Free pdf Absalom, Absalom!Author William Faulkner –

Published In , Absalom, Absalom Is Considered By Many To Be William Faulkner S Masterpiece Although The Novel S Complex And Fragmented Structure Poses Considerable Difficulty To Readers, The Book S Literary Merits Place It Squarely In The Ranks Of America S Finest Novels The Story Concerns Thomas Sutpen, A Poor Man Who Finds Wealth And Then Marries Into A Respectable Family His Ambition And Extreme Need For Control Bring About His Ruin And The Ruin Of His Family Sutpen S Story Is Told By Several Narrators, Allowing The Reader To Observe Variations In The Saga As It Is Recounted By Different Speakers This Unusual Technique Spotlights One Of The Novel S Central Questions To What Extent Can People Know The Truth About The Past

10 thoughts on “Absalom, Absalom!

  1. says:

    I like to think that Faulkner, were he alive, would ve broken an empty bourbon bottle over the head of JRR Tolkien, and spit some tobacco juice on JK Rowling for their candy ass prose and their contributions to increasing the laziness of readers everywhere I further like to think that after he wrote, and opposite Quentin, Miss Coldfield in the eternal black which she had worn for forty three years now, whether for sister, father, or nothusband none knew, sitting so bolt upright in the straight hard chair that was so tall for her that her legs hung straight and rigid as if she had iron shinbones and ankles, clear of the floor with that air of impotent and static rage like children s feet, and talking in that grim haggard amazed voice until at last listening would renege and hearing sense self confound and the long dead object of her impotent yet indomitable frustration would appear, as though by outraged recapitulation evoked, quiet inattentive and harmless, out of the biding and dreamy and victorious dust Her voice would not cease, it would just vanish That he put down his pen, flicked his cigarette butt in the air, and said, top that Hemingway you fucking insecure little fuck Though perhaps I have a romanticized version of him.

  2. says:

    The picture above was used on the first edition dust jacket published in 1936 by Random House It is the image I had in my mind of Sutpen s Hundred the plantation built by Thomas Sutpen The hundred stands for a 100 square miles, the geographic size of the plantation 100 square miles of land is equivalent to 64,000 acres In other words it is a BIG PLACE The gist of all this is that Thomas Sutpen built himself an empire These plantations were so large that it required an unbelievable amount of human labor to keep them productive Mechanical invention had not advanced enough to provide the machines that the plantation owners needed to work such a large tract of land When you own land than you can work and there is not a labor pool available to sustain your industrywhat do you do Well, we know what they did, but what should they have done Around 1800 when cotton became king is when the demand for slaves escalated exponentially The potato famine in Ireland happened in 1845 which brought thousands of displaced Irish to the United States, but this wave of immigration came too late to keep the South from becoming too economically dependent on slavery Now I m not advocating turning the Irish immigrants or the Chinese immigrants who followed into slaves, but wouldn t it have been a better solution for our history if those plantation owners had adopted the flawed, but still better than slavery, system of tenant farmers Eventually technology would have caught up with the needs of large land owners which would have freed up the tenement farmers for the industrial work that made the North so strong Maybe the availability of that labor pool would have encouraged manufacturing in the South Some of the better tenement farmers would have become land owners themselves as plantations fell out of the hands of Southern aristocratic families due to the untimely death of a patriarch or because of mismanagement Not a perfect world, but a better world and maybe, just maybe we would have avoided a costly Civil War for which the South to this day has never fully recovered But then would Southern literature be the same I have a grudging respect for Thomas Sutpen As a boy he was asked to deliver a message to a wealthy plantation owner in Virginia He watched the plantation owner lying in a hammock with his shoes off while a slave fanned him Thomas was asked to go to the backdoor to deliver his message He will never forget the slight He lays awake at night thinking about what he can do about it He does a stint in the West Indies and comes back to the United States, specifically Mississippi, with blacks speaking a strange language He wasn t even a gentleman He came here with a horse and two pistols and a name which nobody ever heard before, knew for certain was his own any than the horse was his own or even the pistols, seeking some place to hide himself Quentin Compson is the thread that sews the plot together As Rosie Coldfield and his father and a host of other people tell him stories about Yoknapatawpha County his head becomes filled with a convoluted history of his birthplace Quentin had grown up with that the mere names were interchangeable and almost myriad His childhood was full of them his very body was an empty hall echoing with sonorous defeated names he was a being, an entity, he was a commonwealth Quentin spends time with Rosie Coldfield than he really wants to, but she has memories that he needs to hear to fill in the gaps of the story in his head Quentin.sitting in the buggy beside the implacable doll sized old woman clutching her cotton umbrella, smelling the heat distilled old woman flesh, the heat distilled camphor in the old fold creases of the shawl, feeling exactly like an electric bulb blood and skin since the buggy disturbed not enough air to cool him with motion, created not enough motion within him to make his skin sweat The families who have lived in this county in Mississippi for generations are also the same people who regarded this new comer, Thomas Sutpen, with bemusement When he successfully rooked a drunken Indian out of some land they clucked about that, but then as he continued to gain influence and wealth, building a comfortable living out of nothing they started to worry This opportunity had been there for them their whole lives, but it took a man with daring from outside the county to see the potential or have the immorality to make it happen He took a wife descended from a good family and the community showed their disapproval by not showing up to the wedding Undaunted, barely noticing that the community had turned against him, Thomas Sutpen forged forward siring a son and a daughter and building the life for himself he had coveted as a boy in Virginia The Civil War happens Almost every able man is called up to serve Thomas s son Henry is away from school and has become friends with Charles Bon who because of the encouragement of his mother has, at the advanced age of 28, decided to go back to school He meets up with Henry and as the plot advances we find out that Charles Bon is Henry s half brother Charles becomes engaged to Henry s sister Judith and of course she is also his half sister As you might expect this causes much consternation in the family I really didn t think that Charles loved Judith It was not Judith who was the object of Bon s love or of Henry s solicitude She was just the blank shape, the empty vessel in which each of them strove to preserve, not the illusion of himself nor his illusion of the other but what each conceived the other to believe him to be the man and the youth, seducer and seduced who had known one another, seduced and been seduced, victimised in turn each by the other, conquerer vanquished by his own strength, vanquished conquering by his own weakness I think he saw Judith as the only way of achieving his own birthright view spoiler Henry kills Charles to keep him from marrying Judith even though he really loved himwelllike a brother hide spoiler

  3. says:

    How am I to put all the pain of this novel into a review The pain of the suffering characters The pain of the reader suffering with them There were moments when I felt I couldn t take it any, when the carefully built puzzle added another piece to the beautifully decorated and carefully furnished hellscape.What makes you able to talk about that kind of pain, then, I could ask, following the path of Quentin and Shreve, the two dialogue partners who preside over the story in the story, trying to carve out truth in the muddle of prejudice, pride, hatred and occasional passion mostly unaccompanied by love Anger, I d say Anger at the fact that a monster like Sutpen can walk the earth, admired as a godlike creature by the people who share his racist and misogynist revenge and entitlement thinking Anger that he has the power to put children into the world to CREATE like an evil mirror of the Creator of the Southern religion whose only purpose is for his glory and honour to be perpetuated in a pure, male line Female descendants don t count, and neither do sons if they have any trace of African American ancestry Some women are just about good enough to give pleasure if the occasion arises, but their children are not even good enough to acknowledge their existence in front of the world Anger drove me, and one quote broke my heart So it s the miscegenation, not the incest, which you can t bear As did the fate of Milly Jones and her baby GIRL A human being, for Goodness Sake No, not a vessel of Sutpen genes lacking y chromosomes Sutpen differs from his biblical source in that his heart is not broken like that of David confronted with Absalom s death He is merely offended in his right to perpetuate his meaningless string of genes in a line of white only male gorillas He pushed one old man over the edge and found his end in the most suitable way His curse lives on, and on, and on, way beyond the magnetic closing lines, answering the question put to Quentin, why he hates the South I dont hate it he thought, panting in the cold air, the iron New England dark I dont I dont I dont hate it I dont hate it Repeating the mantra in the same way a desperately caring person says I don t care, I don t care, I don t care But we do, and therefore books like this hurt A lot.

  4. says:

    622 Absalom, Absalom , William Faulkner 1897 1962 Absalom, Absalom is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, first published in 1936 Taking place before, during, and after the Civil War, it is a story about three families of the American South, with a focus on the life of Thomas Sutpen 2000 1378 414 9644480864 1382 20 1909 .

  5. says:

    A great writer William Faulkner was winner of the Nobel Prize , yet not an easy read.This novel the name comes from the Bible, could be his best shows this Seemingly just another southern Gothic book with erratic flashback after flashback revealing the truth layer by layer maybe, set both before and after the American Civil War 1861 1865, North against South 620,000 soldiers died , with different characters narrating the confusing story of Thomas Sutpen A dirt poor man from what will become West Virginia leaving his family at 14, traveling to find a better life walking mostly across southern states and arriving in the fictional sleepy hamlet of Jefferson, Mississippi in 1833 at the age of 25 Not welcomed by the local population, trust never is given to the aloof stranger doesn t matter to the ambitious man wealth does, that is all to him Mr Sutpen is tired of poverty nothing can stand between his goal of riches even if a few get hurt Somehow buying stealing a hundred square miles of Indian land Sutpen s Hundred, his plantation Having a few slaves he builds a large mansion but no furniture or windows money has gone, years later he does have and marries Ellen Coldfield , daughter of his only friend Goodhue Coldfield a small shop owner Love match it is not, he wants respectability, she a big house to run and impress the town still there are secrets never talked about by decent people Born to the unhappy couple are Henry and younger sister by two years Judith, crimes are committed by this family Henry attends the new University of Mississippi at Oxford, later to be called ironically Ole Miss and meets Charles Bon, a few years older from New Orleans, becomes his best friend, nonetheless he is connected somehow to him Taking Charles back home to Jefferson, he soon becomes unofficially engaged to Judith This makes the mother Ellen ecstatic , Thomas her father isn twhy The future couple strangely are quite calm, there must be a reason But first war begins a glorious adventure for the young, cheers, congratulations naturally Henry and Charles join and battle together disillusionment succeeded it The old patriarch Thomas is made a Colonel in the rebel army too, fighting very bravely he never lacked courage not one of his many sins This book will bore some, even irritate others but there is no denying its magnificence for those willing to read it.

  6. says:

    Absalom, Absalom William Faulkner s Novel of the Death of the Old SouthConsidered by many Faulkner scholars to be his masterpiece, Absalom, Absalom was read by goodreads group On the Southern Literary Trail in April, 2012 And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son Second Samuel, 18 33, King James VersionInterestingly enough, Absalom, Absalom and Gone with the Wind were both published in 1936 Both were novels of the Old South However, while Margaret Mitchell chose to romanticize that society, William Faulkner removed any element of fanciful romance from the story revolving around the rise and fall of Thomas Sutpen, a man with a design to found a patriarchal dynasty, but who lost everything in his attempt to do.Faulkner originally titled his novel, Dark House, but as he wrote his complex story adopted the story of King David and his son Absalom as a appropriate fit with the figure of Thomas Sutpen and his family This was a novel that Faulkner struggled with through false starts, interruptions with his work as a screenwriter for Howard Hawks, and the death of his younger brother Dean who died in a plane crash in 1935 Further, his initial submissions to his publisher were returned to him as being confusing and incapable of being understood.Faulkner s premise for Sutpen s story is no one person is capable of knowing what truth is History is an amalgam of documentation, memory, and the telling of it One lawyer colleague of mine has as his motto, Perception is reality For the reader of Absalom, Absalom it is quite similar to being a member of a jury, listening to the testimony of multiple witnesses, weighing their demeanor, their testimony, their biases and prejudices, viewing the exhibits, and ultimately, as a group determining what is the truth of the case tried before them.Faulkner had his characters and story in mind His problem was how to tell the story of Thomas Sutpen and the lives of his children which occurred in the past by characters in the ostensible present of the novel Among his working papers was a flow chart showing the sources of information and the basis of how his characters knew what they did At the top was Thomas Sutpen, originally named Charles From Sutpen, a line flowed to Rosa Colfield, who would be Sutpen s sister in law Another line flowed to the right to General Compson, his only apparent friend, to his son Quentin Compson II In the center at the bottom of the working page is Quentin Compson III, whom we originally meet in The Sound and the Fury Quentin is linked to Sutpen by his direct connection to Rosa Colfield who tells the story from her perspective, and from information passed down to him by his grandfather and father Quentin emerges as the central thread from whom we learn the evidence of the case of Thomas Sutpen Then, in a masterstroke of structure, Faulkner provides the reader with Quentin s Harvard roommate, Shreve McCannon, an outsider, a Canadian, who provides questions and his own interpretation of the information Quentin provides him.In essence, Faulkner s structure is much akin to eating an artichoke, peeling the delicate leaves from it, nipping the tender flesh from the base of the leaves, until we reach the unveiled heart, the ultimate delicacy, or in literary terms, what the reader discerns to be the truth.Thomas Sutpen appears in Jefferson, Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, in 1833 He is a mystery He is a man without a past, without a lineage Nor is he forthcoming about where he has come from, or the source of his wealth that allows him to purchase one hundred square miles of land from Old Chickasaw Chief Ikkemotubbe With him, Sutpen has a band of wild negro slaves who speak in a language unknown to the inhabitant s of Jefferson Sutpen also carries with him a French architect who will design and direct the building of Sutpen s big house.This information is provided by Rosa Colfield, the sister of Ellen, whom Sutpen courts in peremptory fashion Referring to Sutpen as man horse demon, Rosa reveals her biases and prejudices against Sutpen For it develops that prior to her death, Ellen had put the responsibility of protecting her children, Judith and Henry, when she is no longer alive Sutpen will curtly propose to Rosa to become his second wife, but she will leave after being insulted by Sutpen for reasons that will be made considerably later in the novel.Not only is reading Absalom a bit like dining on an artichoke, it is also very much like peeling an onion, layer after layer Through Grandfather and Father Compson we learn that Sutpen had come from the mountains of western Virginia, from a poverty stricken family Sutpen is turned away from a Tidewater Virginian s front door by a slave This rejection will deepen Sutpen s desire to be as rich as any man Sutpen becomes an overseer on a Haitian plantation He puts down a slave revolt He is awarded for bravery by being given the plantation owner s daughter in marriage However, he puts her aside upon discovering that her complexion is not the result of a Spanish mother, but a black descendant Not only does Sutpen put her aside, but his son by her The thought of a marriage of miscegenation does not fit in with Sutpen s design to be landed gentry in Northern Mississippi.Sutpen s downfall is foreshadowed by the appearance of Charles Bon, enrolled as a student in law at the infant College, Oxford Bon becomes fast friends with Henry, who idolizes the elegant older man from New Orleans That Bon meets Judith during a visit to Sutpen s plantation is inevitable Sutpen s wife, Ellen, considers Bon to be Judith s future husband However, it would appear that Bon has desire for Henry than Judith The homoerotic electricity of the relationship is palpable, though neither man ever indicates the occurrence of a sexual act.The coming Civil war prevents resolution of Bon s relationship with Judith Henry and Bon join the University Grays formed at Oxford and head to war, with the belief that all the South held that defeat was impossible Sutpen also went to war as a General His bravery is never at question However, as a result of a talk with Henry regarding Bon, Henry repudiates his position as heir to the Sutpen holdings Nevertheless, although he say he does not believe what his father has told him about Bon, which is never directly revealed to the reader, Henry hope that the war will resolve the issue of Bon s marriage to Judith Perhaps the war will remove one or both of them, making any confrontation unnecessary But it does not.Is Charles Bon the son of Thomas Sutpen How will Henry resolve the propriety of Bon s marriage to Judith since the war left them both survivors And what of Thomas Sutpen s fate What will come of Sutpen s One Hundred when it becomes part of a conquered nation What secrets do Thomas Sutpen s house still hold that Rosa Colfield demands that Quentin ride with her to that dark house before he leaves the South to become a student at Harvard Absalom, Absalom is Faulkner s pivotal novel of the death of the Old South In it he leaves no doubt that he considered slavery to be the institution that condemned it and destroyed it Shreve McCannon, the outsider, the neutral observer, the Canadian, astutely observes that the descendants of those that once held no freedom would rule the hemisphere.Faulkner s opinion of Absalom, Absalom was, I think it s the best novel yet written by an American Random House, headed by Bennet Cerf, was excited by the novel, stating on the jacket that it was Faulkner s most important and ambitious contribution to American literature The novel was released October 26, 1936.Typical of literary criticism of the time, Faulkner remained their favorite whipping boy Clifton Fadiman, writing for The New Yorker said the novel was consistently boring, that he didn t know why Faulkner wrote it, and that he didn t understand it Harold Strauss, writing for the New York Times said that its unreadable prose should be left to those who like puzzles Faulkner s Early Literary Reputation In America by O.B Emerson, UMI Research Press, Ann Arbor, Michigan 1984 What the critics of the 1930s did not recognize was that Faulkner had discovered modernist techniques already used by Woolf, Conrad, Kafka, and Joyce Today, typical analysis of Absalom is that its sole competitors in contemporary American literature are Dreiser s An American Tragedy and Fitzgerald s The Great Gatsby William Faulkner American Writer A Biography, Frederick R Karl, Weidenfeld Nicolson, New York, New York, 1989, page 582.I d say Karl is right And as for prose for people who like puzzles, think of peeling all those leaves off that artichoke That succulent heart, dipped into drawn butter is worth the work.

  7. says:

    Starting to read Absalom, Absalom might feel, at first, like walking into your friends having an important conversation but, because you missed the first half of it, you can t tell whom it s about and why they sound so absorbed by it and they re so concentrated that they can t and won t listen to you requesting that they please start over All you can do is try to make sense of the clues and signs you re able to grasp and try to figure out for yourself at least for the time being bits of the narrative Of course, you could also excuse yourself and give them some privacy but you d be missing out on a great book Like the making of a pearl mollusks depositing calcium carbonate in concentric layers, as a defense mechanism, against a potentially threatening irritant such as a parasite inside the shell, or even a grain of sand in rare cases , isolating it from their mantle folds That s how I like to imagine William Faulkner wrote this novel he idealized the plot and his characters, and then realized something tragic would have to happen to them that would be their demise the threatening irritant a crime and instead of telling his tale conventionally, he slowly protected and isolated it with layers and layers of different perspectives from various unreliable narrators In how many different ways can the same story be told Can each one of these co exist on their own There are mainly four people Rosa Coldfield, father and son Jason and Quentin Compson and Shreve McCannon, the latter s roommate in this quest of trying to understand and ultimately make sense of what they ve heard about the events that took place over the course of a century, as the fates of the Sutpen, Coldfield and Bon families are encapsulated from the 1800 s until the early 1900 s.Each one of these four voices which at some point are all narrators of the story have some knowledge of what happened in certain periods of time Part of that knowledge, though, is pure guessing or interpretations based on their own points of view, and so it s up to us who are reading a story from someone who s heard of a story from others to be careful as to what we can assume as fact or merely personal conclusion While Miss Rosa, who s emotionally involved and was a living part of the tragedy, fuels her narrative with sentimentality and bias, Mr Compson relies on a hear and say account, since he s heard it all from his own father Quentin and Shreve approach the subject objectively in black and white, ironically one might say considering this particular book , just summarizing all the information they d obtained from several sources, while still trying to attribute what were the underlying reasons in all of the character s actions.The novel s plot is basically about the rise and fall of Thomas Sutpen, a poor white man who has a project for his life since he was a teenager to have a big mansion, a family and heirs to carry out his name Arriving in Jefferson, Mississippi, he is able to obtain some land and through the course of a few years, builds up his sumptuous mansion The next step is to find a wife Ellen Coldfield, a local woman, whom he marries and gives him two children Henry and Judith It all seems to be working accordingly to his plans until Henry, who s now in the University, brings home for Christmas his fellow student and best friend Charles Bon, whom Ellen Coldfield hopes will marry her daughter The simple possibility of this wedding brings drastic consequences to the lives of the three families, and only through analyzing their past we can begin to comprehend why an unexpected killing took place and how that altered Sutpen s schemes and how he felt he would have to try again.Completing the merits of the book, Faulkner gives us beautiful and interesting analogies, long Proustian sentences and uses a lot of visual elements to portray the character s feelings, and he s still able to assign unique ways in which all of his storytellers can express themselves and stand on their own as singular voices Not in all passages appears to be an obvious narrator, but through paying attention to detail and getting acquainted with their manners, it ll be easier to identify whose voice it is you hear.Rating while the story is in fact very interesting and keeps you curious until the end to find out what really happened to the families involved and begging for a reliable narrator who will just lay out all the cards for you, the innovations in style and the narratives Faulkner employed here are what really grabbed my attention and impressed me the most I found Absalom, Absalom so well crafted and written that I just couldn t help but wonder than a couple of times how did he ever idealized something like this For that 5 stars, no less.

  8. says:

    Have you ever looked at one of Picasso s abstract females You know the ones I mean The woman has a head in which the prominently jutting nose splits the face into two sections with violently contrasting colours Other body parts, hugely disproportionate, seem to bulge and dangle everywhere You contemplate it for a while, shake your perfectly symmetrical head, put your elegantly tapered fingers pensively to your shapely chin, and think, There s a human being in there somewhere I can see all the body parts But why does it look so incredibly bizarre Well, that s sort of how I felt reading this novel If I had to sum it up in one phrase it would be Convoluted, convoluted Mind you, I wouldn t want to dissuade anyone from trying this I m told by those in the nose know that it s much better on a second reading If I went back to the Picasso, maybe all those skewed arms and legs and, well, you know, other things would shift around and suddenly look like a regular human being And if I go back to the Faulkner, maybe all those characters, fragments, flashbacks, rehashings, and long drawn out italicized monologues will shift around and suddenly make sense like a regular novel.I don t know, though, whether I ll ever go back But that s just me.

  9. says:

    All the human vices turn around an instinct of procreationAnd a male instinct of procreation turns around a womanthe other sex is separated into three sharp divisions, separated two of them by a chasm which could be crossed but one time and in but one direction ladies, women, females the virgins whom gentlemen someday married, the courtesans to whom they went while on sabbaticals to the cities, the slave girls and women upon whom that first caste rested and to whom in certain cases it doubtless owed the very fact of its virginityBut if a man erects his economic edifice not on the rock of stern morality but on the shifting sands of opportunism and moral brigandage then sooner or later a day of reckoning will come Absalom, Absalom is a full of dark secrets and murky mysteries ghost story the ghosts of the past rise and follow you everywhere.

  10. says:

    I would marry this book if our proud nation didn t define marriage as being only between a man and a woman.