Uncollected Stories of William Faulkner
William Faulkner’s preeminence in American literature was firmly established in 1950 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Before his death in 1962, he had also been awarded two National Book Awards, in 1951 for his Collected Stories and in 1955 for A Fable, and numerous other prizes including the Pulitzer Prize in 1955, also for A Fable. His complete works include more than two dozen novels, each of which has been translated into one or more foreign languages; two volumes of poetry; six volumes of short stories; ten screenplays; and numerous contributions of poems, stories, and articles to magazines and newspapers. Because of his importance, most of his fiction works are easily found in libraries and bookstores, and he has been the subject of countless essays and books. The publication of the Un-collected Stories of William Faulkner, edited by Joseph Blotner, is a welcome addition to Faulkner scholarship because, despite the author’s fame, many of his shorter works have been previously available only in their originally published form, forcing readers and scholars to track down each title individually.
The volume contains forty-five stories, divided into three categories: those revised to become sections of later novels, The Unvanquished, The Hamlet, Go Down Moses, Big Woods, and The Mansion, a dozen which were published in a variety of magazines, and thirteen more which have never before been published. The stories were selected by Joseph Blotner in order to provide the interested reader with convenient access to these shorter works, but it will be appreciated as well for making available for the first time material from manuscripts housed in a variety of private and public collections.
The choice to exhibit three categories of stories adds to the book’s worth. Faulkner is best known for his creation of Yoknapatawpha County as the locale for many of his works. The inclusion here of many non-Yoknapatawpha stories helps widen our perception of his prolific talent. Additionally, the stories selected were written over a thirty-year period, providing a view of the development of themes and allowing a study of a variety of treatments used by Faulkner.
Joseph Blotner has written or edited several other books about Faulkner, including a massive two-volume biography and a volume of his correspondence. Making use of his extensive research into Faulkner’s life and writings, he has provided this new volume with a section of short notes, accompanying each story with its literary importance and history and noting for other researchers the location of his source manuscript. The inclusion of this section at the back of the volume keeps the notes from being intrusive to the reader yet allows convenient reference. For students pursuing textual comparison and analysis, the volume will be especially valuable and welcome. Blotner has carefully noted his sources and his overall editing and selection criteria and has also pointed out some of the variations between particular stories and their later incorporation into a novel or between revisions for various publications. These notes are insufficient for thorough research but they do provide bibliography and beginning information for such inquiries.
William Faulkner has been categorized as a Southern writer because of his birth and residency in Mississippi as well as his choice of subject matter. Almost all of his stories are located in the South and deal with concerns and issues related to the region. The Southern states, being generally a rural society, have a strong oral folk tradition. As a Southerner, Faulkner grew up hearing stories about hunting, the Confederacy, swamps, and other elements of popular local legends and myths. The Civil War in particular became an important facet of his view of the world, since its effect on the South, as he saw it, epitomized his general view of time and history. He felt that time was a fluid continuum with past and future existing only in the present...
(The entire section is 1,255 words.)