Friday, June 8, 2007

Closet Classics: A Rose for Emily

June 8, 2007

Say, "William Faulkner" and you'll hear groans. I am the one voice in that sea of groans that says, "I love Faulkner!" I really do. I understand that readers either love him or hate him. Unfortunately Faulkner is often misintroduced in that students are asked to read complicated tomes such The Sound and the FuryAbsalom, Absalom. Faulkner has novellas and short stories that are easier to read. The most widely anthologized Faulkner story is "A Rose for Emily." This is a Gothic horror tale, somewhat reminiscent of Poe, first published in 1930. The story is narrated by the townspeople, who have long whispered about the eccentric recluse, Miss Emily. They are tremendously gratified, upon her death, to discover the depth of her eccentricity.

Like many Faulkner tales, this takes place in his fictionalized Yoknapatawpha County, MIssissippi. "A Rose for Emily" is very accessible to the reader because at one level, it is a satisfyingly chilling tale. Faulkner wrote dozens of short stories and novels. You can see a list of his works here.

"A Rose for Emily" is not a typical Faulkner work. In general, his writing style is difficult for the casual reader or
. His sentences are long and hypnotic. You have to really concentrate to read a Faulkner novel., but the rewards are great. To be immersed in a novel that positively drips with Southern lyricism--and cynicism--is a tremendous experience.

About Faulkner:
William Faulkner is without dispute a literary giant. The Nobel Prize-winning novelist and short story writer is acclaimed throughout the world as one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers, one who transformed his native Mississippi into a setting in which he explored and challenged the human heart in all its complexities and mysteries. Faulkner never graduated from high school or received a college degree and lived in a small town in poorest state in the U.S., yet his works are recognized as among the greatest by an American.

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