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Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
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Absalom, Absalom! (1936)

by William Faulkner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,920771,039 (4.15)345
  1. 50
    The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (LKAYC)
  2. 10
    The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (ateolf)
  3. 10
    Lyric of the Circle Heart: The Bowman Family Trilogy (American Literature Series) by William Eastlake (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: Set in Navajo country, Eastlake's western trilogy shares a lot with Faulkner's mythopoeic Yoknapatawpha. With a taste of Kesey's lunacy. It's good, real friggin'good.
  4. 02
    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (WSB7)
    WSB7: Contrasting tragedies of brothers "bonding" with unknown half-brothers.
  5. 25
    Moby Dick by Herman Melville (ateolf)
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» See also 345 mentions

English (68)  French (5)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (77)
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
(Original Review, 1981-01-12)

It is sometimes uncomfortable reading things from other eras - for example I´m a big fan of William Faulkner who was in many ways ahead of the curve on race for his day - if the average KKK member had been more into modernist avant-garde fiction than I imagine they were, he´d probably be having crosses burned outside his house left right and centre - but definitely a bit weird about women at times.

Or take for example Dante - who as a medieval Catholic believed in all kinds of things I´m deeply opposed to (though it´s interesting the parts in Inferno when he expresses more sympathy are often precisely the parts a modern reader might also have more difficulty accepting the person´s fate - compare how sympathetically he views the homosexuals or suicides compared to the corrupt priests orthe violent for example - but like everyone at that time he just accepted certain things as fact that nowadays we don´t, namely that God would condemn them all to hell.

But in many ways it´s precisely reading thing written by people who believe in values or have experienced a world totally different from our own that makes it worthwhile. It broadens our understanding of the human condition and how people react to it, helps us see what´s constant and what is more fluctuating and impermanent.

Values are very much impermanent - they can´t be shown logically, they can´t be proved empirically, and are just shifting products of social circumstances. People can only be judged by the standards of their own time. Who knows what any of us would think or feel had we grown up in a different time with different customs and more limited sources of information? Realising this is in fact the key to genuine tolerance rather than the enforced "I find this offensive so let´s ban it kind" of "tolerance" which is not what the author is in fact arguing for.

The fact that some people on the left, and note I say "some", do feel that their own values are permanent and can be applied to all eras, is for me just nostalgia for religion, a form of existential angst. People resist the idea that their values are not particularly solid, it´s part of rejecting our human freedom and our capacity for self-defense and free-thought. In this some of the more rigid PC thinkers show a lot in common with religious conservatives on the right, who also mistake their rather modern literalist interpretations of religion for something eternal and unchanging. In both cases it´s quirk of personality rather than a properly though out philosophical position I feel. It´s fascinating how religiosity, ease of offence, literal mindedness and humourlessness so often go together as a form of syndrome, making me wonder if there is some underlying cognitive variable, such as intolerance towards ambiguity or inability to grasp metaphorical thought....

Meanwhile, the rest of us will carry on reading things from other, less "enlightened" times (and how will our own look to "those who will consider this time ancient", as Dante put it?), reading critically when necessary and with some discomfort, but still reading and learning and gaining enjoyment from them..... ( )
  antao | Nov 29, 2018 |
This was a tough read for me -full of never ending sentences. The story seems to be told through a mist, often difficult to follow and to tell who is speaking. It was interesting and challenging. I'm glad I got through it, but need something a tad more fun now. ( )
  melanieklo | Jul 25, 2018 |
It's Faulkner ( )
  margaretfield | Jan 22, 2018 |
Helps if you have read "The Sound and The Fury" first, not mandatory but, there are parts you will understand more if you have. ( )
  armysquirrel | Jan 1, 2018 |
i only got halfway through this. i'll finish it sometime. ( )
  Abbey_Harlow | Oct 5, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
A poll of well over a hundred writers and critics, taken a few years back by Oxford American magazine, named William Faulkner’s “Absalom, Absalom!” the “greatest Southern novel ever written,” by a decisive margin
 

» Add other authors (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Faulknerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kandinsky, WolframNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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From a little after two o'clock until almost sundown of the long still hot weary dead September afternoon they sat in what Miss Coldfield still called the office because her father had called it that---
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"Why do you hate the South?"
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679732187, Paperback)

“Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.” —William Faulkner
 
Absalom, Absalom! is Faulkner’s epic tale of Thomas Sutpen, an enigmatic stranger who comes to Jefferson, Mississippi, in the early 1830s to wrest his mansion out of the muddy bottoms of the north Mississippi wilderness. He was a man, Faulkner said, “who wanted sons and the sons destroyed him.”

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:19 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The story of Thomas Sutpen, an enigmatic stranger who came to Jefferson in the early 1830s to wrest his mansion out of the muddy bottoms of the north Mississippi wilderness. He was a man, Faulkner said, "who wanted sons and the sons destroyed him." Faulkner's classic story of Thomas Sutpen, an enigmatic stranger who came to Jefferson in the early 1830s to wrest his mansion out of the muddy bottoms of the north Mississippi wilderness, is now available in a corrected text Vintage Edition.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

Legacy Library: William Faulkner

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