A Psychological Interpretation of Faulkner's Novels
Samway, Patrick, The Southern Literary Journal
Because of his passion for privacy, Faulkner often thwarted the attempts made by admirers and journalists to inquire about the psychological genesis of his works. In 1930, for example, he staved off one such request by telling his agent: "Don't tell the bastards anything. It can't matter to them. Tell them I was born of an alligator and a nigger slave at the Geneva peace conference two years ago." In addition, he believed that a book is the "writer's secret life, the dark twin of a man; you can't reconcile them." In a February, 1949 letter to Malcolm Cowley, Faulkner wrote that he would protest to the last that he did not want any photographs or recorded documents of a personal nature left behind after his death: "It is my ambition to be, as a private individual, abolished and voided from history, leaving it markless, no refuse save the printed books." By then, he had already his epitaph in mind: "He made the books and he died." Yet Faulkner knew deep down that a writer cannot help but be autobiographical in his works; they often contain his "violent despairs and rages and frustrations ..." Thus, it is quite natural and appropriate that after the 1974 publication of Joseph Blotner's impressive biography of Faulkner there should arise an interest and legitimate desire to explore the psychological patterns hidden within Faulkner's creative imagination, especially those patterns woven, as far as informed and prudent discernment can tell, from the fabric of Faulkner's daily life.
In Faulkner: The Transfiguration of Biography, Judith Wittenberg sets out to demonstrate that one measure of Faulkner's art was his ability "to recognize his contradictory urges, to embody them in separate characters, and to show them functioning comparatively in a hierarchy of morality of psychic health or conflicting overtly for dominion and even survival." Her primary concern is to trace the events and situations in Faulkner's life in order to ferret out Faulkner's "dark twins," and then to explain the modalities and analogues of these events and situations in his fiction. Until Carvel Collins publishes the Faulkner material he has gathered over the …
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Publication information: Article title: A Psychological Interpretation of Faulkner's Novels. Contributors: Samway, Patrick - Author. Journal title: The Southern Literary Journal. Volume: 13. Issue: 2 Publication date: Spring 1981. Page number: 99+. © 1999 University of North Carolina Press. COPYRIGHT 1981 Gale Group.
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