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Three Famous Short Novels: Spotted Horses / Old Man / The Bear Mass Market Paperback – February 12, 1958

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Editorial Reviews


“No man ever put more of his heart and soul into the written word than did William Faulkner. If you want to know all you can about that heart and soul, the fiction where he put it is still right there.” —Eudora Welty
“Faulkner’s greatness resided primarily in his power to transpose the American scene as it exists in the Southern states, filter it through his sensibilities and finally define it with words.” —Richard Wright --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

Three different ways to approach Faulkner, each of them representative of his work as a whole. Includes "Spotted Horses," "Old Man," and his famous "The Bear."

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (February 12, 1958)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394701496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394701493
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.8 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #859,416 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

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By T. Thompson on November 18, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was a challenging story, like all works of Faulkner. But also a very rewarding story. When you finish this one you feel like you have been somewhere... truly immersed in a time period... truly immersed in a family.
No author, ever... has had the knack of creating a world of ordinary people so expertly intertwined throughout his novels. Faulkner either by design or accident (I doubt that??) has created a rich tapestry in his books, of characters subtlely connected by time and circumstance.
I have read The Sound and the Fury and most of Light in August; and it is not difficult to see the connections in just these two books plus the short story The Bear. Everything I have chanced to read by this amazing author has had careful, deep, intricate connections to the other works.
I know this is a well known fact... but the way in which Faulkner executes it, leaves me amazed each and every time I encounter it.
The Bear is a coming of age story about Ike McCaslin. It traces his development to a young man through several vingettes. Each time we see him he is involved in a hunt. That is until the last 2 sections in which we see him at age 21 looking back on his family history and discussing his right to the land. Once we see him as a young boy and then onward into his teenage years.
The story revolves around an aged bear who roams the forests and swamps where they hunt. It is interesting to see Ike develop as a hunter and man, as the hunters get closer and closer to the old bear.
There are many rich characters in this story.... far to many for me to touch on in this short review.
A big theme that impressed me in this one was how our personal history is inexticably tied to the land we grow up on.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 28, 2001
Format: Library Binding
If you expected Faulkner's "The Bear" to be as difficult as "Pat the Bunny" you will be deeply disappointed. High school teachers may assign it in segments to English classes, but it is at heart an adult story, with deep seams of place and poetry. In this coming of age novella, the relationship between the boy Isaac and Old Ben the bear takes place against the backdrop of threatened forest land. Faulkner's passionate writing about the value of the woods rings true for nature conservationists today. The lengthy section on Civil War ghosts and the equivocality of inheritance, often considered an intrusion within the main narrative, also rewards careful reading. As for Faulkner's infamous run-on sentences -- well, here they are on full steam ahead, and even Faulkner's machismo is forgiveable in the context of his marvellous sentences.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Chadwick H. Saxelid on August 5, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Three Famous Short Novels gathers together three long and diverse works by America's greatest writer (that's my opinion, others my contest it, I will only agree to disagree). Spotted Horses is a humorous tale culled from the pages of The Hamlet, the first novel in the famous Snopes Family Trilogy. The Bear is the expanded version of the somber and mythic hunting story about the killing a legendary bear that means so much more than just that. The final story is the exciting adventure yarn Old Man and was one half of the two conjoined novellas that made up The Wild Palms (aka If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem). Although each story has more power than many writers have in their entire output, they acheive even more when woven into the wide fabric of Faulkner's far reaching, generations spanning Jefferson, Mississippi. Required reading.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By woodrow locksley on August 7, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is an excellent collection of three short novels. Spotted Horses is a long chapter from The Hamlet and probably doesnt belong here because it is too short but it is entertaining and well concewived on every level and The oldf man one half of the noveL If I Forget Thee Jerusalem is an excellent adventure story with very good characterization of the title character an escaped convict.It is The Bear that makes the collection It is long enough to stand alone and is one of Faulkner's best works .The descriptions of nature are amazing as are all the characterizations and the characters meditations on the great bear they are huntingwho is ravaging livestock because man has invaded his environment. It is an excellent work of literature and Faulkners technique which can be overblown and undermining at times being style for styles sake is at the top of his form here
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gridley VINE VOICE on October 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Faulkner's growth as a writer underpins these three novellas. Spotted Horses is something of a too-oblique storytelling mess, giving the reader more questions than answers to Faulkner's intentions. Old Man is doubtless Cormac McCarthy's inspiration for his later, apocalyptic novels, and here Faulkner seems to have come into his own as an impressionistic writer, his long detailed depiction of the convict's negotiation of the flooded river clearly intended to affect the reader emotionally, not intellectually. In The Bear, Faulkner has grown as a social historian, with his long conversation between Isaac and McCaslin surely intended to paint an everyman picture of the South's demise as a bucolic Eden.

Reading these stories reminds of Miles Davis turning his back to his audiences and playing, if not to his band, then solely to himself. Faulkner's stories wander (many, I know, see the challenge in following such stories as part of Faulkner's genius), his inferences are oblique, often to a fault, his characters strangely superficial, serving only as voices for his social and philosophical perceptions. Faulkner isn't easy, and yet there's plenty of depth to make you soldier on through his baroque prose.
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