Faulkner in the University



In And William Faulkner Was Writer In Residence At The University Of Virginia During That Time He Held Thirty Seven Conferences And Answered Two Thousand Questions On A Wide Range Of Concerns, From Exegetic Problems In His Novels To The Role Of Writer In Modern Society Almost Every Word Was Recorded On Tape, And The Result Is The Classic Faulkner In The University, Originally Published In And Now Available For The First Time A Paperback EditionThe Material Collected Here Offers Testimony To Some Fascinating Exchanges Between The Author And His Public And Makes Up One Of The Few Sourcebooks Available On Faulkner S Personal ViewsFaulkner in the University

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Faulkner in the University book, this is one of the most wanted Frederick L. Gwynn author readers around the world.

[Reading] ➸ Faulkner in the University ➮ Frederick L. Gwynn – E17streets4all.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 294 pages
  • Faulkner in the University
  • Frederick L. Gwynn
  • English
  • 24 May 2019
  • 0813916127

10 thoughts on “Faulkner in the University

  1. says:

    So far I m just a dabbler in William Faulkner, although I m engaged in a Great Project which involves reading as much of his works, along with those of Ernest Hemingway, all simultaneously and in chronological order By rights I should have come at this volume close to the end of that Great Project, but I was on a trip through Georgia and a tiny part of Tennessee and I bought this little book somewhere I think it was in Chattanooga I bought so many books on this trip that I had to ship them h So far I m just a dabbler in William Faulkner, although I m engaged in a Great Project which involves reading as much of his works, along with those of Ernest Hemingway, all simultaneously and in chronological order By rights I should have come at this volume close to the end of that Great Project, but I was on a trip through Georgia and a tiny part of Tennessee and I bought this little book somewhere I think it was in Chattanooga I bought so many books on this trip that I had to ship them home, but I needed something small and portable to bring back on the plane, and this was it.Now when a celebrity is interviewed, say a rock star or an actor, it s often pretty iffy when the questioner veers off into any area outside the celebrity s immediate bailiwick That is, why should celebrity status confer a legitimacy to one particular individual s private opinions which should influence how we think or feel about global politics, say Of course I admit the interest may vary quite a lot depending upon the insights, knowledge and wisdom of the person being interviewed rare enough qualities within the entertainment industry and sometimes the interviewee will offer a refreshingly original point of view which we haven t heard before That said, mostly this book is a long series of transcripts of various QA sessions conducted at the University of Virginia in 1957 1958, which finds Faulkneror less at the height of his creative power he had received his Nobel Prize in 1949 The book generally covers three areas of interest Faulkner on writing, Faulkner on Southern history, and Faulkner on unrelated matters.A book such as this may help us to understand Faulkner the man, or Faulkner the writer Of course we always have the nagging question Do we care about the works themselves or about the author who created them Those are two different Things Here we are afforded an extended view of Faulkner the man interacting with the public on a small scale, so we can hope that his expressed opinions arecandid and unguarded than they might be if he were writing an essay for publication This is why I feel this book is of value.So Faulkner on writing This is the concern that interests me most Unfortunately, Faulkner has little insight to offer concerning his writing process Mostly he gives us a few pat clich s again and again An author writes from three sources what he s read before and steals, from personal experience and from imagination Faulkner also asserts repeatedly that he is uninterested in writing about ideas but only about characters This seems to mean he has no conscious ax to grind in a story or a novel, perhaps barely a theme, that if themes or symbols seep in, it is via an unconscious process which readers and critics only infer later, and which he almost always disavows He also states a time or two that he believes all good writers write like he does, concerning themselves farwith characters than with ideas I think this assumption of his untrue, although it provides him a useful barometer for comparing himself to other writers if they write primarily about characters, they are good writers Well, an important writer need not be brilliantly articulate about the writing process If we wish to learn about how Faulkner writes, I don t think we re going to learn much listening to him talk about it.I ll skip ahead to Faulkner on unrelated matters, his answers to questions that don t involve writing or Southern history but instead might be said to follow the form Sir, you re a celebrity, so how do you feel about subject X which has nothing to do with your writing It might be seen as a sort of hero worship What bothers me most about Faulkner s handling of such questions is that he never once prefaces his replies with Well, you know, I m no authority on subject X, butInstead, he answers these questions as seriously as any other question put to him, which at least implies that he feels that his celebrity status does confer on him some authority to hold forth on any question at all put to him This is off putting, but it also reveals how Faulkner sees himself and his relevance to society Examples of answers to these questions include Faulkner s opinions about how Europeans view Americans based on his trips overseas, and what America should do to encourage the rest of the world to like usIt s all faintly ridiculous Maybe not even faintly.It turns out that the most important part of the book is concerned with Faulkner on Southern history This can be found in smatterings throughout, but the prime section is toward the end when Faulkner reads an essay titled A Word to Virginians on 20 February 1958 We must consider the date so we can put his words and thoughts in context as best as we can These were trying times especially in the South as the Civil Rights Movement was well underway but still revving up So far there had been Brown v Board of Education, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Central High School at Little Rock Now, throughout the book, Faulkner comes across as beingliberal than the mean for his region, as we might say In his fiction he shows equal empathy for white and black, and he is no apologist for the Confederate cause in the Civil War nor preacher of the Lost Cause One thing his fiction teaches us is how inadequate words like racist and racism and white supremacy and the like can be It s not that these words are illegitimate, but we have too few words to try to cover an enormous spectrum of attitudes and behaviors arising from a multitude of causes and personal and shared experiences And yetAnd yet In this essay Faulkner calls for mother Virginia to offer leadership to the other Southern states through these trying times Clearly he seeks for some form of progressive leadership, but just what that leadership role is to be he doesn t say or really even hint at One thing he s not advocating is integration, which he predicts the South won t accept for another fifty years Sadly, to depict the situation of uneducated blacks living among white Southerners, Faulkner compares them to a herd of wild horses cut loose and raising havoc in the town He then claims this was a poor analogy he put in his essay, but after all the only reason he is present at the University of Virginia is because he is a respected writer, so this mea culpa is a non starter Most sadly of all, he states multiple times that the Negro doesn t want to mix with white people anythan white people want to mix with the Negro In the end what Faulkner appears to fear most is that segregation is going to be terminated by the federal government and not by Southern states, and in effect he calls for Southern states to find a solution to this problem before segregation is ended and integration is thrust upon them And he never offers any notion of what such a solution would look like beyond educating blacks , as he puts it, to stop thinking like Negroes, and by inference to learn to think like respectable whites.I m not overly concerned with what Faulkner s attitudes were for the sake of his personal reputation I am, however, definitely surprised that his words do suggest such an extraordinary naivet about the aspirations of black American Southerners who have been his neighbors and subjects of his fiction for his whole life In fact I think this essay can only be read as professionally embarrassing, as it undermines our faith in his ability to understand the South which he wrote about And if we start to doubt his grasp of what was going on in the South in his own day, then it may be that we begin to question how representative of authentic Southern history his body of work is.Not that I necessarily do question this But my take home lesson from this book is that Faulkner demonstrates at great length that he has little of use to say about writing, that he is profoundly unaware, even ignorant, of the historical tides about to sweep over the South, and that he has no qualms about pontificating on any other matters in which he has little or no expertise None of which tells me anything about how well he can write fiction This is a valuable and helpful book for anyone who, like me, is trying to understand Faulkner, in spite of its frustrations Faulkner in the University paints a portrait of a fellow who was as a rule not a deep thinker he might well be called a poseur The greatness of his fiction, if it is great, we must try to comprehend by reading the texts themselves, not by looking to their author for any help

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