As I Lay Dying
Publication Date: December 2009
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Backgrounds and Contexts is divided into three sections, each of which includes a concise introduction by Michael Gorra that carefully frames the issues presented, with particular attention toAs I Lay Dying's place in Faulkner's literary life. Contemporary Reception reprints American, English, and French reviews by Clifton Fadiman, Henry Nash Smith, Edwin Muir, and Maurice Coindreau, among others, along with Valery Larbaud's never-before-translated preface to the first French edition of the novel. The Writer and His Work examines Faulkner's claim to have written the novel in six weeks without changing a word. It includes his comments on the book's composition along with his later thoughts on and changing opinions of it, sample pages from the manuscript, his Nobel Prize address, and the little-known short story in which he first used the title. Cultural Context reprints an essay by Carson McCullers and an excerpt from James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men along with other materials that address questions of Southern Agrarianism and the Southern grotesque. Criticism begins with the editor's introduction toAs I Lay Dying's critical history and scholarly reception. Eleven major essays are provided by Olga W. Vickery, Cleanth Brooks, Calvin Bedient, Andre Bleikasten, Eric Sundquist, Stephen M. Ross, Doreen Fowler, Patrick O Donnell, Richard Gray, John Limon, and Donald M. Kartiganer. A Chronology and a Selected Bibliography are also included
About the AuthorWilliam Faulkner was an American writer, Nobel Prize laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner. A prolific writer, Faulkner is best known for his novels and short stories, including The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying, which are set in fictional Yoknapatawpha County, and the Snopes trilogy which includes The Hamlet, The Town and The Mansion. Along with Mark Twain, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams and Harper Lee, Faulkner is considered one of the most important writers of Southern literature and is known for his experimental style, including the use of stream of consciousness. Faulkner died in 1962.
Michael Gorra teaches English at Smith College. His books include "After Empire", "The Bells in Their Silence, " and, as editor, the Norton Critical Edition of Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying". He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.