually knows...

This “South” that Quentin and Shreve are talking about—isn’t it just one of an infinite series of possible Southern scenarios? A series that bends back on itself like a snake or circular labyrinth? After reading the Borges article quote below, I began thinking that Faulkner perhaps would purposely lose himself in such a labyrinth of memory & recalled anecdotes—worming, bookworming, storytelling, retelling, looping back in and out of such a maze-mindset…enjoying himself like I'm sure he did and at the same time keeping track of where he’d been by writing it down in longhand...getting into it more and more...

After all, it’s not really Quentin and Shreve doing the storytelling—it’s Faulkner or one of the many Faulkner(s) writing and rewriting what we read now. Faulkner’s fictional universe seems to be very much like Borges’ fictional universe. Except Faulkner seems more imbued with "decomposition" and "black carnality." While Borges the Librarian and super-intellectual seems almost like a Latin American version of the English philosopher George Berkeley (1685-1753).

“Borges's fictional universe was born from his vast and esoteric readings in literature, philosophy, and theology. He sees man's search for meaning in an infinite universe as a fruitless effort. In the universe of energy, mass, and speed of light, Borges considers the central riddle time, not space. "He believed in an infinite series of times, in a growing, dizzying net of divergent, convergent and parallel times. This network of times which approached one another, forked, broke off, or were unaware of one another for centuries, embraces all possibilities of time." The theological speculations of Gnosticism and the Cabala gave ideas for many of his plots. Borges has told in an interview that when he was a boy, he found an engraving of the seven wonders of the world, one of which portrayed a circular labyrinth. It frightened him and the maze has been one of his recurrent nightmares. "Almost instantly, I understood: 'The garden of forking paths' was the chaotic novel; the phrase 'the various futures (not to all)' suggested to me the forking in time, not in space. A broad rereading of the work confirmed the theory. In all fictional works, each time a man is confronted with several alternatives, he chooses one and eliminates the others; in the fiction of Ts'ui Pên, he chooses - simultaneously - all of them. He creates, in this way, diverse futures, diverse time which themselves also proliferate and fork." (from 'The Garden of Forking Paths')

http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/jlborges.htm

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« Reply #504 on: September 03, 2007, 08:09:19 PM »

Quote
After all, it’s not really Quentin and Shreve doing the storytelling—it’s Faulkner or one of the many Faulkner(s) writing and rewriting what we read now.


I rather have this image of all these characters running amok in Faulkner's brain.   Which is Faulkner?  Which are his creations?  When does Faulkner become his own creation?

“Once these people come to life, . . . they take off and so the writer is going at a dead run behind them trying to put down what they say and do in time. . . . They have taken charge of the story.  They tell it from then on.” 
Faulkner in the University, 120

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« Reply #505 on: September 03, 2007, 08:21:30 PM »


“Once these people come to life, . . . they take off and so the writer is going at a dead run behind them trying to put down what they say and do in time. . . . They have taken charge of the story.  They tell it from then on.” 
Faulkner in the University, 120


That's kind of neat isn't it?

Kind of like a megaschizoid personality...

Reminds me of a Witch I know...  Smiley
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« Reply #506 on: September 03, 2007, 10:29:20 PM »

Here is another cover of Pylon...also quite unsettling. 

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« Reply #507 on: September 04, 2007, 04:06:01 AM »

Pylon was an interesting story, darker more disturbing than the Reivers, which also centered itself around a new form of technology.  The Reivers seemed to be mostly good fun, as Faulkner played the horse off the car in this amusing tale, with the horse ultimately pulling the car as I remember.  In Pylon, the pilot meets a fiery end, which had been the case in Sartoris.  Both pilots seemed to have death wishes and the airplane served as the means to fulfill these wishes. It seemed that Faulkner had a very hard time reconciling his younger brother crashing to his death in a plane he had sold to him.  But, it was also interesting how Faulkner built his tale of modernity in Pylon as the city of New Orleans inaugurates its new airport, only for everyone to bear witness to a plane crash.  It seems to me that Faulkner had a hard time coming to terms with modernity.  His characters all take on anancrhonistic qualities, trying to hold onto lost pride, lost hopes, lost dreams in an antebellum South that slowly recedes into the past.
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« Reply #508 on: September 04, 2007, 04:33:38 AM »

Dzimas, it's gone, funky swamp. I'm sure you saw the architectural projections this past week ago in NYT. What did you  think of them?

I liked them but then this happens in other places, other times, it's grand impermanence. And when you take a second look at the projections, it will all be blown again because you can see the lack of preparation to keep any of it safe.

Then finally I know that the city will not be there any more, although the physical unhealthiness will prevail as it did from the start. I rue that there were architects in the family who beautified a place just gone. The idea of separating people out to do this thing is going to be hell to pay.

 I would never set foot in that hell hole again. It's so obvious here. There are people playing out segregation at every opportunity between whatever pages they read off at each other and report.
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« Reply #509 on: September 04, 2007, 04:47:49 AM »

Maddie, are you really up at 4:33 am or are you out on the West Coast somewhere?
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