I have a nameless wish to go
To some far silent midnight noon
Where lonely streams whisper and flow
And sigh on sands blanched by the moon

William Faulkner’s first published work, from the 1919 New Republic.

My blog’s title obliges me to autoreblog pretty much everything re: Faulkner.

And, every time I see a picture of the man, I think “of course he looked like that.” It’s fascinating to contrast the ubiquity of Hemingway’s image to Faulkner and Fitzgerald; it must tell us something about the reception of their work, though what that “must” is remains pretty ambiguous. 

I’m sure it has to do with the imago Hemingway presented as a model to a whole generation of young men, the form of life which they internalized and took as their model.  Stranger still, the life’s end of the model. Vonnegut once wrote about his suicide as a confusing of life with fiction, as a failure (from a talk, in this book). That conclusion always seemed wrong to me, and I come back to it every now and again. Ultimately, I just think it’s too easy, and that suicide, ‘this strange determination to die’ (#), is more complex and tortuous than such a judgment warrants.

I suppose it’s only appropriate that on the occasion of posting about Faulkner, I actually ended up talking about Hemingway. But, in any case, the blog is named for Faulkner’s novel, and that is no accident.  

… the old mindless sentient undreaming meat …

And if you haven’t got honor and pride, then nothing matters. Only there is something in you that doesn’t care about honor and pride yet that lives, that even walks backward for a whole year just to live; that probably even when this is over and there is not even defeat left, will still decline to sit still in the sun and die, but will be back out in the woods, moving and seeking where just will and endurance could not move it, grubbing for roots and suchthe old mindless sentient undreaming meat that doesn’t even know any difference between despair and victory, Henry. 

—William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom! (#)