Monday, June 27, 2005

Can Americans Handle Faulkner?
The Orange County (CA) Register poses this embarrassingly valid question.
Oprah Winfrey threw down the gauntlet and caused jaws to drop all over America when she unveiled her book club's read for the summer: A triumvirate of William Faulkner, including As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury and Light in August. The three novels are now the hottest-selling boxed set since Harry Potter, causing speculation about how many of the sold volumes will actually be read.
Faulkner, a highschool dropout, went on to win the Nobel Prize for literature in 1949 and is called a tough read. Fellow Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez named William Faulkner as his favorite American writer, and the father of existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre once said "For young people in France, Faulkner is a god." And how about your average American?
"It's an indication of our appallingly low expectations of contemporary readers to imagine they're too hard. It shows how far we've sunk into our Barcaloungers," says one professor.
"If I were cynical I would say that the ideas are fairly commonplace for the world of Oprah. Dysfunctional families, incest, alcoholism, mental retardation. You could say that Dr. Phil would be the perfect reader of Faulkner," says one professor.
When he accepted his Nobel Prize Faulkner explained his work thus:
"I believe that man will not merely endure: He will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things."

1 comment:

  1. Too bad blogspot doesn't have trackback. I wrote about your post here->