THE PRIVATE WORLD OF WILLIAM FAULKNER by Robert Coughlan
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THE PRIVATE WORLD OF WILLIAM FAULKNER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An expansion of the series of articles Mr. Coughlan wrote for Life Magazine during the fall of 1953, is, if anything, just that much more fascinating a picture of the ""sole proprietor"" of Yoknapatawpha County. Trenchant, analytical and vivid, this critical biography begins with an serial view of LaFayette County-or the fictional Yoknapatawpha- as Faulkner saw it through the happenings in his books, telescoping time and incident as Faulkner did, acquainting us with the literary geography of his writings and presenting us with what perhaps was the guiding spirit of his work-to explain why the fire he felt in his ancestors had burned itself out to the lethargy of today. Coming then to Faulkner himself, his life through his writings and his relationships with people showed him to be a person of remarkable inconsistencies- bordering almost on the psychopathic. In youth an ""indifferent student"", in manhood an ""erratic breadwinner"", Faulkner and his withdrawn but friendly, cruel but kind nature, a personality that hates the ""literary"", are pictured as constantly warring elements that find their truce in a recurrent alcoholism. Again in youth, it was Philip Stone, a friend who urged him over the first hurdles of ill-success in writing and then a short sojourn in Europe and marriage to Estelle followed before Hollywood took him in on the strength of Sanctuary- to buttress the income from the books he was writing and that were winning more and more notice. Most often attacked by his critics for being obscure and amoral, Faulkner has persisted in the way natural to him, to win the Nobel Prize as artist, genius, and portrayer of man. Just as naturally, his long awaited A Fable, though it bears no clear cut definition of the his philosophy, bears out his belief in man's endurance and his ability to prevail. A portrait of a man which is also a portrait of a ""country"" that is his.

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 1954
Publisher: Harper