William Faulkner

First Encounters

Cleanth Brooks

View Inside Price: $26.00


September 10, 1985
242 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
ISBN: 9780300033991
Paper

In this clear-sighted and enjoyable book, Cleanth Brooks, acknowledged to be "the best critic of our best novelist," introduces the general reader to Faulkner's most important novels and stories: The Sound and the Fury; As I lay Dying; The Hamlet; Go Down, Moses; Light in August; and Absalom, Absalom!  Brooks focuses on theme, character, and plot as well as on Faulkner's world—the fictional Yoknapatawpha County that provides a unique setting for Faulkner's tragicomic vision. 

"Those new to Faulkner could not ask for a better guide to the canon."—Library Journal

"No book on Faulkner that I have yet seen can equal it in accomplishing what it sets out to do. You read Faulkner's best work with Brooks' new book in hand and you'll not only understand the novels and stories, you'll appreciate them."—Alvin V. Sizer, New Haven Register

"Without hesitation, I would endorse Cleanth Brooks' new book as the finest introduction to the major works of William Faulkner I've read, a cohesive, connected distillation of a lifetime of rigorous, perceptive scholarship. . . . An indispensable guide."—William W. Starr, The State (Columbia, S.C.)

"[Brooks] provides the keys to [Faulkner's] kingdom."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World

"The mix of plot summary and exegesis will help readers get their bearings—especially in sorting out the various time jumps that occur throughout Faulkner's fiction. Recommended as a useful primer."—Booklist

"Brooks, the most recognized modern scholar in Southern literature, here provides a simple, lucid, and lively introduction to the major works of William Faulkner. . . . This is a rare example of a complex mind full of subtle knowledge choosing to make difficult experiences simple in order to help beginners."—Choice

"A good and useful guide. Follow Brooks and you won't go wrong."—The Virginia Quarterly Review

"Mr. Brooks's method seems simple—a straightforward retelling of plot—but it is, in fact, a masterful distillation of complex plot and contradictory character. Typically, Mr. Brooks concludes his riveting summaries with refreshingly direct and candid statement of the universal themes toward which, or around which, the plot has been moving."—Barbara Fisher Williamson, The New York Times Book Review

"Illuminates the magnitude of Faulkner without intimidating or exhausting the novice. For the experienced reader it is a further distillation of the essential Faulkner, the base from which the remainder of the canon is to be explored. that Brooks accomplishes these ends in so brief a span is a measure of the brilliance of this book and proof of the selections to their purpose. For these reasons, First Encounters should be at the hand of every specialist as well as in the hands of the new reader."—Jack L. Capps, American Literature

"Here at last is a book to recommend to beginning students of William Faulkner and to present-day general readers who are fearful of confronting Faulkner's stylistic complexities unassisted. . . . This distillation of Brooks' critical thinking for the benefit of those who are just starting to read Faulkner is serviceable as well as highly readable and is recommended for both novices and experts."—Ilse Dusoir Lind, Studies in American Literature

"Brooks writes as a mature, knowledgeable critic with a justly celebrated awareness of Southern history and society. . . . As a basic text for undergraduates the book is first-class. For established ’Faulknerians’ there is the pleasure of refamiliarization in a lucid, unostentatious style. For publishers there is a salutary reminder of what an introductory study should be like."—Ian Jackson, Notes and Queries


"Brooks is a thorough scholar as well as a perceptive critic, and his book is the most valuable study of Faulkner's writing that has appeared."—Saturday Review (on the earlier edition)

"Should send many new readers to Faulkner equipped with advantages their forerunner could not have; and enable old readers to take him up again with deeper understanding."—The Times, London (on the earlier edition)

Winner of the 1979 Explicator Award for the best book of explication in the field of English or American literature