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Modernist Master

Fifty years since his death, we remain in Faulkner’s shadow.

Jul 23, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 42 • By EDWIN M. YODER JR.
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Up to a point, Mr. Faulkner! Sanctuary is indeed a “horrific tale,” featuring the brutal and impotent Popeye, who abducts an Ole Miss coed and rapes her with a corncob; but calling the story horrific is the only statement the author makes about this dark and brilliant fable that isn’t pure moonshine. Elsewhere in the same introduction he complains that he has been misjudged by most of the critics and literary tastemakers, and that his early masterpieces, including The Sound and the Fury, were dismissed by indolent and conventional readers as gibberish. 

It is true, alas. But today, half a century after his death, Faulkner is even more happily crowned with laurels and honors, and we know better. 

Edwin M. Yoder Jr. is the author, most recently, of Vacancy: A Judicial Misadventure.

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