Faulkner and Idealism: Perspectives from Paris

Faulkner and Idealism: Perspectives from Paris

Faulkner and Idealism: Perspectives from Paris

Faulkner and Idealism: Perspectives from Paris

Excerpt

William Faulkner never felt comfortable with literary critics and normally retreated into a very private part of himself when they started asking questions or, conversely, he said the most outlandish things to keep these same critics at a distance. Yet, when answering questions before student audiences, whether it was in Charlottesville or Tokyo, he honestly dealt with problems of creativity and interpretation. In a letter to Joan Williams, written in late April 1953, he expressed his amazement at what he had accomplished:

And now I realise for the first time what an amazing gift I had: uneducated in every formal sense, without even very literate, let alone literary, companions, yet to have made the things I made. . . . I dont know why God or gods or whoever it was, selected me to be the vessel. Believe me, this is not humility, false modesty: it is simple amazement.

Thus, it would probably not surprise Faulkner today to find that literary critics throughout the world share his own feelings about his work as they continually strive to appreciate the complex nature of his creative imagination.

Deeply ingrained within Faulkner's psyche was a desire that each work he wrote surpass the previous one; no single work could exhaust completely his vision of the world. Though he wrote poetry early in his career, much of it influenced by Housman, Keats, Verlaine, and Swinburne, among others, he knew that this was not his métier, and in fact, at one point, considered himself a failed poet. His sense of loss, or of absence, though not necessarily connected with his self-image as a poet, seems to be an essential dimension to his imagination. The beginning of . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.