Count No 'Count
Flashbacks to Faulkner
Coming home to Oxford, Mississippi, in 1918 after a stint in the Royal Flying Corps, young William Faulkner was arty and dandified. He sometimes was seen in his airman's uniform, and he affected English manners. His pose amused some of his townsmen, and joking behind his back, they called him "The Count" and "Count No 'Count. "
During this period Ben Wasson met Faulkner at the University of Mississippi, where both were students. Their interest in art and literature drew them together. Later Wasson became Faulkner's first literary agent, as well as an adviser and sounding board. In New York Wasson edited a Faulkner manuscript into a readable length. It was published as Sartoris. Also, Wasson helped Faulkner to place The Sound and the Fury with a new York publisher. Their friendship lasted for more than thirty years as their paths crossed and recrossed in New York, Hollywood, and Mississippi.
In Count No 'Count Wasson muses over this long and close relationship in anecdotal accounts which he calls flashbacks.
Wasson depicts a Faulkner who is humorous, occasionally naive, aggressive, and loving. At times he is the most courteous of gentlemen. At other times he is a tragic figure attempting to deal with griefs and disappointment by lapsing into alcoholic binges. The reader will discern a Faulkner whose artistic and creative nature produced sometimes bizarre behavior and destructive drives for achievement.