The Ink of Melancholy: Faulkner's Novels, from The Sound and the Fury to Light in August
Indiana University Press, 1990 - Literary Criticism - 400 pages
The period from the late 1920s to the early 1940s was in Faulkner's career one of prodigious fertility, and the creative outburst on which it opens--from The Sound and the Fury (1929) through As I Lay Dying (1930) and Sanctuary (1931) to Light in August (1932)--touches indeed on the miraculous. It is the four children of this miracle that André Bleikasten re-examines and re-evaluates in his substantial new book on Faulkner. But rather than approach Faulkner's fiction from a priori theoretical assumptions and process it through some prefabricated grid, he has concentrated on the text themselves: on the motivations and circumstances of their composition, on the rich array of their themes, structures, textures, on their various narrative protocols and the endless interplay of their tropes and codes, on their points of emphasis and repetition as well as their rifts and gaps.
Brilliant in its thought and argument, drawing eclectically on the resources of philosophy, psychoanalysis, anthropology, and other disciplines, and using modern critical theory without ever being arcane or trendy, Bleikasten's book is a highly personal performance and one of the most insightful and stimulating studies that Faulkner has received.
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