The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War

Michael Gorra (Smith College)

The Saddest Words: William Faulkner's Civil War
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The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War

Michael Gorra (Smith College)

With this ?rich, complex, and eloquent? (Drew Gilpin Faust, Atlantic) work, Pulitzer Prize finalist Michael Gorra charts the evolution of an author through his most cherished?and contested?novels. Given the undeniable echoes of ?Lost Cause? romanticism in William Faulkner’s fiction, as well as his depiction of Black characters and Black speech, Gorra argues convincingly that Faulkner demands a sobering reevaluation. Upending previous critical traditions and interweaving biography, literary criticism, and rich travelogue, the widely acclaimed The Saddest Words recontextualizes Faulkner, revealing a civil war within him, while examining the most plangent cultural issues facing American literature today.

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