Marie sends us an essay that appeared in the New York Times in 2012, adapted from the then upcoming publication of a Modern Library Edition of Absalom, Absalom! It covers some basic ground, tries to address the crucial, probably central issue of race in the novel, and argues that Absalom is the Ulysses of American fiction.
A Rose for Emily was published in 1930, four years before Faulkner completed Absalom, Absalom!. Carcassone first appeared in 1931 in a short story collection that also contained A Rose for Emily. I post these because I think they serve as a good warm up for Absalom, Absalom!, in terms of shared themes, story props, and style.
These two articles from The New York Review of Books, separated by almost 40 years, seem to me to speak to each other. Diane Johnson’s article is a review of Song of Solomon. As a white woman, she has a very hard time with the bad behavior of the characters in Song of Solomon. They are not, she worries, exemplary, though putting it that way does not do complete justice to her take on Morrison. Zadie Smith’s article is a personal and fascinating discussion on the issues of appropriation. She explores what it means for both reader and writer to enter the imaginary world of people unlike themselves, an issue of heated debate these days. I think the Smith essay is brilliant.