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Absalom, Absalom! (Cliffs Notes)

231 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 004-9086001105
ISBN-10: 0822001101
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Product Details

  • Series: Cliffsnotes Literature Guides
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Cliffs Notes (February 28, 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822001101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822001102
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (231 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,188,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in 1897 in New Albany, Mississippi, William Faulkner was the son of a family proud of their prominent role in the history of the south. He grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, and left high school at fifteen to work in his grandfather's bank.

Rejected by the US military in 1915, he joined the Canadian flyers with the RAF, but was still in training when the war ended. Returning home, he studied at the University of Mississippi and visited Europe briefly in 1925.

His first poem was published in The New Republic in 1919. His first book of verse and early novels followed, but his major work began with the publication of The Sound and the Fury in 1929. As I Lay Dying (1930), Sanctuary (1931), Light in August (1932), Absalom, Absalom! (1936) and The Wild Palms (1939) are the key works of his great creative period leading up to Intruder in the Dust (1948). During the 1930s, he worked in Hollywood on film scripts, notably The Blue Lamp, co-written with Raymond Chandler.

William Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949 and the Pulitzer Prize for The Reivers just before his death in July 1962.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

205 of 214 people found the following review helpful By Bryan A. Pfleeger VINE VOICE on September 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
Absalom, Absalom! is Faulkner's great novel of the rise and fall of the Sutpen dynasty and a great allegory of the rise and fall of the Old South. It should be noted that first of all this is probably Faulkner's greatest and most difficult work.
The book told through three interconnected narratives tells the life story of Thomas Sutpen. The story parallels the rise of the Old South. The narratives are not straight forward and present a constant challenge to the reader. But if the reader does not close the book in despair the rewards are great indeed.
The mood of the storytelling alone is worth the price of admission here. The long flowing sentences are marvels and testaments to Faulker's skill as a writer. The narrative drive makes reading the book almost like reading Greek tragedy. We gets views of Sutpens life from several townspeople and also across generations.
This is the first book that I've read in a long time that made me feel like I had accomplished something when I finished it. You don't so much read this novel as you become lost in it. Jump in get your feet wet and prepare for some of the most intense Southern gothic that you are ever likely to read.
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150 of 156 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
My favorite book used to be The Sound and the Fury, but Absalom! Absalom! simply blew that away! A novel of themes dating back to the Bible and Greek tragedies--love, hubris, fratricide, incest--juxtaposed with the most peculiarly American of settings. Despite what many readers might say (my one friend said this was the first and last book she's started reading that she could simply not finish), it's not that diffiuclt once you get in the rhythm--reading aloud to yourself helps as well. While I would place this at the top of my "greatest books ever written" list, I would not recommend it to a first-time Faulkner reader. I'd read (in this order) The Unvanquished, As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, Go Down Moses, and Light in August before tackling Absalom! The Unvanquished is probably your best bet to start out on--its stream of consciousness style is not nearly as extreme as in Sound, Absalom, or even As I Lay. This book is worth all the page-long sentences and multiple voices...It's the finest work of not just Faulkner but of American writers as a whole.
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104 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Chris on April 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
I struggled through this aggravating yet breathtaking book, but I don't think very many people can say they've read it and not struggled through it for Faulkner is still experimenting with style, and in this novel, considered by many to be his masterpiece, he does this by writing confusing page-long sentences for which he became famous (or should I say infamous) - this overall effect, combined with Faulkner's overuse of SAT vocabulary, makes the book a hard but worthwhile read; some read it and love every word of it, some read the first fifty pages and say it's "unreadable" - I happened to really enjoy it, but then again, I am a big Faulkner fan, and these sentences I'm writing are written in the same style Faulkner uses in Absalom, Absalom! - so if you think this style is annoying, don't even pick up this book! The story itself is told from a twisted angle: Quentin Compson (yes, the same Quentin Compson from The Sound and the Fury) hears the story of Thomas Sutpen's life and of his desire to forge a dynasty in Jefferson, Missisippi, a desire which failed due to the actions of Sutpen's children and of Sutpen himself - this story is told to Quentin from various different members of the Jefferson community (each account is slightly twisted or bias, and the reader, along with Quentin, is left to patch the "true" story together from the myriad accounts) in an attempt by Faulkner to show how a community tells and twists a story as it passes through the town - Faulkner masterfully succeeds at this, but in doing so, he only gives the reader enough information to just keep the story going, and things happen later in the book that explain the mysteries in the beginning.Read more ›
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108 of 118 people found the following review helpful By GeoX on April 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am glad to have read Absalom, Absalom!. The unknowable story of Thomas Sutpen and his doomed progeny is haunting, the heavy gothic atmosphere is effective, and I'm certainly not likely to forget it any time soon.
On the other hand, I have to say, by no means did I actually enjoy the process of reading Absalom, Absalom!. The Sound and the Fury, Light in August--those I actually got pleasure out of reading. Absalom, Absalom!, I did not. I won't deny that there is some brilliant writing on display here, the sort of thing that makes you pump your fist and shout "yeah! Go William!" (c'mon, I know I'm not the only one--'fess up), but more often than not, the prose just seems convoluted and tangled, for no other reason than that the man wanted to display his virtuosity. More often than not, this does not work, and sometimes it actively damages the novel. Regard, for instance, the following passage:
"...because I had learned nothing of love, not even parents' love--that fond dear constant violation of privacy, that stulification of the burgeoning and incorrigible I which is the meed and due of all mammalian meat, became not mistress, not beloved, but more than even love; I became all polymath love's androgynous advocate (117)
Yes indeed: polymath love's androgynous advocate. Faulkner would seem to be going for the 'bad prog rock lyrics' effect here. Even if you can figure out what this is supposed to mean, the fact remains: it looks damned silly, a clear case of complexity for complexity's sake. Sometimes less is more, Bill.
So no, slogging my way through three hundred pages of this stuff was not an enjoyable task. And yet, for some reason, it really does stick with you, as previously noted. I'm still not sure I'd recommend it, though.
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