Recreating Faulkner’s Fictional World: The Publication of the Chronology and Genealogy in Absalom, Absalom!

Published in The Faulkner Journal, 2016

Recommended citation: Howard, Christian. (2016). "Recreating Faulkner’s Fictional World: The Publication of the Chronology and Genealogy in Absalom, Absalom!." The Faulkner Journal. 30(2): 83-99. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/708701/pdf

William Faulkner included an appendix to Absalom, Absalom! consisting of a chronology, genealogy, and map; this was the only one of his novels originally published with such an appendix. Most scholars have regarded these end materials as supplementary materials, yet such views derive largely from editorial decisions, which have relegated the end materials to “mer[e] aids to the reader” rather than “modern adjuncts to the novel,” as Noel Polk puts it. Nonetheless, upon examining Faulkner’s correspondence with his editors housed in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia, I reassess the hitherto supplementary status of these end materials. Rather than assessing them in terms of accuracy or inaccuracy, I argue that we should consider their content and form, free of the assumption that they are merely readerly “aids.” To this end, I offer a parallel between these end materials and Biblical chronologies and genealogies, which offer a viable means of understanding the operation of the chronology and genealogy within Faulkner’s storyworld. (Peer Reviewed)

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