A Rose for Emily

A Rose for Emily

A Rose for Emily

A Rose for Emily

Excerpt

It is one of those fateful circumstances of literary history that William Faulkner's first nationally published and most widely read short story, "A Rose for Emily," and his first best-selling novel, Sanctuary, were two works quite atypical of his mature body of fiction. "A Rose for Emily" appeared in The Forum magazine for April, 1930, and Sanctuary was published in February, 1931; both generated a reputation for Faulkner as a naturalistic author interested in using horror and depravity for their shock value, a reputation he would not entirely escape until the maturing of Faulkner criticism after World War II.

Of course, both works were better than their initial sensationalism indicated, as they are technically distinguished pieces of fiction, but over the years the story has appeared in almost as many collections of tales of terror and horror as critical anthologies of significant short fiction. It has been Faulkner's most widely anthologized story and has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Greek, Turkish, Romanian, Danish, Icelandic, Polish, Czech, and other languages.1 On whatever level the story is read, as a tale of necrophilia in the Gothic mode, or as an allegory of tensions between the post-Civil War South and Yankee opportunists, it is a work representative of the best short fiction produced in America in this century.

"A Rose for Emily" was the product of a well-seasoned talent, a writer who by 1930 had experimented sufficiently to discover his own particular style and voice. In providing biographical information to Forum for publication in the same issue with the story, Faulkner briefly summarized his career up to that year with his usual comic exaggeration . . .

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