Reading Faulkner: Absalom, Absalom!

By Joseph R. Urgo
and Noel Polk

224 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, introduction, index

978-1-60473-434-8 Printed casebinding $55.00S

978-1-60473-578-9 Paper $25.00D

978-1-60473-435-5 Ebook $25.00

Printed casebinding, $55.00

Paper, $25.00

Ebook 978-1-60473-435-5, $25.00

For teachers and students, a guide to understanding one of Faulkner's masterpieces

Absalom, Absalom! has long been regarded as one of William Faulkner's most difficult, dense, and multilayered novels. It is, on one level, the story of Thomas Sutpen, an enigmatic stranger who came to Jefferson in the early 1830s to wrest his mansion out of the muddy bottoms of the north Mississippi wilderness. He was a man, Faulkner said, "who wanted sons and the sons destroyed him." On another level, the book narrates the tragedy that befalls the entire Sutpen family and that tragedy's legacy that continues well into the twentieth century and beyond. The novel's intricate, demanding prose style, and its haunting dramatization of the South's intricate, demanding history make it a masterpiece of twentieth-century American literature.

Reading Faulkner: Absalom, Absalom! offers a close examination and interpretation of the novel. Here difficult words and cultural terms that might prove to be a problem for general readers are explained and keyed to page numbers in the definitive Faulkner text (Library of America and Vintage editions). The authors place Faulkner's novel in its historical context, while also connecting it to his other works.

Joseph R. Urgo, Clinton, New York, is dean of faculty at Hamilton College. With Ann Abadie, he has coedited several books in the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha series, all available from University Press of Mississippi. Noel Polk, Starkville, Mississippi, is professor emeritus of English at Mississippi State University and editor of The Mississippi Quarterly. He is the author, most recently, of Faulkner and Welty and the Southern Literary Tradition (University Press of Mississippi). From 1981 to 2006, he edited the Library of America's complete edition of William Faulkner's novels.

224 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, introduction, index