Sanctuary

( 10 )

Overview

First published in 1931, this classic psychological melodrama has been viewed as more of a social document in his tragic legend of the South than mere story. From Popeye, a moonshining racketeer with no conscience and Temple Drake, beautiful, bored and vulnerable, to Harace Benbow, a lawyer of honor and decency wishing for more in his life, and Gowan Stevens, college student with a weakness for drink, Faulkner writes of changing social values and order. A sinister cast peppered with social outcasts and perverts ...

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Sanctuary

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Overview

First published in 1931, this classic psychological melodrama has been viewed as more of a social document in his tragic legend of the South than mere story. From Popeye, a moonshining racketeer with no conscience and Temple Drake, beautiful, bored and vulnerable, to Harace Benbow, a lawyer of honor and decency wishing for more in his life, and Gowan Stevens, college student with a weakness for drink, Faulkner writes of changing social values and order. A sinister cast peppered with social outcasts and perverts perform abduction, murder, and mayhem in this harsh and brutal story of sensational and motiveless evil.

Students of Faulkner have found an allegorical interpretation of "Sanctuary" as a comment on the degradation of old South's social order by progressive modernism and materialistic exploitation. Popeye and his co-horts represent this hurling change that is corrupting the historic traditions of the South, symbolized by Horace Stevens, which are no longer able to protect the victimized Negro and poor white trash due to middle-class apathy and inbred violence.

A study of Faulkner's manuscripts and other material by Polk has resulted in texts that are as close as possible to Faulkner's final intentions.

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Editorial Reviews

Warren
"For all the range of effect, philosophical weight, originality of style, variety of characterization, humor, and tragic intensity [Faulkner's works] are without equal in our time and country." --Robert Penn Warren
Wilson
"Faulknerà belongs to the full-dressed post-Flaubert group of Conrad, Joyce, and Proust." --Edmund Wilson
Ellison
"For all his concern with the South, Faulkner was actually seeking out the nature of man. Thus we must return to him for that continuity of moral purpose which made for the greatness of our classics." --Ralph Ellison
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679748144
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/1/1993
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition description: Corrected Text Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 142,447
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

William Faulkner

William Faulkner (1897-1962) was an American novelist and short-story writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1949. He is recognized as one of the greatest American writers. His masterpieces include The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary, Light in August, The Hamlet, and The Reivers.

Biography

William Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi, on September 25, 1897. His family was rooted in local history: his great-grandfather, a Confederate colonel and state politician, was assassinated by a former partner in 1889, and his grandfather was a wealth lawyer who owned a railroad. When Faulkner was five his parents moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where he received a desultory education in local schools, dropping out of high school in 1915. Rejected for pilot training in the U.S. Army, he passed himself off as British and joined the Canadian Royal Air Force in 1918, but the war ended before he saw any service. After the war, he took some classes at the University of Mississippi and worked for a time at the university post office. Mostly, however, he educated himself by reading promiscuously.

Faulkner had begun writing poems when he was a schoolboy, and in 1924 he published a poetry collection, The Marble Faun, at his own expense. His literary aspirations were fueled by his close friendship with Sherwood Anderson, whom he met during a stay in New Orleans. Faulkner's first novel, Soldier's Pay, was published in 1926, followed a year later by Mosquitoes, a literary satire. His next book, Flags in the Dust, was heavily cut and rearranged at the publisher's insistence and appeared finally as Sartoris in 1929. In the meantime he had completed The Sound and the Fury, and when it appeared at the end of 1929 he had finished Sanctuary and was ready to begin writing As I Lay Dying. That same year he married Estelle Oldham, whom he had courted a decade earlier.

Although Faulkner gained literary acclaim from these and subsequent novels -- Light in August (1932), Pylon (1935), Absalom, Absalom! (1936), The Unvanquished (1938), The Wild Palms (1939), The Hamlet (1940), and Go Down, Moses (1942) -- and continued to publish stories regularly in magazines, he was unable to support himself solely by writing fiction. he worked as a screenwriter for MGM, Twentieth Century-Fox, and Warner Brothers, forming a close relationship with director Howard Hawks, with whom he worked on To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, and Land of the Pharaohs, among other films. In 1944 all but one of Faulkner's novels were out of print, and his personal life was at low ebb due in part to his chronic heavy drinking. During the war he had been discovered by Sartre and Camus and others in the French literary world. In the postwar period his reputation rebounded, as Malcolm Cowley's anthology The Portable Faulkner brought him fresh attention in America, and the immense esteem in which he was held in Europe consolidated his worldwide stature.

Faulkner wrote seventeen books set in the mythical Yoknapatawpha County, home of the Compson family in The Sound and the Fury. "No land in all fiction lives more vividly in its physical presence than this county of Faulkner's imagination," Robert Penn Warren wrote in an essay on Cowley's anthology. "The descendants of the old families, the descendants of bushwhackers and carpetbaggers, the swamp rats, the Negro cooks and farm hands, the bootleggers and gangsters, tenant farmers, college boys, county-seat lawyers, country storekeepers, peddlers--all are here in their fullness of life and their complicated interrelations." In 1950, Faulkner traveled to Sweden to accept the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature. In later books--Intruder in the Dust (1948), Requiem for a Nun (1951), A Fable (1954), The Town (1957), The Mansion (1959), and The Reivers (1962) -- he continued to explore what he had called "the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself," but did so in the context of Yoknapatawpha's increasing connection with the modern world. He died of a heart attack on July 6, 1962.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

Good To Know

William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text

The publisher, Harrison Smith, received Faulkner's typescript for As I Lay Dying in January 1930 and published it with very few editorial changes on October 6, 1930. That text remained the same through various reprints until 1964 when Random House brought out a new edition that was corrected in accordance with the original manuscript and typescript. For the "corrected text" shown here, scholar Noel Polk used Faulkner's own ribbon typescript setting copy, corrected to account for his revisions in proof, his typing errors, and other clear inconsistencies and mistakes.

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    1. Also Known As:
      William Cuthbert Falkner (real name)
      William Faulkner
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 25, 1897
    2. Place of Birth:
      New Albany, Mississippi
    1. Date of Death:
      July 6, 1962
    2. Place of Death:
      Byhalia, Mississippi

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2001

    Faulkner Classic

    This is the first Faulkner novel that I have read. This is a great novel for people that have never read a faulkner. I felt that I really got into the character of Popeye. You really begin understand the way of life in the south early 1900's.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2012

    i thought it was pretty interesting.it was the first faulkner no

    i thought it was pretty interesting.it was the first faulkner novel i'd ever read, and i have to say, it's not as enigmatic as i thought it would be, which is not to say that there weren't times when i was confused, or even outright frustrated, but it was nothing that re-reading a few passages couldn't fix. i did find it to be brutal and even sad in a perverse way, but the thing that i liked the most was faulkner's use of language; it can be downright beautiful, flowing, poetic in a way that modern writers just don't do anymore. i did like the book quite a bit and am looking forward to reading another faulkner novel, but if you've never read faulkner, it wouldn't hurt to read up a bit on the book before hand, maybe get some background. if you're interested.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2003

    A serbian review

    Although English is not my native language, I discovered a hole new world in William Faulkner. Sanctuary is one of his best works. Hot atmosphere of violence, and degenerative and perverse behaviour, altogether with his unic negation of every time process is fantastic.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2003

    Traditional south with a sordid twist

    Also my first submmersion into Faulkner. An intricately entagled tale of innocence lost and darkness found through mistakes of simplicity and brutal reality. Faulkner transplants you in the deep south so much that you can smell the humidity...a must read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2000

    An Unappreciated Classic

    By the time Popeye, the villain and protagonist, asks the hangman to fix his collar--the response: 'I'll fix it.'--you know you have witnessed a great American literary achievement on par with Flaubert. And the humor is truly unforgettable. Read it--read it--read it!

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    Posted September 22, 2009

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    Posted June 26, 2011

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