Some 150 letters home by the young Faulkner, who is way up north in New York and New Haven, or in New Orleans or in France. These previously unpublished letters are distinguished by Faulkner's softly edged humor about strangers and their strange practices and by his mellifluous impressions of place. The lengthy introduction by Watson (English/Univ. of Tulsa) ties them in with Faulkner's early novels Soldier's Pay and Mosquitoes and shows them as generating background detail for Quentin Compson and other characters in his major works. Faulkner's voice is a pleasure to listen to, his southern tones filling every page, and he is not above making fun of himself: ``I saw one of the most attractive girls this afternoon. She sells cheap jewelry at Woolworth's. I bought a gaudy comb which I am sending Mammy, to talk to her...I really would like to have her where I could sit and look at her when ever I liked.'' During the seven years covered here, Faulkner gets a job at the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. in New Haven (``I am holding three jobs now. One of them keeps me chasing all over the plant. I am seriously considering that they furnish me with roller skates''); trains as a Royal Air Force pilot in Canada (although WW I ends before he gets overseas); is homesick constantly; writes poetry; and enrolls in the Univ. of Mississippi. He then clerks in a Doubleday bookstore in Manhattan as his letters grow quite witty and beautiful (``you pass through tight little New England villages built around plots of grass they call greens...there is a feeling of the most utter relief, as if I could close my eyes, knowing I have found again someone who loved me years and years ago''); spends six months on Soldier's Pay in New Orleans in the company of Sherwood Anderson; goes abroad; and corrects proofs of Soldier's Pay for Boni & Liveright. Sweet little basket of nuts and berries.
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