Children of the Dark House
Text and Context in Faulkner
This book by a major scholar of William Faulkner's writings collects choice selections of his Faulkner criticism from the past fifteen years. Its publication underscores the significance of his indispensable work in Faulkner studies, both in criticism and in the editing of Faulkner's texts.
Here, Polk's focus is mainly upon the context of Freudian themes, expressly in the works written between 1927 and 1932, the period in which Faulkner wrote and ultimately revised Sanctuary, a novel to which Polk has given concentrated study during his distinguished career. He has connected the literature with the life in a way not achieved in previous criticism. Although other critics, notably John T. Irwin and Andre Bleikasten have explored Oedipal themes, neither perceived them as operating so completely at the center of Faulkner's work as Polk does in these essays.
Polished and refitted into a new critical matrix, these essays by a distinguished Faulkner editor and scholar in no way resemble the casual self-anthologizing often encountered. Polk's stature as a critic meshes neatly with his work as an editor; his patent joy at the very sight of Faulkner manuscripts is inspiriting, and his professed commitment to Freudian readings is borne lightly (that is, expressed in sensible, jargon-free discourse that is both witty and brilliant).- J. M. Ditsky, Choice