William Faulkner Archive

The Limits and Freedoms of Literary Regionalism: The Rules of Reality in William Faulkner’s Fictional County

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There is no conversation on literary regionalism without Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha. The Mississippi-born author’s loyalty to his imagined landscape is perhaps what he is most known for.

Collectors in the Wilderness

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Walking in wilderness is sometimes marketed as a clarifying experience—walk to clear your head, or push your limits, or find peace. I’ve always found it to be an exercise in entertaining contradictory thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.

Big Picture, Small Picture: Context for William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning”

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In June of 1939, William Faulkner’s short story “Barn Burning” is published in Harper's Magazine, marking the first appearance of the fictional Snopes family of Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. Eleven years later, Faulkner accepts the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Moments in the Rose-Garden: The Literature of Stillness

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When my brother and I were kids, my parents would watch what we called “screensaver movies”: films that moved at a leisurely pace and boasted periods of little action in the traditional sense, featuring instead long, lingering shots of landscapes, interiors, characters’ expressions. We mocked and groused.

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Restoration” by Ann Joslin Williams

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In “Restoration” (Carve), Ann Joslin Williams shows how a widower’s memories and the discovery of a dead body conflate in the present moment, to dramatic effect.

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “S Is for Silence” by Dacia Price

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But that’s the difficulty—for the narrator and for us. We can’t answer the question what we did without also answering who we were.

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Los Angeles” by Ling Ma

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In Marie-Helene Bertino’s “Edna in Rain” (reviewed in February), the narrator’s ex-lovers are literally raining from the sky, leaving her to deal with the surprising consequences. In Ling Ma’s “Los Angeles” (Granta), the narrator has similar problems with past lovers, leading to a wild exploration of memory’s hold on

Harold Bloom’s Song of Self

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Here’s the story of my first and only encounter with Harold Bloom. It was the first week of a new semester, my last semester of graduate school, and I was waiting in a stuffy seminar room packed with sharply dressed undergraduates. The luckiest students had secured seats around the grand

The Power of Predation in Literature

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I woke to find the cougar curled at the foot of my bed. Or, at least, I thought I did. I accidentally bumped the sleeping cat with my foot. He rose with a gleam in his eye, arched his back in a dramatic stretch. Heat emanated from his hyper-muscular

Between Optimism and Pessimism: How to Set Our Baby Monitors?

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Pessimism is not particularly hard. I thought of this last month when I spent an hour in my brother’s kitchen near the baby monitor through which I could hear my poor twenty-two-month-old niece hacking up phlegm. After an hour I began to mistake this noise for the wind, or