Daily Archives: July 6, 2011

William Faulkner

Clip from an interview in which Faulkner explains why The Sound and the Fury is his personal “best beloved” novel

William Faulkner died on this date is 1962.

Frye in The Modern Century. The reference is brief, but the context — the revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity considered in a religious context — is telling. We can just sneak this one into our continuing consideration of Frye on God.

Matthew Arnold warned the dominant bourgeoisie of Victorian England that a society could pursue liberty to the point of forgetting about equality. Today, with capitalism in a counter-reformation period and with totalitarianism  thought of a something foreign, we prefer to be reminded that society — that is, other societies — can purse equality to the point of forgetting about liberty. But neither political democracy nor trade unions have developed much sense of the third revolutionary ideal of fraternity — the world “comrade” has for most of us a rather sinister and frigid sound. Fraternity is perhaps the ideal that the leisure structure has to contribute to society. A society of students, scholars, and artists is a society of neighbors, in the genuinely religious sense of that word. That is, our neighbor is not, or not necessarily, the person in the same national or ethnical or class group with ourselves, but may be a “good Samaritan” or person to whom we are linked by deeper bonds than nationality or racism or class solidarity can provide. There are bonds of intellect and imagination as well of love and good will. The neighbor of a scientist is another scientist working on similar lines, perhaps in a different continent; the neighbor of a novelist writing about Mississippi is (as Faulkner indicated in his Nobel Prize speech) anybody anywhere who respond to his work. (CW , 57-8)