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The House Divided

Faulkner: The House Divided extends Abraham Lincoln's metaphor of a polarized nation to the twentieth-century. Southern psyche and the extraordinary career of its foremost spokeman. Through readings of The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom!, and Go Down, Moses, Eric Sundquist probes William Faulner's complex attitudes toward the tragedy of the Civil War, toward Jim Crow laws, racial violence, and segregation, toward Black freedom and white fears.

Faulkner's novels and their intricate narratice technique express the tragic passions, betrayed human sympathies, and potentially violent pressures for social change that governed the relationships between Blacks and whites. In this detailed and at times controversial study, now available for the first time in paperback, Sundquist examines the novelist's gradual discovery and artistic mastery of the racial problems that make up his own history and that of his country. "The novels that demand our attention now, as they always will," he writes, "are the ones in which the nation's most tragic and defining historical experience found its appropriately convulsive forms of expression and in which Faulkner became the great writer he has always been recognized to be."