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Library of America Complete Novels of William Faulkner

William Faulkner
William Faulkner Novels 1930-1935 (LOA #25) by William Faulkner
William Faulkner: Novels 1957-1962 (LOA #112) by William Faulkner
William Faulkner: Novels 1926-1929 (LOA #164) by William Faulkner

Library of America Complete Novels of William Faulkner : Titles in Order

Book 5
William Faulkner’s fictional chronicle of Yoknapatawpha County culminates in his three last novels, rich with the accumulated history and lore of the microcosmic domain where he set most of his work. Faulkner wanted to use the time remaining to him to achieve a summing-up of his fictional world: “I know I won’t live long enough to write all I need to write about my imaginary country and county,” he wrote to a friend, “so I must not waste what I have left.”

The Town (1957) is the second novel in the Snopes trilogy that began with The Hamlet (collected in a previous Library of America volume). Here the rise of the rapacious Flem Snopes and his extravagantly extended family, as they connive their way into power in the county seat of Jefferson—“every Snopes in Frenchman’s Bend moving up one step, leaving that last slot at the bottom open for the next Snopes to appear from nowhere and fill”—is brilliantly filtered through three separate narrative voices. Faulkner was particularly proud of the women characters—the doomed Eula and her daughter Linda—who stand at the novel’s center.

Flem’s relentless drive toward wealth and control plays itself out in The Mansion (1959), in which a wronged relative, the downtrodden sharecropper Mink Snopes, succeeds in avenging himself and bringing down the corrupt Snopes dynasty. In this last part of the trilogy, Faulkner brings in elements from many earlier novels to round out his fictional enterprise.

His last novel, The Reivers: A Reminiscence (1962), is distinctly mellower and more elegiac than his earlier work. A picaresque adventure set early in the twentieth century and involving a Memphis brothel, a racehorse, and a stolen automobile, it evokes the world of childhood with a final burst of comic energy.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 4
The years 1942 to 1954 saw William Faulkner’s rise to literary celebrity—sought after by Hollywood, lionized by the critics, awarded a Nobel Prize in 1950 and the Pulitzer and National Book Award for 1954. But, despite his success, he was plagued by depression and alcohol and haunted by a sense that he had more to achieve—and a finite amount of time and energy to achieve it.

This Library of America volume collects the novels written during this crucial period; defying the odds, Faulkner continued to break new ground in American fiction. He delved deeper into themes of race and religion and furthered his experiments with fictional structure and narrative voice. These newly restored texts, based on Faulkner’s manuscripts, typescripts, and proof sheets, are free of the changes introduced by the original editors and are faithful to the author’s intentions.

Go Down, Moses (1942) is a haunting novel made up of seven related stories that explore the intertwined lives of black, white, and Indian inhabitants of Yoknapatawpha County. It includes “The Bear,” one of the most famous works in all American fiction, with its evocation of “the wilderness, the big woods, bigger and older than any recorded document.”

Characters from Go Down, Moses reappear in Intruder in the Dust (1948). Part detective novel, part morality tale, it is a compassionate story of a black man on trial and the growing moral awareness of a southern white boy.

Requiem for a Nun (1951) is a sequel to Sanctuary. With an unusual structure combining novel and play, it tells the fate of the passionate, haunted Temple Drake and the murder case through which she achieves a tortured redemption. Prose interludes condense millennia of local history into a swirling counterpoint.

In A Fable (1954), a recasting of the Christ story set during World War I, Faulkner wanted to “try to tell what I had found in my lifetime of truth in some important way before I had to put the pen down and die.” The novel, which earned a Pulitzer Prize, is both an anguished spiritual parable and a drama of mutiny, betrayal, and violence in the barracks and on the battlefields.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 3
The four novels in this Library of America collection show Faulkner at the height of his powers and fully demonstrate the range of his genius. They explore the tragic and comic aspects of a South haunted by its past and uncertain of its future.

In the intricate, spellbinding masterpiece Absalom, Absalom! (1936), Quentin Compson descends into a vortex of images, voices, passions, and doomed desires as he and his Harvard roommate re-create the story of Thomas Sutpen and the insane ambitions, romantic hopes, and distortions of honor and conscience that trap Sutpen and those around him, until their grief and pride and fate become the inescapable and unbearable legacy of a past that is not dead and not even past.

In seven episodes, The Unvanquished (1938) recounts the ordeals and triumphs of the Sartoris family during and after the Civil War as seen through the maturing consciousness of young Bayard Sartoris. The indomitable Granny Millard, the honor-driven patriarch Colonel Sartoris, the quick-witted and inventive Ringo, the ferociously heroic Drusilla, and the scheming, mendacious Ab Snopes embody the inheritance that Bayard must reconcile with a new, but diminished, South.

If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem (published in 1939 as The Wild Palms) tells of desperate lovers fleeing convention and of a convict escaping the chaos of passion. In “The Wild Palms,” an emotional and geographic odyssey ends in a Mississippi coastal town. In counterpoint, “Old Man” recounts the adventures of an inarticulate “tall convict” swept to freedom by a raging Mississippi flood, but who then fights to return to his simple prison life.

In The Hamlet (1940), the first book of the great Snopes family trilogy, the outrageous scheming energy of Flem Snopes and his relatives is vividly and hilariously juxtaposed with the fragile communal customs of Frenchman’s Bend. Here are Ike Snopes, in love with a cow, the sexual adventures of Eula Varner Snopes, and the wild saturnalia of the spotted horses auction, a comic masterpiece.

The Library of America edition of Faulkner’s work publishes for the first time new, corrected texts of The Unvanquished, If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem, and The Hamlet. (The corrected text of Absalom, Absalom! was published by Random House in 1986.) Manuscripts, typescripts, galleys, and published editions have been collated to produce versions that are faithful to Faulkner’s intentions and free of the changes introduced by subsequent editors.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 2
Between 1930 and 1935, William Faulkner came into full possession of the genius and creativity that made him one of America’s finest writers of the twentieth century. The four novels in this Library of America collection display an astonishing range of characters and treatments in his Depression-era fiction.

As I Lay Dying (1930) is a combination of comedy, horror, and compassion, a narrative woven from the inarticulate desires of a peasant family in conflict. It presents the conscious, unconscious, and sometimes hallucinatory impressions of the husband, daughter, and four sons of Addie Bundren, the long-suffering matriarch of her rural Mississippi clan, as the family marches her body through fire and flood to its grave in town.

Sanctuary (1931) is a novel of sex and social class, of collapsed gentility and amoral justice, that moves from the back roads of Mississippi and the fleshpots of Memphis to the courthouse of Jefferson and the appalling spectacle of popular vengeance. With its fascinating portraits of Popeye, a sadistic gangster and rapist, and Temple Drake, a debutante with an affinity for evil, it offers a horrific and sometimes comically macabre vision of modern life.

Light in August (1932) incorporates Faulkner’s religious vision of the hopeful stubbornness of ordinary life. The guileless Lena Grove, in search of the father of her unborn child; the disgraced minister Gail Hightower, who dreams of Confederate cavalry charges; Byron Bunch, who thought working Saturdays would keep a man out of trouble, and the desperate, enigmatic Joe Christmas, consumed by his mixed ancestry—all find their lives entangled in the inexorable succession of love, birth, and death.

Pylon (1935), a tale of barnstorming aviators in the carnival atmosphere of an air show in a southern city, examines the bonds of desire and loyalty among three men and a woman, all characters without a past. Dramatizing what, in accepting his Nobel Prize, Faulkner called “the human heart in conflict with itself,” it illustrates how he became one of the great humanists of twentieth-century literature.

The Library of America edition of Faulkner’s work publishes, for the first time, new, corrected texts of these four works. Manuscripts, typescripts, galleys, and published editions have been collated to produce versions that are free of the changes introduced by the original editors and that are faithful to Faulkner’s intentions.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 1
The Library of America edition of the complete novels of William Faulkner culminates with this volume presenting his first four full-length works of fiction, each newly edited, and, in many cases, restored with passages that were altered or (in the case of Mosquitoes) expurgated by the original publishers. This is Faulkner as he was meant to be read.

In these four novels we can track Faulkner’s extraordinary evolution as, over the course of a few years, he discovers and masters the mode and matter of his greatest works. Soldiers’ Pay (1926) expresses the disillusionment provoked by World War I through its account of the postwar experiences of homecoming soldiers, including a severely wounded R.A.F. pilot, in a style of restless experimentation. In Mosquitoes (1927), a raucous satire of artistic poseurs, many of them modeled after acquaintances of Faulkner in New Orleans, he continues to try out a range of stylistic approaches as he chronicles an ill-fated cruise on Lake Pontchartrain.

With the sprawling Flags in the Dust (published in truncated form in 1929 as Sartoris), Faulkner began his exploration of the mythical region of Mississippi that was to provide the setting for most of his subsequent fiction. Drawing on family history from the Civil War and after, and establishing many characters who recur in his later books, Flags in the Dust marks the crucial turning point in Faulkner’s evolution as a novelist.

The volume concludes with Faulkner’s masterpiece, The Sound and the Fury (1929). This multilayered telling of the decline of the Compson clan over three generations, with its complex mix of narrative voices and its poignant sense of isolation and suffering within a family, is one of the most stunningly original American novels.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

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