The Sound and the Fury2017-04-21T22:40:50+00:00

The Sound and The Fury

William Faulkner

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Why The Sound and The Fury and Magazine Mountain

William Faulkner is one of my favorite authors of all time and The Sound and The Fury (1929) is my favorite novel by Faulkner. There was no chance I was not going to include Faulkner as a selection and since I’m not hiking in Mississippi, Arkansas will have to be close enough to be my peak for this book selection. Faulkner is not for everyone as his stream of consciousness writing can be tough to follow. The Sound and The Fury is especially difficult at times. If you want an introduction to Faulkner that has a more traditional narrative try As I Lay Dying (1930). If you can stick with Faulkner, you will be rewarded. His prose style is one of the most beautiful styles I have ever read. I clearly remember the first time that I read The Sound and The Fury, I came across a full page sentence so lyrical and perfectly written that I stopped reading and thought to myself that there was no need for another word to ever be written; Faulkner had written all that would ever be necessary.

More About The Sound and The Fury

The Sound and The Fury is a novel written by the American author William Faulkner. It employs a number of narrative styles, including the technique known as stream of consciousness, pioneered by 20th-century European novelists such as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. 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 claimed was written only for money—The Sound and the Fury also became commercially successful, and Faulkner began to receive critical attention.

In 1998, the Modern Library ranked The Sound and the Fury sixth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

The Sound and the Fury is set in Jefferson, Mississippi. The novel centers on the Compson family, former Southern aristocrats who are struggling to deal with the dissolution of their family and its reputation. Over the course of the 30 years or so related in the novel, the family falls into financial ruin, loses its religious faith and the respect of the town of Jefferson, and many of them die tragically.

The novel is separated into four distinct sections. The first, April 7, 1928, is written from the perspective of Benjamin “Benjy” Compson, a cognitively disabled 33-year-old man. The characteristics of his disease are not clear, but it is hinted that he suffers from mental retardation. Benjy’s section is characterized by a highly disjointed narrative style with frequent chronological leaps. The second section, June 2, 1910, focuses on Quentin Compson, Benjy’s older brother, and the events leading up to his suicide.

In the third section, April 6, 1928, Faulkner writes from the point of view of Jason, Quentin’s cynical younger brother. In the fourth and final section, set a day after the first, on April 8, 1928, Faulkner introduces a third person omniscient point of view. The last section primarily focuses on Dilsey, one of the Compsons’ black servants. Jason is also a focus in the section, but Faulkner presents glimpses of the thoughts and deeds of everyone in the family.

william-faulknerWilliam Cuthbert Faulkner (September 25, 1897 – July 6, 1962) was an American writer and Nobel Prize laureate from Oxford, Mississippi. Faulkner wrote novels, short stories, a play, poetry, essays, and screenplays.

Faulkner is one of the most celebrated writers in American literature generally and Southern literature specifically. Though his work was published as early as 1919, and largely during the 1920s and 1930s, Faulkner was relatively unknown until receiving the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, for which he became the only Mississippi-born Nobel winner. Two of his works, A Fable (1954) and his last novel The Reivers (1962), won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked his 1929 novel The Sound and the Fury sixth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century; also on the list were As I Lay Dying (1930) and Light in August (1932). Absalom, Absalom! (1936) is often included on similar lists.