If I forget thee, reader …

I never intended to write a blog post, but this is a personal blog as well as an anime blog, and I believe I have something to say.

I didn’t really want to write here: I initially planned to write a review on Amazon about Absalom, Absalom!, the novel I just finished reading, but they had a new policy disallowing reviews unless people bought from them. For shame. I know that for many people Faulkner is difficult: he’s very difficult for me, too. I think I possess, however, something that most people do not have when it comes to reading: I have patience (yet also haste). The Sound and the Fury took me four tries to finish, but I finally did complete it. Absalom, Absalom! was the same experience.

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I’ll just be posting the cool book covers

It was about a year or two ago when I tried reading Absalom, Absalom! – I had just finished The Sound and the Fury and I had this cockiness and inebriation that accompanies a notable accomplishment. I was unable to finish it of course, because Faulkner cannot be read when one has other things on his mind. He writes in a circuitous, serpentine fashion that one must have immense concentration on his works to somewhat understand it. I vowed to read it once more when I could purchase the book for myself: that time arrived the previous week, and I no longer had classes since Saturday so I started reading it once more. I vowed to finish it without dallying around, and so I did just a few minutes ago: I postponed everything, including my deserved anime marathons just so I could finish it, and I finally did.

Part of me wanted a challenge; part of me wanted that praise that one gives oneself if he’s done something admirable; and part of me is just elitist especially with regard to literature: I read classics not only because they’re classic, but they must have done something to be called so. Absalom, Absalom! seemed to fulfill all those desires of mine, and so I gave it a try.

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I was blown away. At its first pages his electric diction and lengthy sentences amazed me (unlike some fakers out there) to the extent of me wanting to sleep with his brain (as Daniel can attest). It waned down, however, because just as too much beer gets you drunk, too much length becomes soporific. I abstained from the novel for a few days and decided to build up my mental fortitude before finally trying to finish it, and this is what I exactly did. I read ‘quickly,’ reading all but sixty pages of the novel these past two days, because you can never be truly speedy or fast with Faulkner.

I wrote this blog post because I simply wanted to talk about Faulkner. While I very well know this won’t invite comments and will probably have people accusing me of being pretentious, Faulkner did win the Nobel Prize and I know it’s not only me who appreciates what he wrote. He may have written in a manner difficult to most readers, but this difficulty is one of the things that elate people who finally complete any of his works with plodding and trudging through his complex styles.

I love how he prefaced all of those time-skips that are found right now in cinemas and even anime. I love how he introduced to readers another way of appreciating literature: I believe he was one of the fathers (if not the father) of the idea of the reader as an active participant: the reader as puzzle-solver, not the reader as passive observer. While some people, like Raymond Queneau involved their readers a lot more, Faulkner was the intermediary between those who wrote to sate their readers and those who wrote merely for themselves. He is understandable as long as people give substantial effort in deciphering his works, and it is this code-breaking that makes reading him all the more worthwhile. (There is little pleasure in re-reading him, however, once one has pieced through his intricate plots.)

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Here’s the version I read

Reading Absalom, Absalom! like his other novels is an experience. It is very easy to drop any of Faulkner’s works, because they are difficult. However, it doesn’t really do well to spoil oneself – much more can be gleaned from experiencing the pain of peeling through the onion because the eureka moment then becomes a lot more rewarding.

I’m done. Thank you for reading.

P.S. I really want to know, and I’ve posted somewhere, but even they ignored me: if you’ve ever read Faulkner, which do you think is his greatest masterpiece: The Sound and the Fury, or Absalom, Absalom!? I think The Sound and the Fury blazed a trail and had a greater effect on the world of literature, but I’d appreciate for other answers. 🙂

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24 Responses to “If I forget thee, reader …”

  1. Baka-Raptor Says:

    Get thee to a nunnery.

  2. korosora Says:

    Baka-Raptor never stops!

    I tried reading The Sound and the Fury, but was distracted. Or I just gave up.

  3. Musings in Anime Music Part 4: Kaiba, You’ve Done Well « “Lelangiric”, or so they say… Says:

    […] as Mike feels like a pimp after finishing Absalom, Absalom!, I’m feeling it (sort of…) after finishing transcribing this entire damn song (TV […]

  4. Michael Says:

    What is with ‘Get thee to a nunnery?’

  5. Baka-Raptor Says:

    It’s only the best line in Hamlet.

  6. Michael Says:

    Yeah, but …

    What is with celibacy and me? ARE YOU IMPLYING I BE CELIBATE?

    Seriously, though, I’m thinking about that myself.

  7. Nagato Says:

    MOAR SHAKESPEARIAN QUOTES:
    Do you bite your thumb at me sir?
    No, I do not bite my thumb at you, but I do bite my thumb, sir.

  8. IKnight Says:

    ‘Get the to a nunnery’ is also a slur on your masculinity, of course. Except that in Shakespeare’s day it was could also be used as a slang term for a brothel. Confusing, and I’m sure Ophelia would agree.

    Faulkner’s masterpiece is, of course, The Sound and the Fury, beause of the two it’s the only one I’ve read.

    I’d be careful before saying he’s the father of the idea of the reader-as-participant, though. Frequently something that seems new was first done by a poet a thousand years ago, or at least so I think to justify my reading habits.

  9. Michael Says:

    Nagato:

    OH I SEE IT NOW

    korosora:

    It’s a bad thing to be distracted, especially with Faulkner.

    Baka-Raptor:

    SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

  10. Ryan A Says:

    You know, I recall purchasing 3 Faulkner novels, but also recall I ended up wrapping them as a gift for my brother… lol. I should look into that and borrow them back.

    meh, library tomorrow or the next day ^^

  11. Baka-Raptor Says:

    I tried to post “Get thee to a nunnery” again, but WordPress wouldn’t let me post a duplicate comment. Now that my comedic timing has been ruined, I shall reveal all.

    Lolikit was trying to turn you into a troll in the last post. In order to protect your purity, I suggested you get to a nunnery. Also, lolikit belongs in that other kind of nunnery.

  12. Michael Says:

    RyanA:

    Ah, I think those novels are The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, and As I Lay Dying. I wonder why those are the packaged books, but they’re the ones recommended by Oprah, haha.

    Baka-Raptor:

    Ah, I see. Now it just got funnier. Hahaha, ‘the other kind of nunnery.’ hahaha

  13. Ryan A Says:

    lol ‘other kind of nunnery’ golden

    Yeah, I believe that was it Mike. Wherever it may be, I hope someone is reading it >.>

  14. Roger Says:

    After death the doctor,

  15. Laurence Says:

    Pretty much not much going on worth mentioning. I can’t be bothered with anything recently. Maybe tomorrow. That’s how it is.,

  16. supergothgirl Says:

    TO BE OR NOT TO BE hehehe i luv sayin that!!

  17. Barclay Says:

    well i’ve not read absalom, absalom. But I am reading the sound and the fury which i know is your favorite. Once you get past the Benjy section it becomes easier to me at least. Perhaps i’ll check it out after i finish the sound and the fury

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