WILLIAM FAULKNER: The Yoknapatawpha Country by Cleanth Brooks

WILLIAM FAULKNER: The Yoknapatawpha Country

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Probably among the most important, certainly one of the most incisive introductions to the world of William Faulkner we have. In it Cleanth Brooks, tough old trooper of the New Critics school, explores the multifarious mythic landscape with surprisingly less contexualist concern and more sheer delight in what the novels are about. Though unchronologically presented and confined in choice (it deals only with the Yoknapatawpha County cycle) the study lights up the characteristic thematic twists and tensions in large, liberating terms. For Brooks, the towns of Jefferson and Yoknapatawpha have a sort of collective memory, a style of life, a communal sense; its members are related to each other not only formally and functionally but by common loves, hates and fears. Thus Joe Christmas and Quentin, Temple and Colonel Sartoris, the McCaslins and the Snopeses, the sharecroppers and the swashbucklers, all mirror perennial passions or deprivations. They inhabit an old order in which puritanism and primitivism actively strive while over them the passive perversities of the modern age fall like shadows. Brooks' arguments- sometimes close and careful, sometimes overcharged-dwell on Faulkner's underlying moods and modulations, from extolling the past as precious to excoriating it as a burden. He is insistent, along with Faulkner, that the encounter of evil engages the nature of reality, that these initiations go through journeys at once savage and subtle, that is through sin. It is essentially an ""aristocratic"" reading, but an open one, outstandingly developed.

ISBN: 0807116017
Publisher: Yale