Marking Time with Faulkner
A Study of the Symbolic Importance of the Mark and of Related Actions
This print book is now in inexpensive iPad in 50 countries.
I first wrote it as a graduate student at Columbia University, under John Unterecker, a wonderful professor and poet, who wrote Voyager: A Life of Hart Crane, which was for a long time the definitive biography of Crane.
My literary criticism focusses on Faulkner’s writing technique more than his themes, though they overlap. I zeroed in on recurring word clusters and how they inform his motifs, leading to the central motif of “Marking Time.” Who didn’t want to do that? Certainly, Faulkner did. And it was quite fun to sleuth out the symbols he used to express “marking.”
From the Amazon description:
This book of literary criticism is a good introduction to Faulkner. It follows motifs of recurring actions, such as – unlikely as it sounds – “moving, burning, squatting, eating and ultimately marking.” That is, the uses Faulkner makes of imagistic language to leave ‘milestones’ and “deathless footnotes.” Through a close look at the recurring language, the author detects clusters of revelation about style, message, and how a symbol itself evolves. Some chapter titles are: “Thematics,” “Movement,” “Marks,” “Malevolence,” “Impermanence.” Suffuse with lively quotations from the books, the language is easily accessible yet closely researched.
Years after I wrote the Master’s thesis, it was typed up by someone in Romania; then I lightly revised it for the print book. I lightly revised it again for the ebook. Especially with such an expert advisor, the ideas are as alive as ever. What I updated was some 1960s vocabulary in view of Faulkner’s topics. That done, it offers a look at the writer – that I think is still pretty unique. Faulkner and I share the same birthday. And I wrote notes for the book in the hotel overlooking the center of Oxford.