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The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
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The Sound and the Fury (1929)

by William Faulkner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
13,024158282 (3.98)2 / 686
  1. 30
    Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner (LKAYC)
  2. 20
    Beloved by Toni Morrison (Laura1124)
  3. 21
    More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: A sci-fi romp through--intentionally so--much of the same territory.
  4. 67
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (AdonisGuilfoyle)
    AdonisGuilfoyle: The similarities are not obvious, but both stories contain the gothic destruction of two families. That, and there are two Quentins in Faulkner's novel to match the confusion of Cathys in 'Wuthering Heights', and Jason Compson is almost as cruel and twisted as Heathcliff. Enjoy!… (more)
1920s (3)
Romans (33)
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English (143)  Spanish (4)  Catalan (2)  French (2)  Portuguese (2)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (157)
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
There's nothing I can add to any discussion of The Sound and the Fury that haven't been said. I reread it for the first time in 25 or so years, when I first picked it up in college. (I enjoyed unravelling the Quentin chapter more then than I did now; he strikes me now as the least-human character in the book.) But one would be hard-pressed to find a better novel about the end of a family beset by what C. Vann Woodward called the burden of Southern history. ( )
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
I attempted Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury once before, and again recently before calling it quits. The arguments for this novel and its stream-of-consciousness narrative style, which I learned was relatively new at the time of its publication, remind me of classical music and its transition to the romantic era of the 19th century and eventually to what is known as "20th century music." And here I'm not talking about popular genres like ragtime and jazz and what would eventually become rock n' roll. I'm talking about what classical music evolved into. I had a college professor once refer to this genre of 20th century music as "intellectual exercises" and I think he was being kind.

This is what I think of when I try to read books like The Sound and the Fury—they were well-regarded, successful attempts to push the boundaries of a genre but the side effect is it has become a niche product for a niche group. Also, and I'm only being somewhat flippant here, it's a go-to for torturing high school and college students. ( )
  Daniel.Estes | Aug 24, 2018 |
When my father died he left behind a collection of around a hundred Penguin paperbacks from the 1960s and 1970s. Most of them he had ordered directly from the publisher – I found an invoice in one – and included works by DH Lawrence (the writer he admired most), Carson McCullers, JP Donleavy, Ralph Ellison, Malcolm Lowry, Raymond Chandler, Herman Hesse, George Orwell and, among others… William Faulkner. I kept many of the books for myself – and subsequently became a big fan of Lowry’s fiction. (I had already sampled Lawrence’s fiction, and found it excellent, earlier.) There was always the possibility I’d be enormously impressed by another author from his collection, although a read of two of McCullers novels showed it wasn’t going to be her. William Faulkner, on the other hand, what little I knew of him – early twentieth century author, American, wrote mostly about the South, his novels had quite pretentious titles, I couldn’t think of anything by him that been adapted by Hollywood… Well, I’d expected The Sound and the Fury to be a bit of a chore to read, and it was only a complete inability to brain early one weekday morning that resulted in me grabbing it to read next on my commute. So I was very surprised to discover the novel hugely impressive. The casual use of racial epithets – the racism itself, especially in the third section, narrated by Jason Compton, who is racist – is hard to take, although nothing in the prose persuades me that Faulkner held those views, and in fact he develops his black characters as carefully and as well as he develops his white ones. And, of course, this is a book that was written, and set, within living memory (just) of slavery and the American Civil War. US society, especially southern US society, is hugely racist, and if the language in The Sound and the Fury is offensive it is at least a legitimate product of its time. But one of the areas that fascinates me about literature is narrative structure, and there The Sound and the Fury has plenty to recommend it. It is divided into four parts, three dated 1928 and one dated 1910, and each part subsequently sheds more light on the story. The first is told from the point of view of Benjy, who has learning disabilities, and presents his 33 years of life in an achronological almost stream-of-consciousness narrative, with time-jumps signalled by changes from italics and back again, although not with any degree of rigour. The second section is set 18 years earlier and mixes a straightforward narrative with stream of consciousness, and is perhaps the hardest to parse as its narrative is mostly peripheral to the main story. The third section, set in 1928 again, is more straightforward and, as mentioned earlier, is in the POV of the racist brother of the protagonist of the second section. The final section takes place a day later than the third, and is omniscient, but chiefly features the family’s black housekeeper. With each section, the overall story becomes clearer. It is not, it has to be said, the most exciting of stories – Banks followed a similar philosophy with his mainstream novels, albeit without the modernism, but he usually made his central secrets a little too “exciting” and a little too implausible. The Sound and the Fury is pure modernist literature, and the prose is really very very good. Though the milieu doesn’t attract me, the approach to writing strikes me as every bit as interesting as that of Lowry. Albeit in a different way. A third of the way into The Sound and the Fury I decided I needed to read more, if not all, of Faulkner’s fiction. So I’ve ordered another of his novels. From eBay. Because, of course, I want editions that match the ones I have – ie, mid-sixties Penguin paperbacks. Sigh. But Faulkner: excellent. Possibly even a new favourite writer. ( )
1 vote iansales | Aug 17, 2018 |
might be my favorite book of all time ( )
  margaretfield | May 29, 2018 |
Finally completed my first Faulkner novel having somehow avoided him during school years. The author's appendix is infinitely helpful but the stream of consciousness style is still difficult. This will be worth more than one reread. Also gave me a chance to try another book club which turned out to be excellent. ( )
  abycats | May 11, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
Escribir este libro foi para min como aprender a ler, coma se me achegase á linguaxe, ás palabras, co mesmo respecto e coidado de quen se achega á dinamita". Así describe William Faulkner (New Albany, 1897-Oxford, 1962) a súa experiencia con O ruído e a furia, a súa cuarta novela, publicada en 1929. A historia da ruína e decadencia da familia Compson, no Sur dos EUA, segue a representar para o lector de hoxe ese mesmo desafío, o da literatura como reinvención da linguaxe. Ao tempo, é un magnífico exemplo do pulo que posúe unha narración inspirada na vida, ese "conto contado por un idiota, cheo de ruído e de furia, que nada significa", segundo deixou dito Shakespeare en Macbeth.
 

» Add other authors (130 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Faulkner, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Coindreau, Maurice EdgarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dewey, Kenneth FrancisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardner, GroverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hughes, RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaila, KaiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Minter, David L.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warren, Robert PennIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting.
Quotations
Once a bitch, always a bitch, what I say.
Got it at the getting place.
'You're not a gentleman, Spoade said. 'No, I'm Canadian.' Shreve said.
"Dogs are dead." Caddy said. "And when Nancy fell in the ditch and Roskus shot her and the buzzards came and undressed her."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Jason sums it thus:
"Once a bitch, always a bitch."
I prefer Benjy.
(LeBoeuf)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679732241, Paperback)

The ostensible subject of The Sound and the Fury is the dissolution of the Compsons, one of those august old Mississippi families that fell on hard times and wild eccentricity after the Civil War. But in fact what William Faulkner is really after in his legendary novel is the kaleidoscope of consciousness--the overwrought mind caught in the act of thought. His rich, dark, scandal-ridden story of squandered fortune, incest (in thought if not in deed), madness, congenital brain damage, theft, illegitimacy, and stoic endurance is told in the interior voices of three Compson brothers: first Benjy, the "idiot" man-child who blurs together three decades of inchoate sensations as he stalks the fringes of the family's former pasture; next Quentin, torturing himself brilliantly, obsessively over Caddy's lost virginity and his own failure to recover the family's honor as he wanders around the seedy fringes of Boston; and finally Jason, heartless, shrewd, sneaking, nursing a perpetual sense of injury and outrage against his outrageous family.

If Benjy's section is the most daringly experimental, Jason's is the most harrowing. "Once a bitch always a bitch, what I say," he begins, lacing into Caddy's illegitimate daughter, and then proceeds to hurl mud at blacks, Jews, his sacred Compson ancestors, his glamorous, promiscuous sister, his doomed brother Quentin, his ailing mother, and the long-suffering black servant Dilsey who holds the family together by sheer force of character.

Notoriously "difficult," The Sound and the Fury is actually one of Faulkner's more accessible works once you get past the abrupt, unannounced time shifts--and certainly the most powerful emotionally. Everything is here: the complex equilibrium of pre-civil rights race relations; the conflict between Yankee capitalism and Southern agrarian values; a meditation on time, consciousness, and Western philosophy. And all of it is rendered in prose so gorgeous it can take your breath away. Here, for instance, Quentin recalls an autumnal encounter back home with the old black possum hunter Uncle Louis:

And we'd sit in the dry leaves that whispered a little with the slow respiration of our waiting and with the slow breathing of the earth and the windless October, the rank smell of the lantern fouling the brittle air, listening to the dogs and to the echo of Louis' voice dying away. He never raised it, yet on a still night we have heard it from our front porch. When he called the dogs in he sounded just like the horn he carried slung on his shoulder and never used, but clearer, mellower, as though his voice were a part of darkness and silence, coiling out of it, coiling into it again. WhoOoooo. WhoOoooo. WhoOooooooooooooooo.
What Faulkner has created is a modernist epic in which characters assume the stature of gods and the primal family events resonate like myths. It is The Sound and the Fury that secures his place in what Edmund Wilson called "the full-dressed post-Flaubert group of Conrad, Joyce, and Proust." --David Laskin

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:02 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Retells the tragic times of the Compson family, including beautiful, rebellious Caddy; manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their Black servant.

» see all 8 descriptions

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