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Sartoris is a novel, first published in 1929, by the American author William Faulkner. It portrays the decay of the Mississippi aristocracy following the social upheaval of the American Civil War. The 1929 edition is an abridged version of Faulkner's original work. The full text was published in 1973 as Flags in the Dust . Faulkner's great-grandfather William Clark Falkner, himself a colonel in the American Civil War, served as the model for Colonel John Sartoris. Faulkner also fashioned other characters in the book on local people from his hometown Oxford. His friend Ben Wasson was the model for Horace Benbow, while Faulkner's brother Murry served as the antetype for young Bayard Sartoris.
The novel deals with the decay of an aristocratic southern family just after the end of World War I. The wealthy Sartoris family of Jefferson, Mississippi, lives under the shadow of its dead patriarch, Colonel John Sartoris. Colonel John was a Confederate cavalry officer during the Civil War, built the local railroad, and is a folk hero. The surviving Sartorises are his younger sister, Virginia Du Pre ("Aunt Jenny" or "Miss Jenny"), his son Bayard Sartoris ("Old Bayard"), and his great-grandson Bayard Sartoris ("Young Bayard").
The novel begins with the return of young Bayard Sartoris to Jefferson from the First World War. Bayard and his twin brother John, who was killed in action, were fighter pilots.
Young Bayard is haunted by the death of his brother. That and the family disposition for foolhardy acts push him into a pattern of self-destructive behavior, especially reckless driving in a recently purchased automobile.
Eventually young Bayard crashes the car off a bridge. During the convalescence which follows, he establishes a relationship with Narcissa Benbow, whom he marries. Despite promises to Narcissa to stop driving recklessly, he gets into a near wreck with old Bayard in the car, causing old Bayard to die of a heart attack. Young Bayard disappears from Jefferson, leaving his now pregnant wife with Aunt Jenny. He dies test-flying an experimental airplane on the day of his son’s birth.
In late 1926, William Faulkner, aged 29, began work on the first of his novels about Yoknapatawpha County. Sherwood Anderson had told him some time before that he should write about his native Mississippi, and now Faulkner took that advice: he used his own land, and peopled it with men and women who were partly drawn from real life, and partly depicted as they should have been in some ideal mythopoeic structure. A year later, on September 29, 1927, the new novel was completed. It was 596 pages long in transcript, and he called it Flags in the Dust . Full of enthusiasm, Faulkner sent Flags in the Dust up to Horace Liveright (who had published his first two novels) in New York. Liveright read it, disliked it, and sent it back with his firm recommendation that Faulkner not try to offer it for publication anywhere else: it was too diffuse, too lacking in plot and structure; and, Liveright felt, no amount of revision would be able to salvage it. Faulkner, crushed, showed Flags in the Dust to several of his friends, who shared Liveright's opinion.
Despite the adversity Faulkner had faced, he still believed that this would be the book that would make his name as a writer, and for several months he tried to edit it himself, sitting at his worktable in Oxford. Finally, discouraged, he sent a new typescript off to Ben Wasson, his agent in New York. "Will you please try to sell this for me?" he asked Wasson. "I can't afford all the postage it's costing me." In the meantime, convinced that he would never become a successful novelist, Faulkner began to work on a book that he was sure would never mean anything to anyone but himself: The Sound and the Fury .
Wasson tried eleven publishers, all of whom rejected Flags in the Dust. Finally he gave the typescript to Harrison Smith, then an editor of Harcourt, Brace & Company. Smith liked it, and showed it to Alfred Harcourt, who agreed to publish it, provided that someone other than Faulkner perform the extensive cutting job that Harcourt felt was necessary. For fifty dollars, Wasson agreed to pare down his client's novel. On September 20, 1928, Faulkner received a contract for the book, now to be called Sartoris (no one knows who changed its name), which was to be about 110,000 words long, and which was to be delivered to Harcourt, Brace sixteen days later. Faulkner left immediately for New York, presumably to help Wasson with his revision. But when he sat down in Wasson's apartment to observe the operation on his novel, Faulkner found himself unable to participate. If it were cut, he felt, it would die. Wasson persisted, however, pointing out that the trouble with Flags in the Dust was that it was not one novel, but six, all struggling along simultaneously. This, to Faulkner, was praise: evidence of fecundity and fullness of vision, evidence that the world of Yoknapatawpha was rich enough to last. As he later wrote of his third novel, "I discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it." Nevertheless, Wasson kept his bargain with Alfred Harcourt. For the next two weeks, while Faulkner sat nearby writing The Sound and the Fury, Wasson went through the typescript of Flags in the Dust, making cuts of every sort until almost a fourth of the book had been excised. Harcourt, Brace published this truncated version on January 31, 1929, as Sartoris (with a dedication: "To Sherwood Anderson through whose kindness I was first published, with a belief that this book will give him no reason to regret that fact"), and the old Flags in the Dust was soon forgotten by everyone but Faulkner.
Sartoris is the first of Faulkner’s tales set in Yoknapatawpha County, and introduces many of the characters that appear in his later fiction. It was also the immediate predecessor of some of his most famous and critically acclaimed novels The Sound and the Fury , As I Lay Dying , Sanctuary and Light in August .
The novel also introduces Byron Snopes in a minor role as a rival suitor to Narcissa Benbow. His relative Flem Snopes is at the center of Faulkner’s "Snopes trilogy": The Hamlet , The Town and The Mansion.
In a letter to his publisher, Faulkner said "At last and certainly, I have written THE book, of which those other things were but foals. I believe it is the damdest best book you'll look at this year, and any other publisher".
Contemporary reviews, however, were mixed; while appreciating Faulkner's writing style, they stressed the book's seeming lack of consistency and its loose plot.Literary critic Cleanth Brooks described the novel as "extremely well-written", full of literary allusions and exploring the plight of a lost generation. He compared Sartoris to the poem The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot.
William Cuthbert Faulkner was an American writer known for his novels and short stories set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, based on Lafayette County, Mississippi, where Faulkner spent most of his life. Faulkner is one of the most celebrated writers of American literature, and is widely considered one of the best writers of Southern literature.
Light in August is a 1932 novel by the Southern American author William Faulkner. It belongs to the Southern gothic and modernist literary genres.
The Sound and the Fury is a novel by the American author William Faulkner. It employs several narrative styles, including stream of consciousness. Published in 1929, The Sound and the Fury was Faulkner's fourth novel, and was not immediately successful. In 1931, however, when Faulkner's sixth novel, Sanctuary, was published—a sensationalist story, which Faulkner later said was written only for money—The Sound and the Fury also became commercially successful, and Faulkner began to receive critical attention.
Yoknapatawpha County is a fictional Mississippi county created by the American author William Faulkner, largely based upon and inspired by Lafayette County, Mississippi, and its county seat of Oxford. Faulkner often referred to Yoknapatawpha County as "my apocryphal county".
Louis Grenier is a fictional character in William Faulkner's novels and stories.
As I Lay Dying is a 1930 Southern Gothic novel by American author William Faulkner. Faulkner's fifth novel, it is consistently ranked among the best novels of 20th-century literature. The title derives from Book XI of Homer's Odyssey, wherein Agamemnon tells Odysseus, "As I lay dying, the woman with the dog's eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades."
Cleanth Brooks was an American literary critic and professor. He is best known for his contributions to New Criticism in the mid-20th century and for revolutionizing the teaching of poetry in American higher education. His best-known works, The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry (1947) and Modern Poetry and the Tradition (1939), argue for the centrality of ambiguity and paradox as a way of understanding poetry. With his writing, Brooks helped to formulate formalist criticism, emphasizing "the interior life of a poem" and codifying the principles of close reading.
Sanctuary is a 1931 novel by American author William Faulkner about the rape and abduction of an upper-class Mississippi college girl, Temple Drake, during the Prohibition era. The novel was Faulkner's commercial and critical breakthrough and established his literary reputation, but was controversial given its themes. It is said Faulkner claimed it was a "potboiler", written purely for profit, but this has been debated by scholars and Faulkner's own friends.
William Clark Falkner was a soldier, lawyer, politician, businessman, and author in northern Mississippi. He is most notable for the influence he had on the work of his great-grandson, author William Faulkner.
"Barn Burning" is a short story by the American author William Faulkner which first appeared in Harper's in June 1939 and has since been widely anthologized. The story deals with class conflicts, the influence of fathers, and vengeance as viewed through the third-person perspective of a young, impressionable child. It precedes The Hamlet, The Town, and The Mansion, the three novels that make up Faulkner's Snopes trilogy.
The Hamlet is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, published in 1940, about the fictional Snopes family of Mississippi. Originally a standalone novel, it was later followed by The Town (1957), and The Mansion (1959), forming the "Snopes trilogy."
The Unvanquished is a 1938 novel by the American author William Faulkner, set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County. It tells the story of the Sartoris family, who first appeared in the novel Sartoris. The Unvanquished takes place before that story, and is set during the American Civil War. Principal characters are Bayard Sartoris, John Sartoris, Granny, Ringo (Morengo), Ab Snopes, Cousin Drusilla, Aunt Jenny, Louvinia, and the lieutenant.
Flags in the Dust is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, completed in 1927. His publisher heavily edited the manuscript with Faulkner's reluctant consent, removing about 40,000 words in the process. That version was published as Sartoris in 1929. Faulkner's original manuscript of Flags in the Dust was published in 1973, and Sartoris was subsequently taken out of print.
Soldiers' Pay is the first novel published by the American author William Faulkner. It was originally published by Boni & Liveright on February 25, 1926. It is unclear if Soldiers' Pay is the first novel written by Faulkner. It is however the first novel published by the author. Faulkner was working on two manuscripts while finishing Soldiers' Pay.
The Town is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, published in 1957, about the fictional Snopes family of Mississippi. It is the second of the "Snopes" trilogy, following The Hamlet (1940) and completed by The Mansion (1959).
Douglas Turner Day III was an American novelist, biographer, scholar and critic. He was a popular professor of English literature at the University of Virginia, where he taught almost four decades.
The Waste Land is a poem by T. S. Eliot, widely regarded as one of the most important poems of the 20th century and a central work of modernist poetry. Published in 1922, the 434-line poem first appeared in the United Kingdom in the October issue of Eliot's The Criterion and in the United States in the November issue of The Dial. It was published in book form in December 1922. Among its famous phrases are "April is the cruellest month", "I will show you fear in a handful of dust", and the mantra in the Sanskrit language "Shantih shantih shantih".
Maurice-Edgar Coindreau was a literary critic and translator of fiction from English into French and Spanish. He is notable for having introduced many canonical American authors of the 20th century—such as William Faulkner, John Dos Passos, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway—to the French-speaking public.
Knight’s Gambit is a 1949 short story collection by the American author William Faulkner, and contains a short story of the same name. The book collects six of Faulkner’s stories about attorney Gavin Stevens, who also takes a leading part in his novel Intruder in the Dust.
Dean Faulkner Wells was an American author, editor, and publisher.