Understanding Faulkner

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Richard Grant discusses how his time living in Mississippi provided him with a more full understanding of William Faulkner’s language. Despite studying Faulkner at school in England, Grant felt that it wasn’t until he moved that he was able to totally appreciate Faulkner’s work:

To sit on the old porch reading Mr. Bill, with a field of laid-by cotton in front of the house (the crop needs no more work, and can be left alone until harvesting), is the best reading I know. He has become my constant guide and companion, delineating class structures and racial complexities, opening my eyes to the natural environment, the speech patterns, the obsession with family trees, the brooding tensions beneath the Southern charm, the lingering bitterness over the Civil War. He’s there when I hunt deer in the big woods by the Yazoo River, and drink moonshine whiskey from the jug at a country store.


Olivia Wetzel is a student taking time off to live and work in San Francisco. If she could be any animal, she’d be a penguin. She’s never eaten pepperoni before, and one of her feet is a whole size bigger than the other. More from this author →