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Intruder in the Dust: Typescript Draft, Typesetting Copy, and Miscellaneous Material (William Faulkner Manuscripts, No. 17) Hardcover – March 1, 1987

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 733 pages
  • Publisher: Garland Publishing, Inc.; 1ST edition (March 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824068386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824068387
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 9.5 x 12.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,444,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Novel by William Faulkner, published in 1948. Set in Faulkner's fictional Yoknapatawpha County, the novel combines the solution of a murder mystery with an exploration of race relations in the South. Charles ("Chick") Mallison, a 16-year-old white boy, feels that he must repay a debt of honor to Lucas Beauchamp, an elderly black man who has helped him but spurns his offers of payment. When Beauchamp is arrested for the murder of a white man, Chick searches for the real killer to save Beauchamp from being lynched. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The language is poetic, very Southern.
nancy lapidus
This technique could annoy many, but for those who know how to "read" Faulkner, it may be accepted as a characteristic part of the package.
The plot boils down to a Hardy-esque search for a killer that involves not one but two cases of misplaced bodies.
M. Buzalka

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on December 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
"Intruder in the Dust" wraps a fine mystery around and through a story that could only happen in Faulkner country, yet is a timeless monument to man's stubbornness, stupidity and honor. Mr. Faulkner enfolds his prose around you like kudzu and makes you part of his world.
In a small Mississippi town in 1948, black Lucas Beauchamp is wrongfully arrested for shooting white Vinson Cowrie in the back. Sixteen-year old Charles Mallison owes Lucas a debt of honor incurred four years ago. Lucas hires Charles' cynical uncle, Gavin Stevens, to defend him. The most pressing matter is not Lucas' guilt or innocence; it is keeping him from getting lynched before he is arraigned. Lucas is a nightmare of a client. He is stubborn, stiff necked and proud. He dresses like an old time plantation owner and neither owes nor accepts favors from anyone. Uncle Gavin is trying to save Lucas' neck while Charles is trying to clear him. Gavin laments that Lucas would be easier to keep alive if "he would just ACT like a n----r." This Lucas refuses to do. There is body snatching, graveyards at night and some thoroughly frightening characters to liven up the journey.
Another reviewer mentioned "drunk on his prose," and it is a very apt description. It works best if read aloud; you will find Faulkner's rhythm and make it your own. The long sentences don't trouble if you just let his prose carry you along. Mr. Faulkner thinks any southern woman over 35 years old is a secret Amazon of quiet strength and fortitude, which makes for interesting characters, but is a little hard on credibility. There is long section on how "outsiders" (read "Northerners") have interfered and thereby delayed integration. However true or false this may be, it slowed the story down and seemed tacked on.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Tim Weber on May 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
No it's not one of Faulkner's "big four" (the classics "The Sound and the Fury," "As I Lay Dying," "Light in August" and "Absalom! Absalom!"), but "Intruder in the Dust" is certainly in his next tier of top novels, and is the one book that can fly in the face of the "he never wrote anything great after World War II" way of thinking. I enjoyed this book immensely. Yes, the sentences tend to be extremely long and the book is slow to get going, but find Faulkner's rhythm and stick with the story; you'll be glad you did. As always, the highlight is Faulkner's beautiful use of language, which always towers over whatever story he's writing and whatever flaws you may stumble upon along the way. This story of a black man wrongly accused of murder doesn't always go where you think it will or even where you want it to, but somehow it works brilliantly. Faulkner throws in his take (apparently) on how the South should handle civil rights on its own -- not really necessary to include and a small flaw in the book, I think. But stick with it, get drunk on the prose and enjoy an underappreciated work from a master. This relatively short book will be over too soon.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A.J. on October 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
After twenty years of writing experimental fiction and Hollywood screenplays, Faulkner seemed destined to create a novel like "Intruder in the Dust"--a noir-ish mystery set in Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, that incorporates his signature prose style into a continuing commentary on race relations in the South. The premise of the accusation of a black man for the murder of a white man may seem too facile, but the novel does not rely solely or even primarily on plot-driven intrigue; it is the criminal aspect only as it relates to the prevalent social attitudes that generates interest.

One day a local white man named Vinson Gowrie is found shot to death, and a black man named Lucas Beauchamp is arrested at the scene and charged with the murder. In this part of the country at this time in history, a black man who is even suspected of murdering a white man is in danger of being lynched, especially by people like Gowrie's relatives, who are from a particularly rough and bloodthirsty enclave living in an area called Beat Four.

The story is told in the third person but from the viewpoint of a white boy named Charles "Chick" Mallison, who in the past has tried to befriend the solitary but kind Beauchamp and is convinced of his innocence. With the help of his uncle Gavin Stevens, a lawyer who decides to represent Beauchamp, his black friend Aleck Sander, and an elderly spinster named Miss Habersham, Chick investigates the matter and discovers, unsurprisingly, that there is more to the case than initially meets the eye.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
This novel has a traditional detective story plot and a conventional attitude about race relations (although it was progressive for the South in the late 40s). After that, all bets are off. The style is like a thicket, but that's because Faulkner puts you into the head of a confused boy caught up in events beyond his control. Chick Mallison is white, and his friend Aleck Sander is black (Aleck Sander doesn't know his name isn't two words, because he can't read or write). The paired adult characters of equivalent race are Chick's uncle, Gavin Stevens, a lawyer, who defends Lucas Beauchamp (pronounced "Beecham"), a black tenant farmer accused of a murder he didn't commit by the people who did it. They know that in a prejudiced society, white people are likely to believe a black man is guilty, so they try to palm it off on him. Lucas is a rather severe character who often doesn't seem to appreciate the help he's getting (part of the plot involves trying to prevent the citizens from pulling him out of jail and lynching him), but he's a marvelous character and something of a father figure to Chick by the end of the book. Reading the book is a bit of a chore at first, but I got through it in high school years ago, and am reading it now for the third time. If you want some help getting into the book, you might try a "Masterplots" description of it or a reader's guide to Faulkner (there are several around). You might also look for the 1949 film based on the book, which was filmed in Faulkner's home town of Oxford, Mississippi, with local citizens as extras, and with the great Juano Hernandez playing Lucas.
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