The text of this Norton Critical Edition is that of the corrected edition scrupulously prepared by Noel Polk, whose textual note precedes the text. David Minter’s annotations are designed to assist the reader with obscure words and allusions.
“Backgrounds” begins with the appendix Faulkner wrote in 1945 and sometimes referred to as another telling of The Sound and the Fury and includes a selection of Faulkner’s letters, excerpts from two Faulkner interviews, a memoir by Faulkner’s friend Ben Wasson, and both versions of Faulkner’s 1933 introduction to his novel.
“Cultural and Historical Contexts” presents four different perspectives, two of them new to the second edition, on the place of the American South in history. Taken together, these works—by C. Vann Woodward, Richard H. King, Carolyn Porter, and Robert Penn Warren—provide the reader with valuable contexts for understanding the novel.
“Criticism” includes seventeen essays on The Sound and the Fury that collectively trace changes in the way we have viewed this novel over the last four decades. The critics are Jean-Paul Sartre, Irving Howe, Ralph Ellison, Olga W. Vickery, Cleanth Brooks, Michael Millgate, John T. Irwin, Myra Jehlen, Donald M. Kartiganer, David Minter, Warwick Wadlington, John T. Matthews, Thadious M. Davis, Wesley Morris and Barbara Alverson Morris, Minrose C. Gwin, André Bleikasten, and Philip M. Weinstein. A revised Selected Bibliography also is included.
William Cuthbert Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer. One of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, his reputation is based mostly on his novels, novellas, and short stories. He was also a published poet and an occasional screenwriter.
The majority of his works are based in his native state of Mississippi. Though his work was published as early as 1919, and largely during the 1920s and 1930s, Faulkner was relatively unknown until receiving the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, “for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel.” Faulkner has often been cited as one of the most important writers in the history of American literature. Faulkner was influenced by the european modernism, and employed the Stream of consciousness in several of his novels.