Intruder in the Dust

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For the film adaptation, see Intruder in the Dust (film).
First edition cover (Random House)

Intruder in the Dust is a novel by the Nobel Prize-winning American author William Faulkner published in 1948.


The novel focuses on Lucas Beauchamp, a black farmer accused of murdering a white man. He is exonerated through the efforts of black and white teenagers and a spinster from a long-established Southern family. It was written as Faulkner's response as a Southern writer to the racial problems facing the South. In his Selected Letters, Faulkner wrote: "the premise being that the white people in the south, before the North or the Govt. or anybody else owe and must pay a responsibility to the negro."

Intruder in the Dust was turned into a film of the same name directed by Clarence Brown in 1949 after MGM paid film rights of $50,000 to Faulkner. The film was shot in Faulkner's home town of Oxford, Mississippi.

Intruder in the Dust is notable for its use of stream of consciousness style of narration. The novel also includes lengthy passages on the Southern memory of the Civil War, one of which Shelby Foote quoted in Ken Burns' documentary The Civil War.

The characters of Lucas Beauchamp and his wife, Molly, first appeared in Faulkner's collection of short fiction, Go Down, Moses. A story by Faulkner, "Lucas Beauchamp", was published in 1999.

Faulkner was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature for "his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel."[1] The Nobel Prize was not specifically for his novel Intruder in the Dust but for the enduring contribution of his writing as a whole.


  1. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Literature 1949". Retrieved July 3, 2013. 

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Preceded by
Go Down, Moses
Novels set in Yoknapatawpha County Succeeded by
The Town