Tuesday, May 22, 2007


In this inaugural post I would like to say that I'm not sure what will appear on this page. I primarily want to comment on other posts, and I thought I should have something up besides a quote from Go Down, Moses. Since I lack a topic, this particular post might as well be about William Faulkner (as if I needed an excuse).

Recently I have realized that the book of my youth was the Bible, and there is nothing I can do about it. The imagery of the Old Testament, of angels and idols and giants and miracles, and the strictures of the New Testament will never completely leave me. This fact may have something to do with my appreciation of Faulkner. There is nothing insightful about saying that Faulkner is neo-Biblical, because there are so many direct Biblical references in his novels. His lengthy sentences also have something to do with it, lulling the reader into Biblical boredom punctuated by Biblical violence and profundity. But what makes his Yoknapatawpha fiction so powerful to me is a view of life and people and land that I can best describe as Old Testament, where a cursed people struggle against Yahweh with the hope of a promised land. This is high drama, and Faulkner was somehow able to recapitulate his secular version of this cosmic story in a single Mississippi county.

In the future I'm sure I will revisit the Bible for nostalgia, but I hope to never stop reading Faulkner.


whatyoudream said...

I always wonder how people living in the county would say "Yoknapatawpha." I would use the speed and clarity with which I might say "Benjamin Netanyahu" or "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers." "YAWK-nuh-puh-TAW-fuh." But would they say it like people pronounce some of those southern or smoky mountian towns, where they drop two or three syllables in the middle? Maybe they'd say, slowly and with a drawl, "YO-nuh-TAW-fuh" or "YO-nuh-puh-TA-wuh" or something.

I guess Faulker probably wrote down how you're supposed to say it somewhere. Or I could probably look it up on Wikipedia.

Sub-sub-librarian said...

That's a good question. I'm not sure how locals pronounce it. I do know that the river it's named after is sometimes called just 'Yocona', and this was the name of Faulkner's county in his first novel in that setting, *Sartoris.*

TheUnderToad said...

Here I am. At the beginning. It is 1am and I've just read your entire blog. (I admit that I skimmed a few...like "reductionism" WTF?)

It was kind of fun traveling down the annals of Dog's secret public diary, in reverse.

Sub-sub-librarian said...

You poor thing. I'm guessing some eyelid propping device was involved, a la A Clockwork Orange.

And yes, it does kind of feel like a public diary. Some of the stuff I wrote years ago now seems immature and poorly written. But it's a record of growth, I guess. Or just a record of changing. I wouldn't say that I'm actually getting more mature...

And a sincere apology for "Reductionism" is called for. Not sure what I was thinking.