The Essential Faulkner

Ebook
On sale Jan 02, 2013 | 204 Pages | 9780307799593
A collection of essential pieces by an American master • “A real contribution to the study of Faulkner’s work.”—Edmund Wilson
 
In prose of biblical grandeur and feverish intensity, William Faulkner reconstructed the history of the American South as a tragic legend of courage and cruelty, gallantry and greed, futile nobility and obscene crimes. He set this legend in a small, minutely realized parallel universe that he called Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi.

No single volume better conveys the scope of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha legend than The Essential Faulkner. The book includes self-contained episodes from the novels The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, and Sanctuary; the stories “The Bear,” “Spotted Horses,” “A Rose for Emily,” and “Old Man,” among others; a map of Yoknapatawpha County and a chronology of the Compson family created by Faulkner especially for this edition; and the complete text of Faulkner’s 1950 address upon receiving the Nobel Prize in literature. Malcolm Cowley’s critical introduction was praised as “splendid” by Faulkner himself.
 
Also includes:
“A Justice”
“The Courthouse” (from Requiem for a Nun)
“Red Leaves”
“Was” (from Go Down, Moses)
“Raid” (from The Unvanquished
“Wash”
“An Odor of Verbena” (from The Unvanquished)
“That Evening Sun”
“Ad Astra”
“Dilsey” (from The Sound and the Fury)
“Death Drag”
“Uncle Bud and the Three Madams” (from Sanctuary)
“Percy Grimm” (from Light in August)
“Delta Autumn” (from Go Down, Moses)
“The Jail” (from Requiem for a Nun)
1820
A Justice
 
I
Until Grandfather Compson died, we would go out to the farm every Saturday afternoon. We would leave home right after dinner in the surrey, I in front with Roskus, and Grandfather and Candace (Caddy, we called her) and Jason in the back. Grandfather and Roskus would talk, with the horses going fast, because it was the best team in the county. They would carry the surrey fast along the levels and up some of the hills even. But this was in north Mississippi, and on some of the hills Roskus and I could smell Grandfather’s cigar.
 
The farm was four miles away. There was a long, low house in the grove, not painted but kept whole and sound by a clever carpenter from the quarters named Sam Fathers, and behind it the barns and smokehouses, and further still, the quarters themselves, also kept whole and sound by Sam Fathers. He did nothing else, and they said he was almost a hundred years old. He lived with the Negroes and they—the white people; the Negroes called him a blue-gum—called him a Negro. But he wasn’t a Negro. That’s what I’m going to tell about.
 
When we got there, Mr. Stokes, the manager, would send a Negro boy with Caddy and Jason to the creek to fish, because Caddy was a girl and Jason was too little, but I wouldn’t go with them. I would go to Sam Fathers’ shop, where he would be making breast-yokes or wagon wheels, and I would always bring him some tobacco. Then he would stop working and he would fill his pipe—he made them himself, out of creek clay with a reed stem —and he would tell me about the old days. He talked like a nigger—that is, he said his words like niggers do, but he didn’t say the same words—and his hair was nigger hair. But his skin wasn’t quite the color of a light nigger and his nose and his mouth and chin were not nigger nose and mouth and chin. And his shape was not like the shape of a nigger when he gets old. He was straight in the back, not tall, a little broad, and his face was still all the time, like he might be somewhere else all the while he was working or when people, even white people, talked to him, or while he talked to me. It was just the same all the time, like he might be away up on a roof by himself, driving nails. Sometimes he would quit work with something half-finished on the bench, and sit down and smoke. And he wouldn’t jump up and go back to work when Mr. Stokes or even Grandfather came along.
 
So I would give him the tobacco and he would stop work and sit down and fill his pipe and talk to me.
 
“These niggers,” he said. “They call me Uncle Blue-Gum. And the white folks, they call me Sam Fathers.”
 
“Isn’t that your name?” I said.
 
“No. Not in the old days. I remember. I remember how I never saw but one white man until I was a boy big as you are; a whiskey trader that came every summer to the Plantation. It was the Man himself that named me. He didn’t name me Sam Fathers, though.”
 
“The Man?” I said.
 
“He owned the Plantation, the Negroes, my mammy too. He owned all the land that I knew of until I was grown. He was a Chickasaw chief. He sold my mammy to your greatgrandpappy. He said I didn’t have to go unless I wanted to, because I was a warrior too then. He was the one who named me Had-Two-Fathers.”
 
“Had-Two-Fathers?” I said. “That’s not a name. That’s not anything.”
 
“It was my name once. Listen.”
 
II
This is how Herman Basket told it when I was big enough to hear talk. He said that when Doom came back from New Orleans, he brought this woman with him. He brought six black people, though Herman Basket said they already had more black people in the Plantation than they could find use for. Sometimes they would run the black men with dogs, like you would a fox or a cat or a coon. And then Doom brought six more when he came home from New Orleans. He said he won them on the steamboat, and so he had to take them. He got off the steamboat with the six black people, Herman Basket said, and a big box in which something was alive, and the gold box of New Orleans salt about the size of a gold watch. And Herman Basket told how Doom took a puppy out of the box in which something was alive, and how he made a bullet of bread and a pinch of the salt in the gold box, and put the bullet into the puppy and the puppy died.
 
That was the kind of a man that Doom was, Herman Basket said. He told how, when Doom got off the steamboat that night, he wore a coat with gold all over it, and he had three gold watches, but Herman Basket said that even after seven years, Doom’s eyes had not changed. He said that Doom’s eyes were just the same as before he went away, before his name was Doom, and he and Herman Basket and my pappy were sleeping on the same pallet and talking at night, as boys will.
 
Doom’s name was Ikkemotubbe then, and he was not born to be the Man, because Doom’s mother’s brother was the Man, and the Man had a son of his own, as well as a brother. But even then, and Doom no bigger than you are, Herman Basket said that sometimes the Man would look at Doom and he would say: “O Sister’s Son, your eye is a bad eye, like the eye of a bad horse.”
 
So the Man was not sorry when Doom got to be a young man and said that he would go to New Orleans, Herman Basket said. The Man was getting old then. He used to like to play mumble-peg and to pitch horseshoes both, but now he just liked mumble-peg. So he was not sorry when Doom went away, though he didn’t forget about Doom. Herman Basket said that each summer when the whiskey trader came, the Man would ask him about Doom. “He calls himself David Callicoat now,” the Man would say. “But his name is Ikkemotubbe. You haven’t heard maybe of a David Callicoat getting drowned in the Big River, or killed in the white man’s fight at New Orleans?”
 
But Herman Basket said they didn’t hear from Doom at all until he had been gone seven years. Then one day Herman Basket and my pappy got a written stick from Doom to meet him at the Big River. Because the steamboat didn’t come up our river any more then. The steamboat was still in our river, but it didn’t go anywhere any more. Herman Basket told how one day during the high water, about three years after Doom went away, the steamboat came and crawled up on a sand-bar and died.
 
That was how Doom got his second name, the one before Doom. Herman Basket told how four times a year the steamboat would come up our river, and how the People would go to the river and camp and wait to see the steamboat pass, and he said that the white man who told the steamboat where to swim was named David Callicoat. So when Doom told Herman Basket and pappy that he was going to New Orleans, he said, “And I’ll tell you something else. From now on, my name is not Ikkemotubbe. It’s David Callicoat. And some day I’m going to own a steam boat, too.” That was the kind of man that Doom was, Herman Basket said.
 
So after seven years he sent them the written stick and Herman Basket and pappy took the wagon and went to meet Doom at the Big River, and Doom got off the steamboat with the six black people. “I won them on the steamboat,” Doom said. “You and Craw-ford (my pappy’s name was Crawfish-ford, but usually it was Craw-ford) can divide them.”
 
“I don’t want them,” Herman Basket said that pappy said.
 
“Then Herman can have them all,” Doom said.
 
“I don’t want them either,” Herman Basket said.
 
“All right,” Doom said. Then Herman Basket said he asked Doom if his name was still David Callicoat, but instead of answering, Doom told one of the black people something in the white man’s talk, and the black man lit a pine knot. Then Herman Basket said they were watching Doom take the puppy from the box and make the bullet of bread and the New Orleans salt which Doom had in the little gold box, when he said that pappy said:
 
“I believe you said that Herman and I were to divide these black people.”
 
Then Herman Basket said he saw that one of the black people was a woman.
 
“You and Herman don’t want them,” Doom said.
 
“I wasn’t thinking when I said that,” pappy said. “I will take the lot with the woman in it. Herman can have the other three.”
 
“I don’t want them,” Herman Basket said.
 
“You can have four, then,” pappy said. “I will take the woman and one other.”
 
“I don’t want them,” Herman Basket said.
 
“I will take only the woman,” pappy said. “You can have the other five.”
 
“I don’t want them,” Herman Basket said.
 
“You don’t want them, either,” Doom said to pappy. “You said so yourself.”
 
Then Herman Basket said that the puppy was dead. “You didn’t tell us your new name,” he said to Doom.
 
“My name is Doom now,” Doom said. “It was given me by a French chief in New Orleans. In French talking, Doo-um; in our talking, Doom.”
 
“What does it mean?” Herman Basket said.
 
He said how Doom looked at him for a while. “It means, the Man,” Doom said.
 
William Faulkner, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, was born in New Albany, Mississippi, on September 25, 1897. He published his first book, The Marble Faun, in 1924, but it is as a literary chronicler of life in the Deep South—particularly in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, the setting for several of his novels—that he is most highly regarded. In such novels as The Sound and the FuryAs I Lay DyingLight in August, and Absalom, Absalom! he explored the full range of post–Civil War Southern life, focusing both on the personal histories of his characters and on the moral uncertainties of an increasingly dissolute society. In combining the use of symbolism with a stream-of-consciousness technique, he created a new approach to fiction writing. In 1949 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. William Faulkner died in Byhalia, Mississippi, on July 6, 1962. View titles by William Faulkner

About

A collection of essential pieces by an American master • “A real contribution to the study of Faulkner’s work.”—Edmund Wilson
 
In prose of biblical grandeur and feverish intensity, William Faulkner reconstructed the history of the American South as a tragic legend of courage and cruelty, gallantry and greed, futile nobility and obscene crimes. He set this legend in a small, minutely realized parallel universe that he called Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi.

No single volume better conveys the scope of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha legend than The Essential Faulkner. The book includes self-contained episodes from the novels The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, and Sanctuary; the stories “The Bear,” “Spotted Horses,” “A Rose for Emily,” and “Old Man,” among others; a map of Yoknapatawpha County and a chronology of the Compson family created by Faulkner especially for this edition; and the complete text of Faulkner’s 1950 address upon receiving the Nobel Prize in literature. Malcolm Cowley’s critical introduction was praised as “splendid” by Faulkner himself.
 
Also includes:
“A Justice”
“The Courthouse” (from Requiem for a Nun)
“Red Leaves”
“Was” (from Go Down, Moses)
“Raid” (from The Unvanquished
“Wash”
“An Odor of Verbena” (from The Unvanquished)
“That Evening Sun”
“Ad Astra”
“Dilsey” (from The Sound and the Fury)
“Death Drag”
“Uncle Bud and the Three Madams” (from Sanctuary)
“Percy Grimm” (from Light in August)
“Delta Autumn” (from Go Down, Moses)
“The Jail” (from Requiem for a Nun)

Excerpt

1820
A Justice
 
I
Until Grandfather Compson died, we would go out to the farm every Saturday afternoon. We would leave home right after dinner in the surrey, I in front with Roskus, and Grandfather and Candace (Caddy, we called her) and Jason in the back. Grandfather and Roskus would talk, with the horses going fast, because it was the best team in the county. They would carry the surrey fast along the levels and up some of the hills even. But this was in north Mississippi, and on some of the hills Roskus and I could smell Grandfather’s cigar.
 
The farm was four miles away. There was a long, low house in the grove, not painted but kept whole and sound by a clever carpenter from the quarters named Sam Fathers, and behind it the barns and smokehouses, and further still, the quarters themselves, also kept whole and sound by Sam Fathers. He did nothing else, and they said he was almost a hundred years old. He lived with the Negroes and they—the white people; the Negroes called him a blue-gum—called him a Negro. But he wasn’t a Negro. That’s what I’m going to tell about.
 
When we got there, Mr. Stokes, the manager, would send a Negro boy with Caddy and Jason to the creek to fish, because Caddy was a girl and Jason was too little, but I wouldn’t go with them. I would go to Sam Fathers’ shop, where he would be making breast-yokes or wagon wheels, and I would always bring him some tobacco. Then he would stop working and he would fill his pipe—he made them himself, out of creek clay with a reed stem —and he would tell me about the old days. He talked like a nigger—that is, he said his words like niggers do, but he didn’t say the same words—and his hair was nigger hair. But his skin wasn’t quite the color of a light nigger and his nose and his mouth and chin were not nigger nose and mouth and chin. And his shape was not like the shape of a nigger when he gets old. He was straight in the back, not tall, a little broad, and his face was still all the time, like he might be somewhere else all the while he was working or when people, even white people, talked to him, or while he talked to me. It was just the same all the time, like he might be away up on a roof by himself, driving nails. Sometimes he would quit work with something half-finished on the bench, and sit down and smoke. And he wouldn’t jump up and go back to work when Mr. Stokes or even Grandfather came along.
 
So I would give him the tobacco and he would stop work and sit down and fill his pipe and talk to me.
 
“These niggers,” he said. “They call me Uncle Blue-Gum. And the white folks, they call me Sam Fathers.”
 
“Isn’t that your name?” I said.
 
“No. Not in the old days. I remember. I remember how I never saw but one white man until I was a boy big as you are; a whiskey trader that came every summer to the Plantation. It was the Man himself that named me. He didn’t name me Sam Fathers, though.”
 
“The Man?” I said.
 
“He owned the Plantation, the Negroes, my mammy too. He owned all the land that I knew of until I was grown. He was a Chickasaw chief. He sold my mammy to your greatgrandpappy. He said I didn’t have to go unless I wanted to, because I was a warrior too then. He was the one who named me Had-Two-Fathers.”
 
“Had-Two-Fathers?” I said. “That’s not a name. That’s not anything.”
 
“It was my name once. Listen.”
 
II
This is how Herman Basket told it when I was big enough to hear talk. He said that when Doom came back from New Orleans, he brought this woman with him. He brought six black people, though Herman Basket said they already had more black people in the Plantation than they could find use for. Sometimes they would run the black men with dogs, like you would a fox or a cat or a coon. And then Doom brought six more when he came home from New Orleans. He said he won them on the steamboat, and so he had to take them. He got off the steamboat with the six black people, Herman Basket said, and a big box in which something was alive, and the gold box of New Orleans salt about the size of a gold watch. And Herman Basket told how Doom took a puppy out of the box in which something was alive, and how he made a bullet of bread and a pinch of the salt in the gold box, and put the bullet into the puppy and the puppy died.
 
That was the kind of a man that Doom was, Herman Basket said. He told how, when Doom got off the steamboat that night, he wore a coat with gold all over it, and he had three gold watches, but Herman Basket said that even after seven years, Doom’s eyes had not changed. He said that Doom’s eyes were just the same as before he went away, before his name was Doom, and he and Herman Basket and my pappy were sleeping on the same pallet and talking at night, as boys will.
 
Doom’s name was Ikkemotubbe then, and he was not born to be the Man, because Doom’s mother’s brother was the Man, and the Man had a son of his own, as well as a brother. But even then, and Doom no bigger than you are, Herman Basket said that sometimes the Man would look at Doom and he would say: “O Sister’s Son, your eye is a bad eye, like the eye of a bad horse.”
 
So the Man was not sorry when Doom got to be a young man and said that he would go to New Orleans, Herman Basket said. The Man was getting old then. He used to like to play mumble-peg and to pitch horseshoes both, but now he just liked mumble-peg. So he was not sorry when Doom went away, though he didn’t forget about Doom. Herman Basket said that each summer when the whiskey trader came, the Man would ask him about Doom. “He calls himself David Callicoat now,” the Man would say. “But his name is Ikkemotubbe. You haven’t heard maybe of a David Callicoat getting drowned in the Big River, or killed in the white man’s fight at New Orleans?”
 
But Herman Basket said they didn’t hear from Doom at all until he had been gone seven years. Then one day Herman Basket and my pappy got a written stick from Doom to meet him at the Big River. Because the steamboat didn’t come up our river any more then. The steamboat was still in our river, but it didn’t go anywhere any more. Herman Basket told how one day during the high water, about three years after Doom went away, the steamboat came and crawled up on a sand-bar and died.
 
That was how Doom got his second name, the one before Doom. Herman Basket told how four times a year the steamboat would come up our river, and how the People would go to the river and camp and wait to see the steamboat pass, and he said that the white man who told the steamboat where to swim was named David Callicoat. So when Doom told Herman Basket and pappy that he was going to New Orleans, he said, “And I’ll tell you something else. From now on, my name is not Ikkemotubbe. It’s David Callicoat. And some day I’m going to own a steam boat, too.” That was the kind of man that Doom was, Herman Basket said.
 
So after seven years he sent them the written stick and Herman Basket and pappy took the wagon and went to meet Doom at the Big River, and Doom got off the steamboat with the six black people. “I won them on the steamboat,” Doom said. “You and Craw-ford (my pappy’s name was Crawfish-ford, but usually it was Craw-ford) can divide them.”
 
“I don’t want them,” Herman Basket said that pappy said.
 
“Then Herman can have them all,” Doom said.
 
“I don’t want them either,” Herman Basket said.
 
“All right,” Doom said. Then Herman Basket said he asked Doom if his name was still David Callicoat, but instead of answering, Doom told one of the black people something in the white man’s talk, and the black man lit a pine knot. Then Herman Basket said they were watching Doom take the puppy from the box and make the bullet of bread and the New Orleans salt which Doom had in the little gold box, when he said that pappy said:
 
“I believe you said that Herman and I were to divide these black people.”
 
Then Herman Basket said he saw that one of the black people was a woman.
 
“You and Herman don’t want them,” Doom said.
 
“I wasn’t thinking when I said that,” pappy said. “I will take the lot with the woman in it. Herman can have the other three.”
 
“I don’t want them,” Herman Basket said.
 
“You can have four, then,” pappy said. “I will take the woman and one other.”
 
“I don’t want them,” Herman Basket said.
 
“I will take only the woman,” pappy said. “You can have the other five.”
 
“I don’t want them,” Herman Basket said.
 
“You don’t want them, either,” Doom said to pappy. “You said so yourself.”
 
Then Herman Basket said that the puppy was dead. “You didn’t tell us your new name,” he said to Doom.
 
“My name is Doom now,” Doom said. “It was given me by a French chief in New Orleans. In French talking, Doo-um; in our talking, Doom.”
 
“What does it mean?” Herman Basket said.
 
He said how Doom looked at him for a while. “It means, the Man,” Doom said.
 

Author

William Faulkner, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, was born in New Albany, Mississippi, on September 25, 1897. He published his first book, The Marble Faun, in 1924, but it is as a literary chronicler of life in the Deep South—particularly in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, the setting for several of his novels—that he is most highly regarded. In such novels as The Sound and the FuryAs I Lay DyingLight in August, and Absalom, Absalom! he explored the full range of post–Civil War Southern life, focusing both on the personal histories of his characters and on the moral uncertainties of an increasingly dissolute society. In combining the use of symbolism with a stream-of-consciousness technique, he created a new approach to fiction writing. In 1949 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. William Faulkner died in Byhalia, Mississippi, on July 6, 1962. View titles by William Faulkner

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