A Reader's Guide to Unfamiliar Literature
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A Good Place To Start

As I Lay Dying 1
The Sound and the Fury 1
Light in August 1
Go Down, Moses 1
The Hamlet 1

A Bad Place To Start

As I Lay Dying 1
The Sound and the Fury 1


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William Faulkner

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Please consider recommending where to begin reading this author, or where not to. A few words about your experiences reading this author and why you make the recommendations you do will be helpful to other users. If you are the author or have studied this author extensively, please say so.

tripst3r February 6th, 2006 10:04 AM PST

The thing about Faulkner is, do you start with something with a nice, neat, single narrator, told in more or less standard English (which can be fantastic literature) or one of the more narratively adventurous works (which are fantastic in addition to being spectacles)? For a general reader, I lean toward the former, since it introduces you to his themes and settings and attitudes without being distracted by trying to figure out what's being said.

wijmlet August 26th, 2008 01:45 PM PST

Start with his short stories, like the classic "A Rose for Emily" and moved out, learning about the recurring characters in Jefferson, his fictional town.

Although somewhat racist, he portrays the South in Shakespearean complexity.

wijmlet September 1st, 2009 03:40 PM PST

Superb, Shakespearian use of language. Plotting and point of view and narration are complex but amazingly satisfying.

His Nobel Prize acceptance speech, however, is complerte b.s.


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William Cuthbert Faulkner (September 25, 1897 July 6, 1962) was an American novelist and poet whose works feature his native state of Mississippi. Regarded as one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, Faulkner was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Faulkner's writing is often criticized as being dense, meandering and difficult to understand due to his heavy use of such literary techniques as symbolism, allegory, multiple narrators and points of view, non-linear narrative, and especially stream of consciousness. Faulkner was known for an experimental style with meticulous attention to diction and cadence, in contrast to the minimalist understatement of his rival Ernest Hemingway.

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