Concerned with the poetry, stories, and novels that both precede and follow Faulkner's most successful works, Brooks thus completes his critically meticulous treatise upon the Mississippian who, perhaps more than any other American modern writer, ""applies the test of realism to the cult of romanticism."" Without a strong thematic cord to bind these works, Brooks' volume assumes a miscellaneous air: exactly how much Faulkner was influenced by Housman's A Shropshire Lad; in what way lesser Faulkner like Soldier's Pay is better than the equally lesser Mosquitoes; why Faulknerians who stress a Bergsonian time-schema are wrong--Faulkner is interested in history instead. Brooks' conservatism remains sturdy; Faulkner's best works, he asserts, are those infused with a sense of ""community,"" i.e., the Yoknapatawpha novels as opposed to the more deracinated callow allegories of his early career and the effulgent ones of a late date. Brooks' voice is old-style New Critical, as befits one of its original rabbis: ex-cathedra, concerned more with motivation than with language, comprehensive, and very, very academic. He seems more often to be addressing fellow Faulkner critics than the generally literate reader, and though this lofty, sure book has the virtue of the overview, there's something a little obligatory about it, finishing up what was started, that fails to compel interest.