A LOVING GENTLEMAN: The Love Story of William Faulkner and Meta Carpenter by Meta Carpenter & Orin Borstin Wilde
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A LOVING GENTLEMAN: The Love Story of William Faulkner and Meta Carpenter

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After he reached Hollywood, Fitzgerald had his Sheilah; Faulkner found his Meta there too, working as a script girl, and he also groomed her for higher things. You'd never know it from this, though, since Sheilah Graham sounds like Mme. de Sevigne compared to Meta, one of the worst writers you'll meet (apparently ghost-writer Borstin is no more than a phantom). Sheilah, moreover, was acknowledged in all the Fitzgerald biographical material; not so Meta, who--except for the wrong identification in a snapshot--turns up in the big Blotner biography only as the recipient of a dinner or an inscribed book. As she tells it, she at first resisted Faulkner's many invitations, hesitant to become involved with a married man. But with ""a whole vine of love pushing its tendrils through [her] entire being,"" she began the 30-year relationship with the great man whom she loved drunk or sober. Even with the dt's, he had a ""magnificent dignity."" In between the Hollywood hack work Faulkner hated but used to pay off his debts (his wife, always drunk in this version, was also wildly extravagant), he returned to Oxford--bound by his love for his daughter Jill as well as his need to write the novels. Meta cried and watched and waited, until she made a disastrous marriage to a once very fine German-Jewish concert artist who could hardly get a booking over here. She left him, remarried him, but always there was her Bill with his sexual need for her as well as his ""reserve, the quality of it that was like the immurement of a troubled animal."" There will be pictures, no doubt properly captioned, and there are some Faulkner letters to corroborate the lovelorn existence of that (once) discreet Dark Lady he always called ""Ma'am.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Simon & Schuster