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Reading Faulkner: Sanctuary Hardcover – October 1, 1996

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

A handbook for interpreting William Faulkner’s most violent and shocking novel

About the Author

Edwin T. Arnold is a professor of English at Appalachian State University. Dawn Trouard is Associate Provost of Academic Affairs at the University of Akron. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Reading Faulkner
  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878058737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878058730
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,992,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Sanctuary is, on its surface, one of Faulkner's more accessible works. It was, for that reason, one of his most popular for a long time. It is relatively easy to follow the basic story so a line by line commentary might seem unnecessary. However, this book really increased my appreciation for Faulkner's book. The first time I read Sanctuary I was not actually all that impressed with it. I am a huge Faulkner fan but the novel seemed strange and not all that interesting to me. After reading this book I realized just how much I was missing.

This book was helpful in two ways. First, it helps to illuminate all the little subtle things I was missing. For example, in a few places Faulkner shifts into a flashback without giving any indication to the reader that he is doing so (I am thinking of the scene where Horace is talking to Miss Jenny about Narcissa and Gowan in particular). There are also places where the dialogue is somewhat cryptic. The dialogue between the three town boys as they watch Temple at the dance with Gowan, for instance. This book was extremely helpful in shedding light on lots of little details that I missed. The basic story of Faulkner's novel is fairly easy to follow but I would be willing to bet that many of the details are lost on readers. At least, they were on me.

Second, the book also sheds light on some of the larger themes of the novel. My lack of appreciation for the novel after a first read through was largely because I was missing some of the interesting themes that the novel explores. For example, the relationship between the "two societies": the "low society" of bootleggers, gangsters, and prostitutes and the "high society" of respectable citizens.
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