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Essays, Speeches & Public Letters

by William Faulkner James B. Meriwether

An essential collection of William Faulkner's mature nonfiction work, updated, with an abundance of new material. This unique volume includes Faulkner's Nobel Prize acceptance speech, a review of Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea (in which he suggests that Hemingway has found God), and newly collected gems, such as the acerbic essay "On Criticism" and the beguiling "Note on A Fable." It also contains eloquently opinionated public letters on everything from race relations and the nature of fiction to wild-squirrel hunting on his property. This is the most comprehensive collection of Faulkner's brilliant non-fiction work, and a rare look into the life of an American master.

Father Abraham

by William Faulkner James B. Meriwether

Not a fragment, not quite a finished work, Father Abraham is the brilliant beginning of a novel which William Faulkner tried repeatedly to write, for a period of almost a decade and a half, during the earlier part of his career-the novel about the Snopes family which he finally completed and published as The Hamlet in 1940. The twenty-four-page manuscript of Father Abraham here first published is apparently the earliest surviving attempt at this Snopes novel. Probably written late in 1926, by early 1927 it had been abandoned for another novel, Flags in the Dust, which Faulkner went on to complete later that year, and which was published in a much-edited and cut-down version, entitled Sartoris, in 1929. But the unfinished Snopes novel continued to plague him. He made further efforts to write it in the late 1920's and early 1930's, trying different titles ('Abraham's Children,' 'The Peasants'), making short stories out of episodes he had planned or drafted for the novel ('Centaur in Brass,' 'Wash'), even making large parts of entire novels, like As I Lay Dying and Absalom, Absalom!, out of the ideas and materials that had originally belonged to the Snopes book. When he finished writing The Hamlet, one of his longest novels, he still had so much material remaining that he planned at least two more books about the Snopeses, though it was not till late in his career that he finally got around to writing The Town (1957) and The Mansion (1959). And in 1964, two years after his death, all three volumes of the trilogy were brought out together, as he had wished, with the title Snopes. Father Abraham, then, marks the inception of a work that altogether spans nearly the whole of Faulkner's career as a writer of fiction, a work that includes some of his best writing and which, as it evolved, had profound effects upon much of the rest of it. After Father Abraham, no matter what other novels and stories he turned to, Faulkner's Snopeses would be a vital part of what he called the 'lumber room' of his imagination, and the completion of their saga would be one of his major ambitions- or obligations-as an artist.

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