The Dixie Limited
Writers on William Faulkner and His Influence
A dazzling collection of writers worldwide on the massive authority of the Nobel laureate
Flannery O'Connor once noted, "The presence alone of Faulkner in our midst makes a great difference in what the writer can and cannot permit himself to do. Nobody wants his mule and wagon stalled on the same track the Dixie Limited is roaring down. " Her railroading metaphor wittily captures much of the respect and unease Faulkner's example brought the worldwide community of authors.
Few other writers have exerted as profound an influence on literature as Faulkner. Prominent literary scholar M. Thomas Inge documents the scope of his influence in the twentieth century through the words of those writers themselves.
This collection of essays offers a survey attempting to capture exactly what Faulkner meant to his literary peers and colleagues both in the United States and abroad. Inge has combed essays, articles, reviews, letters, and comments written by over forty novelists, poets, and playwrights about Faulkner's fiction and the power of his literary accomplishment. Many major American writers sound off here, as well as important figures from France, England, Japan, and South America.
Some speak about his technical virtuosity and how this expertise has directly influenced them, and others express the difficulties of trying to escape his example. A few even criticize him for what they see as artistic failures. The variety of responses demonstrate, in any case, that Faulkner created an unavoidable power in his own time and remains a permanent force in literature.
"How splendid to have in one book so much of what the best writers have said about Faulkner and to have it all presented with such impressive authority in Inge's comprehensive introduction. The Supreme Court of the literary world shows up, with strong minority opinions expressed by James Baldwin and Vladimir Nabokov and majority opinion rebuttals from Robert Penn Warren and Richard Wright--to name just a few of the canonical voices in this thought-provoking treasury. "- Carl Rollyson, author of Uses of the Past in the Novels of William Faulkner; Susan Sontag: The Making of an Icon, Revised and Updated; Confessions of a Serial Biographer; and several other biographies and works of criticism
"As this remarkable collection demonstrates, 'The Dixie Limited' now travels the nation and the globe. Long known as 'a writer's writer,' Faulkner has both captivated and annoyed fellow authors; and Professor Inge has done an excellent job in representing both attitudes. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in tracing Faulkner's evolving development as a writer--as well as his undeniable influence on other authors. "- Robert W. Hamblin, professor emeritus and founding director of the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University and author of Myself and the World: A Biography of William Faulkner