“…I seemed to be lying neither asleep nor awake looking down a long corridor of gray half light where all stable things
“…I seemed to be lying neither asleep nor awake looking down a long corridor of gray half light where all stable things had become shadowy paradoxical all I had done shadows all I had felt suffered taking visible form antic and perverse mocking without relevance inherent themselves with the denial of the significance they should have affirmed thinking I was I was not who was not was not who.”
― William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
In William Faulkner’s first truly modernist work, he attempts to break through the confines of time and sequence to get at the essence of human nature. As Malcolm Bradbury explains, “Faulkner’s preoccupation with time has to do with the endless interlocking of personal and public histories and with the relation of the past to the lost, chaotic present.” The Sound and the Fury exposes a crumbling world through inference and allusion rather than through direct social critique. In the modernist method, Faulkner employs stream of consciousness and symbolism as connecting fibres against individual interior realities that must compete for authority.
This study will draw upon participants’ questions and ideas to shed light on this complex text. The book is richer when discussed, enabling the first time reader access to Faulkner’s vision, while those re-reading will find greater depth and resonance. Upon a first reading, the narratives appear jumbled and opaque; but as the pieces start to fit together, the complex and careful planning that Faulkner employs becomes apparent. Does the work expose the depths and hidden realms of the human spirit? This is what we must grapple with in our study.
- Facilitated by Toby Brothers
- Tuesday evenings 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
- Five-meeting study Starts Sept. 14th, final meeting October 12th
- Meetings Virtual
- Recommended edition: The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, Norton Critical Edition (edited by Michael Gorra); ISBN-13: 978-0393912692
- £125 for the five sessions
TO REGISTER for the study, please use the secure Paypal payment button below to pay £125. Opening notes will be sent shortly after registration. The study is limited to 10 participants. Please contact us if you have any questions.
The following quote resonates for me as to why it is useful to attempt to read a text that seems aloof or unreachable at first. Those who have participated in Salons may know what I mean when I say that the work comes easier when we consider it as a dynamic and motivated group- each person’s question or insight adds to our understanding. I also think that the Salon allows us to make the very private act of reading a part of the public world, and in so doing helps each of us understand our own thoughts about the work more precisely.
“There is a story of a celebrated Russian dancer who was asked by someone what she meant by a certain dance. She answered with some exasperation, ‘If I could say it in so many words, do you think I should take the very great trouble of dancing it?’
It is an important story, because it is a valid explanation of obscurity in art. A method involving apparent obscurity is surely justified when it is the clearest, the simplest, the only method possible of saying in full what the writer has to say.
This is the case with The Sound & the Fury. I shall not attempt to give either a summary or an explanation of it: for if I could say in three pages what takes Faulkner three hundred there would obviously be no need for the book. All I propose to do is offer a few introductory, and desultory, comments, my chief purpose being to encourage the reader. For the general reader is quite rightly shy of apparently difficult writing. Too often it is used, not because of its intrinsic necessity, but to drape the poverty of the writer: too often the reader, after drilling an arduous passage through the strata of themountain, finds only the mouse, and has little profit but his exercise. As a result of several such fiascos I myself share this initial prejudice. Yet I have read The Sound & the Fury three times now and that not in the least for exercise, but for pure pleasure.”
– Richard Hughes, Introduction to The Sound & the Fury, Picador Classics Edition