Yoknapatawpha: Images and Voices

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Yoknapatawpha: Images and Voices

by George G. Stewart
Southern Cultures, Vol. 4, No. 3: Fall 1998

"Haunting photographs from Mississippi evoke William Faulkner's mythical landscape."

The Yoknapatawpha County of William Faulkner’s major fiction, from Sartoris (Flags in the Dust) (1929) to Go Down, Moses (1942), is a dark world haunted by the pastparticularly by the legacy of slaveryand paralyzed by obsession, violence, revenge, and defeat. Although interlaced with humor and acts of courage and sacrifice, it is essentially a tragic vision. When we read these novels and stories, the characters still convey vividly the timeless “problems of the human heart in conflict with itself”; but the models for these characters are dead, and the rural society they composed has changed significantly and, in several instances, ironically.