Talk:Absalom, Absalom!

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General[edit]

Overall, for one of the most impressive and important novels of the twentieth century, this page is woefully lacking in fact and overfilled with speculative commentary. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 222.221.188.166 (talk) 17:43, 11 February 2010 (UTC)


"Mementoish" is a newly coined adjective after the recent movie. It sounds amateurish. Any ideas for a substitute? Pentimento-like or collage-like? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Chasbo2 (talkcontribs) 19:14, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Henry[edit]

I have changed the summary to reflect Henry's MUCH more fraught motivations for favouring the match between Charles and Judith. As the novel makes quite explicit (or at least, as explicit as this novel EVER is), his (romantic? intense?) feelings are not (just?) for Judith, but extend to Charles as well - their marriage thus "solves" the classic homoerotic triangle by allowing himself to at once marry charles to his opposite-gender familial stand-in, and through the proxy of charles, satisfy his potential psychosexual fascination for his sister. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.15.67.217 (talk) 06:24, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Accuracy[edit]

The plot summary has many subtle but important errors. On a cursory reading,

  1. The woman to whom the novel repeatedly refers to as an octoroon is Bon's wife, not Sutpen's. The extent of Eulalia Bon's black ancestry is never specified. Furthermore, IIRC, 'Bon' is not her original surname.
  2. The article mentions a "true story," even though the novel never claims to distinguish a single, true version from the others.
  3. The architect is not an indentured servant. His legal state is never specified; I'm pretty sure that he stays at Sutpen's Hundred mainly because Sutpen doesn't let him leave.
  4. It's missing parts, such as the story about Henry and Charles in the army, and important facts about the narrators themselves.
--Smack (talk) 00:20, 29 November 2006 (UTC)


  • In the edited edition, it is noted Eulalia is an octoroon.
  • Jim Bond's whereabouts are unknown at the end of the novel.
—The preceding unsigned comment was added by 64.162.60.178 (talkcontribs) 18:11, 19 February 2007 (UTC).


  • I vouch for (not verify) items 1, 2, and 3 above. The octaroon is Bon's wife; but I have no information regarding the surname.
  • As for 2, this is an important point. Furthermore, the fact that there are 3 interwoven, often conflicting versions of events is what makes up a good portion of the novel's literary moment. Various arguments can be made about the interpolated story: that each individual is responsibile for weaving together the various threads into a coherent whole, that the 'truth' is inherently unknowable, that the veracity of various sources undermines any attempts to reconstruct the past, that our history, personal or national, as far as it can be said to be our heritage or our birthright or some other inheritance, is a falsehood, or the interpolated story can support many other interpretations.
  • 3 is correct. The architect is technically a freeman, although whatever implied intimidation Sutpen uses to keep him around disputes that, and in fact raises the question of how important legal status is, given that through intimidation, de facto status can often render moot legal status.
  • 4 might be more important in regards to details about the narrators themselves. The history of the army, while important, may not be crucial to an understanding of the story.
--luckystuff 09:00, 27 March 2007


Issues: Credibility and Copyright[edit]

Before I engage in a massive editing of this article, I thought it best to get feedback about the various issues, perhaps even from the original author, if the author is willing:

  • The space created between the spoiler warning and the accuracy warning is very distracting. Perhaps the accuracy warning can be placed at the very top of the article.
  • The article appears to follow too closely to the Spark Notes summary, and the modifications convolute the summary slightly. Is there an issue with copyright in this regard?
  • Regarding the statement, "Although Faulkner published the novel, many scholars today believe Faulkner stole many of his ideas from Curtis Johnston, a philosophical writer of the 1800's." There is no credibility to this, evident in the "many scholars" reference. Even Curtis Johnston's article is not written properly. A quick perusal through my local library catalog, my university catalog, and even a basic Google search turned up absolutely nothing on this "Curtis Johnston" person. I'm not saying the information is false, but as it stands, it's currently not credible, and should perhaps be removed.

In actuality, I believe this entire article needs a total rewrite, mainly to break away from the structure and format of Spark Notes. What says ye?

--Caleb 22:22, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

IANAL, but I'm hard-pressed to call the plot summary a paraphrase of Spark Notes, so I'd say that the copyright status of the article is dubious at worst. I would delete the reference to Curtis Johnston. I studied this novel in a college class last semester, and the professor did not even suggest that Faulkner had imitated anyone.
P.S: The Johnston bit was added by a vandal.
P.P.S: It looks like Johnston himself is a fabrication of this vandal and his sock puppet. --Smack (talk) 06:02, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Quentin Compson[edit]

I had previously put into the "Analysis" section a brief discussion of Quentin's role as the novel's protagonist, and how it invited the parallels between the Sutpens' story here and the Compsons' in The Sound and the Fury. Somebody took it out, though, and put Quentin's appearance in S&F as Trivia, which is absurd. The fact that Quentin is a major character in both books is anything but trivial! So I've put my previous edit back into the "Analysis" section and removed the bit in the "Trivia" section. Msclguru 20:07, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Absalom87.jpg[edit]

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BetacommandBot (talk) 05:27, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

"Wash"[edit]

Is "Wash" an excerpt, prequel, sequel or companion piece to this novel? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.62.177.55 (talk) 01:41, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Previous short story. But should be regarded as companion piece, but it is not necessary for the enjoyment of the novel at all. Faulkner retells his stories many times, ex. Centaur in Brass, Barn Burning. Exactly like different history books would retell anecdotes differently. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.232.66.242 (talk) 19:35, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Magic realism[edit]

It's hard to know where to begin inasmuch as the entire article is unsourced - written perhaps in a time before time when Wikipedia had no policies (?) but at any rate I'm unclear on how it can be categorized as magical realism or as the text says credited with "magical realism elements". Most of the google hits derive from this article and the few that do not seem to be the musings of their author rather than anything authoritative. The genre did not exist or at least had not been named in Faulker's time, so it makes about as much sense as calling Saint Augustine a postmodernist even if he did employ some literary devices that would later be part of that movement. The matter-of-fact portrayal of supernatural elements as background scenery to illustrate, mirror, or play off the internal mental landscape of the characters is an ancient thing, common in Greek theater for example, and only gains its poignancy as magical realism when put in a modern context where the magical is seen as unrealistic. Any thoughts? Is AA really MR? Wikidemon (talk) 10:08, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

If isn't really by any definition i can take away from Magical realism, so i took it out. Cheers, LindsayHi 09:04, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

Trivia[edit]

The number of words for the longest sentence in this book doesn't match with the article Longest English sentence --70.246.146.139 (talk) 00:25, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Plot Summary: a fundamental problem[edit]

Aside from the first paragraph, the entire Plot Summary section summarizes the "story within the story" of Absalom, Absalom.

This seems problematic, because it presumes that the various narrators are telling the truth. Yet to assume this is to choose a point of view that a good Wikipedia article should not take.

Moreover, I think it should be noted that the first edition of this book did not have the chronology at the end. Faulkner's editor asked him to add this, and he did in a later edition (the second, IIRC). Some literary scholars have argued that adding the chronology significantly changes the nature of the book, as it reifies the story-within-the-story.

Thus there are three common literary interpretations:

  1. The reader should accept that the story-within-the-story in Absalom, Absalom is "true", and thus AA is a novel about family and race.
  2. The reader should be skeptical about the narrator's stories (especially Shreve, who has no actual knowledge of the events, and yet whose contribution to the story is treated by the Plot Summary and by the Chronology as if it were just as reliable as the other parts). Thus AA is a novel about how stories are passed down and altered as they are retold.
  3. The first edition and second edition are radically different novels. The first edition is about how stories are passed down, and the second edition is about family and race.

It seems that NPOV requires the Plot Summary section to be neutral with respect to this dispute! That will require a major rewrite. — Lawrence King (talk) 03:05, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

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