Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


You see all Yoknapatawpha in the dying last of day beneath you.
July 15, 2010 9:34 PM   Subscribe

The writer has—has been stricken with the—the passion and beauty of life, the world, and a—a demon-driven need to—to express that, to put it down on paper or cut it into marble or into music, and with that foreknowledge that he has only a limited time to do it, he may be dead tomorrow—he's got to do it all while he can still breathe, and it's a—a desire, a need, to put the whole history of the human heart into any and every word, every paragraph that he writes, and the obscurity comes from a belief which I hold, that—that there is no such thing as "was."
In the late 1950s William Faulkner was writer-in-residence at the University of Virginia. Extensive recordings of readings, reflections, and classes are now online. NPR summarizes.

Reading of "Spotted Horses."

Reading of The Sound and the Fury.

Reading of "The Town."

Reading of "A Word to Young Writers."

via
posted by jjray (15 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is delightful!
posted by merelyglib at 9:45 PM on July 15, 2010


It's 10 am here, and you've already made my day. Thank you!
posted by mondaygreens at 9:47 PM on July 15, 2010


This is fantastic. The Q&A is great.
posted by kenko at 9:54 PM on July 15, 2010


This is wonderful!
posted by JHarris at 10:21 PM on July 15, 2010


Also, marvelous, amazing, terrific, great, astounding and stupendous. There, the rest of you will have to find other adjectives.
posted by JHarris at 10:23 PM on July 15, 2010


From the NPR sory:

Faulkner wrote prolifically — long, prosy sentences that filled page after page in his numerous short stories and novels. When one student asked why he wrote that way, Faulkner replied that man was "the living sum of his past."

Railton tells NPR's Mary Louise Kelly that for Faulkner, there is no such thing as "was" — that the past is always with us. Those long sentences gave Faulkner a way to indicate that any given moment in someone's life has a long history behind it.


And a window opens...
posted by Skygazer at 10:52 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love Faulkner! I love UVA! It's like this post was designed specifically for me. Although none of the audio files are working for me. I'll have to wait until I can get home to listen to them. This will be a great way to spend some time this weekend.

This post has totally made me want to dive back down into his novels. Not exactly beach reading, but I'll be spending summer in Yoknapatwpha County. Thanks for this.
posted by This Guy at 5:06 AM on July 16, 2010


Wow. That one paragraph had my pulse up...

Thank you for posting this. I can't favorite it enough times.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:24 AM on July 16, 2010


I've really got to go back through all the Faulkner. I've only read As I Lay Dying and Sanctuary, though I've gone through Sanctuary twice. Very powerful stuff. I need a quiet Saturday morning to absorb this post, too. Thanks!
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:37 AM on July 16, 2010


He apparently liked Charlottesville quite a bit. He was spending about half his time there in the last years of his life and particularly enjoyed fox hunting (where he hurt himself falling off a horse - he was supposed to have always been a bit reckless on a horse). Here's a portrait of him in his "hunt" garb.

I recall in reading Sanctuary how UVa is referred to simply as "The University." Which, as my father told me in Richmond in the 70's was still how it was commonly referred to there. It was "The University," and no one ever mistook the reference to the University of Richmond.

Incidentally, I got to meet briefly with the lawyer who did the estate work for Faulkner's daughter, who pretty much remained in C'ville for the rest of her life. He described having to workout the rights on a lot of his writings as part of it. It was a neat conversation.
posted by Atreides at 6:40 AM on July 16, 2010


Devils Rancher: “I've really got to go back through all the Faulkner. I've only read As I Lay Dying and Sanctuary, though I've gone through Sanctuary twice. Very powerful stuff. I need a quiet Saturday morning to absorb this post, too. Thanks!”

Absalom, Absalom! is one of the best things that's ever happened to me as a human being. Just sayin'.
posted by koeselitz at 8:14 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this.
posted by languagehat at 8:59 AM on July 16, 2010


hells yes. thank you.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:16 AM on July 16, 2010


Incidentally, I got to meet briefly with the lawyer who did the estate work for Faulkner's daughter, who pretty much remained in C'ville for the rest of her life.

As a kid, in tenth grade English class, my teacher would mention Jill Faulkner Summers routinely, to make clear to us that Faulkner wasn't some distant concept, but a guy who had lived right here in town, whose daughter still lived here. As a result, I figured that Faulkner was just some guy, probably only famous in Charlottesville. Much as I thought that UVA was just some college in town—I was probably twenty years old before I figured out it was a Big Deal(tm).

Anyhow, I work for a magazine at The University (and, yes, we call it that), at which I didn't manage to find the time today to post a blog entry about our 1999 publication of a previously unknown Faulkner story. So I'll share it here. It seems that Faulkner had passed the story onto his agent, who never did anything with it. The agent died, his files were passed along to Patrick Samway, who gave it to us to publish a decade ago, which we did so promptly, of course. You can read the introduction explaining how the piece was found, and the story itself (titled "Lucas Beauchamp"). I apologize for any OCR errors—I don't really care to spend my Friday night copyediting. :)
posted by waldo at 7:23 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Finally getting back to this post. Growing up in Charlottesville around horses and the University there were many people who had known Faulkner and had stories about him. A story my dad told me, retold from someone else:

Mr. Faulkner is walking down a street in Charlottesville, on his way to something, and a woman who has been tending to her garden pops up from behind a hedge and asks "Oh Mr. Faulkner, I do wish you would write something nice about the South!" To which he replies, without breaking his stride, "I wish I could. I wish I could."
posted by gingerbeer at 9:16 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


« Older (Previously) Feel like running away? Do you like...   |   iPhone 4's reception woes, whe... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments