Today I talked to Michael Gorra about his new book The Saddest Words: William Faulkner's Civil War (Liveright, 2020). This episode touches on two of William Faulkner’s novels in particular: The Sound and the Fury as well as Absalom, Absalom! It considers the role of memory and history, Faulkner’s alcoholism, the sexual exploitation practiced by plantation owners, and the greater presence of Nathan Bedford Forrest over Robert E. Lee in Faulkner’s fiction writings. Ties to today’s reckoning for racial justice is a part of the episode, too.
The author of Portrait of a Novel, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Michael Gorra is a Professor English Language and Literature at Smith College and the editor of the Norton Critical Editions of As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury.