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Publisher's Summary

William Faulkner was the greatest American novelist of the 20th century, yet he lived a life marked by a pervasive sense of failure. Throughout his career, he remained haunted by his inability to master a series of personal and professional challenges: his less-than-heroic military career; the loss of his brother in an airplane crash; a disappointing stint as a Hollywood screenwriter; and a destructive bout with alcoholism. In this imaginative biography, Philip Weinstein - a leading authority on the great novelist - targets Faulkner's embattled sense of self as central to both his life and his work. Weinstein shows how Faulkner's troubled interactions with time, place, and history - with antebellum practices and racial division - take on their fullest meanings in his fiction. Exploring the resonance of his own unpreparedness, Faulkner invented a singular language that captured human consciousness under stress as never before. Becoming Faulkner joins Faulkner's life and art in a bold new way, giving listeners a full vantage from which to better understand this 20th-century literary genius.

Weinstein shows how Faulkner's troubled interactions with time, place, and history - with antebellum practices and southern heritage - form a pattern that played out over the course of his entire life. At the same time, these incidents take on their fullest meanings in his fiction. It was in meditating on his failures, his own unreadiness, Weinstein argues, that Faulkner came up with his singular language, one that captured human consciousness under stress as never before. His fruitless striving catapulted American literature to a new level of sophistication. Narrating the events that comprised Faulkner's life, biographers have long struggled to depict his personal complexity, the paradoxes that shaped his decisions and dogged his relationships. But without a consideration of the writing as well, the troubles in the life fail to reveal their deeper resonance. By skillfully analyzing the work while tracing the events, Weinstein achieves a full portrait, revealing struggles that animate his life and shadows that complicate his work. Becoming Faulkner thus conjoins Faulkner's life and art in a bold new way, giving listeners a full vantage from which to better understand this 20th-century literary genius.

©2010 Philip Weinstein (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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Miss.'s BCS-Bundren.Compson.Snopes/Sutpen/Sartoris

The Art and Life of William Faulkner is told in an interesting, at times captivating, manner without a lot of academician double-speak. It explores Faulkner's drive and defects, masterpieces and failures in art and in life.

It was of tremendous help in reading and interpreting The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!, As I Lay Dying and Sanctuary.

Ballerini does an excellent job with the narration.

I thoroughly enjoyed and thus highly recommend this.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Jed B
  • Columbus, Georgia
  • 06-30-17

Heartily recommend

Others have complained of redundancy, but how can you write like Hemingway & evoke Faulkner? Especially when you're teasing out support for your thesis by quoting from the man's work. This sheds light both on the man and on the work; it doesn't revere him or sully him, but the writer is clearly a fan, and so he does get flowery at times. I found it satisfying.

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  • Cynthia Reed
  • 03-23-15

Interested in Faulkner? Fabulous resource!

I enjoyed this book immensely and it more than met my expectations. As a writer, studying writers, I somehow missed 99.5% of Faulkner. "Becoming Faulkner" filled in those gaps masterfully. The Faulkner work read/quoted herein opened new avenues to read and study further. As someone who's never been much of a biography fan, this work has made a convert of me. It was a wonderful experience, narrated stunningly and appropriately.