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Go Down, Moses Paperback – January 30, 1991
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“He is the greatest artist the South has produced. . . . Indeed, through his many novels and short stories, Faulkner fights out the moral problem which was repressed after the nineteenth century [yet] for all his concern with the South, Faulkner was actually seeking out the nature of man. Thus we must turn to him for that continuity of moral purpose which made for greatness of our classics.” —Ralph Ellison
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Top Customer Reviews
Faulkner has always been a pleasant read for me, because I find it quite challenging. "Go Down, Moses" is no exception. In particular, the genealogy of the McCaslin-Edmonds-Beauchamp family causes no end of confusion. You will encounter characters named McCaslin Edmonds, Carothers McCaslin, Carothers McCaslin Edmonds, etc... (I found drawing a family tree helped me immensely)! Furthermore, the narrative is hardly linear; characters jump around in space and time, tell stories of other peoples' experiences in the midst of their own reminiscences, and in general relate their tales in a manner that will keep you constantly flipping back and forth through the book. That being said, I happen to *enjoy* books like this, where the reader is not a passive recipient of information but actively engaged in the process of determining plot, characters, and truth. I like this style because it reminds me of how we construct narratives in our own minds. We go off on tangents, we ramble endlessly before returning suddenly to our original subject, we remember things as they occur to us more often than we do in chronological order. Faulkner is more psychologist than novelist: he puts us inside the minds of his characters and lets them tell the story for themselves. If you want a clear-cut, action-driven story instead of a thoughtful and intimate history, Faulkner is not for you.Read more ›
For any non-southern American whose sole exposure to what happened there was from history books, this should forever shatter the pat preconceptions and simplistic black and white (no pun intended!) formulas they were taught.
The book plunges you into a vast panorama of ambiguities and contradictions. It was clear to me from the first paragraph that Faulkner was a genius. In the whole history of literature, he surely stands among a select few at the very pinnacle of greatness.
Go Down Moses is a tremendous struggle to get through. Some parts are straightforward and easy, but there are others that you can't hope to make literal sense of. You're bombarded by its twisted grammar. Its frantic confusion. Its endlessly unresolved sentences. But through these, Faulkner ultimately conveys the pain of history -- past and present. The emotion of that pain seems more real to him than the specific incidents it sprang from. Why else would a book begun in pre-Civil War Mississippi -- entirely skip it -- picking up again a generation later?
This book is about the South. Having read it, Faulkner walked beside me every step of the way I took through his state. But this book also has a sub-theme that should not be overlooked. Faulkner was a profound environmentalist, although sharply contrasted with how we usually think of that term. Hunters don't much fit the mold of environmentalism -- and Faulkner was an avid one of that lot. So, in that sense, along with all the sociological, he can shake you up pretty good!Read more ›
Go Down Moses is a collection of temporally fragmented novellas and stories concerning the McCaslin family's past, present, and future legacy in a southern town. Thematically, Faulkner tackles a bevy of issues--race, slavery, paternity, masculinity, the natural and supernatural. The stories are loosely centered around Isaac McCaslin, descendant of Carothers McCaslin--a plantation owner.
The best regarded and most complex story is considered to be "The Bear." Over a hundred pages long, it follows (often meandering) the hunting team that includes young Isaac, ex-Civil War officers, and a half Choctaw/half African hunter (Sam Fathers) as they obsessively pursue the invincible bear Old Ben through the years. Bursting with imagery and symbolism, "The Bear" will please Faulkner fans and hunters alike.
My personal favorites are "Was" and "The Fire and the Hearth." Lucas, half-black and the oldest living McCaslin save Isaac, searches for buried gold on Carothers Edmonds's plantation, where he farms, while his wife, fed up with his mania, gives him an ultimatum. An unlikely and graceful story of marital bonds and family values, and the triumph of humanity and dignity over birthright
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have a love hate with Faulkner. If he would have adjusted his prose to include shorter paragraphs, I would be happier. That said, the descriptions are poetic.Published 1 month ago by Kay
There are several stories, and I enjoyed them all. I had heard The Bear was the most well known, and I certainly enjoyed it and its exploration of man and nature. Read morePublished 1 month ago by James Hunter Ross
Brings back old memories of the men in my past who showed me the way of the world and how deer hunting builds character.Published 5 months ago by Linda Gorby
Genuine Faulker-- incredible characterization. One of my favorites.Published 5 months ago by Nancy Andrews
Although the pages were fairly yellowed, it didn't matter. The book was inexpensive. The print was readable, and its content was the issue. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Dr. John R. Wright