Faulkner and Film

Faulkner and Film

Peter Lurie
Ann J. Abadie
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 272
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    Faulkner and Film
    Book Description:

    Considering that he worked a stint as a screen writer, it will come as little surprise that Faulkner has often been called the most cinematic of novelists. Faulkner's novels were produced in the same high period as the films of classical Hollywood, a reason itself for considering his work alongside this dominant form. Beyond their era, though, Faulkner's novels--or the ways in which they ask readers to see as well as feel his world--have much in common with film. That Faulkner was aware of film and that his novels' own "thinking" betrays his profound sense of the medium and its effects broadens the contexts in which he can be considered.

    In a range of approaches, the contributors consider Faulkner's career as a scenarist and collaborator in Hollywood, the ways his screenplay work and the adaptations of his fiction informed his literary writing, and how Faulkner's craft anticipates, intersects with, or reflects upon changes in cultural history across the lifespan of cinema.

    Drawing on film history, critical theory, archival studies of Faulkner's screenplays and scholarship about his work in Hollywood, the nine essays show a keen awareness of literary modernism and its relation to film.

    eISBN: 978-1-62674-058-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xxxi)
    Peter Lurie

    The most arresting moment inAbsalom, Absalom!, literally and figuratively, is when Clytie blocks Rosa Coldfield on the Sutpen’s Hundred stairs. The moment is unique in the novel for several reasons, standing as it does as one of its few instances of actual physical contact, but also for the significance to Rosa of its interracial aspect. Moreover it encompasses a broad thematic concern at the heart of the novel—indeed, in all of Faulkner’s South. Such a touching as Clytie’s is clearly an affront, and Rosa’s outraged response—“Take your hand off me, nigger!”—states openly thoughts that characters like...

  4. Note on the Conference
    (pp. xxxii-2)
  5. Faulkner and Hollywood: A Call for Reassessment
    (pp. 3-25)
    Robert W. Hamblin

    I begin with a few quotations.² You’ll easily recognize the source.

    “I was born of a Negro slave and an alligator, both named Gladys Rock. I had two brothers, one Dr. Walter E. Traprock and the other Eagle Rock, an airplane.”

    “I would have liked for you to have had my dog-tag, R.A.F., but I lost it in Europe, in Germany. I think the Gestapo has it. I am very likely on their records right now as a dead British flying officer-spy.”

    “But if it came to fighting I’d fight for Mississippi against the United States even if it meant...

  6. Images of Collaboration: William Faulkner’s Motion Picture Communities
    (pp. 26-46)
    Robert Jackson

    The script girl Meta Carpenter, who worked for Howard Hawks at Twentieth Century-Fox when she first met William Faulkner in 1935, was placed in as good a position as anyone to understand how movies were made in Hollywood.¹ After her experience onBarbary Coast(1935), the film Hawks directed immediately before hiring Faulkner, Carpenter realized, she later wrote, “that Howard Hawks never filmed a screenplay as written.” She tried to explain this to Faulkner, recalling their exchange in her 1976 memoir:

    “But you know that, don’t you, Bill?” I asked. “And if you don’t, you should.”

    “I don’t look for...

  7. Immemorial Cinema: Film, Travel, and Faulkner’s Poetics of Space
    (pp. 47-70)
    Aaron Nyerges

    David Trotter’s bookCinema and Modernismpoints in a promising direction for Faulkner and film studies. What Trotter nominates as “argument by analogy” has, until now, provided scholars with a choice method for comparing Faulkner’s fiction to the substance, grammar, and philosophy of film. This line of argument follows from the supposition that writing might be “structured like a film.” It therefore maintains that the techniques of narrative cinema (such as montage, close-ups, fade-outs, deep focus, parallel editing) transfer, both by influence and analogy, into the linguistic constructions of modernist literature. Trotter suggests, however, not that we abandon this approach,...

  8. Demystifying the Modern Mammy in Requiem for a Nun
    (pp. 71-97)
    Deborah Barker

    As this collection demonstrates, there are myriad ways to approach Faulkner and film. Perhaps two of the most typical approaches are examining the influence of cinema and screenwriting on Faulkner’s fiction or analyzing the filmic adaptations of Faulkner’s works. While these two approaches are often used independently, I will combine them to explore how the filmic adaptations of Faulkner’s works might have influenced his future novels; specifically I will address howThe Story of Temple Drake(1933), the Hollywood adaptation ofSanctuary, may have influenced Faulkner’s own 1951 sequel toSanctuary, entitledRequiem for a Nun. Although almost any reading...

  9. Faulkner and the Masses: A Hollywood Fable
    (pp. 98-119)
    Stefan Solomon

    Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini, in a 1965 essay, suggests that the screenplay is not a freestanding object of inquiry, but that, in its bid to reach the silver screen, is instead a “structure that wants to be another structure.” Rather than trying to redeem the screenplay from its role as intermedial waypoint, Pasolini situates it realistically as an entity with pretensions to visual realization and commercial development, as one node in a media ecology that, despite critical attempts to detach it, is nevertheless connected to other forms and other media. According to Pasolini, we can never interpret the screenplay...

  10. Oprah’s Faulkner
    (pp. 120-145)
    Riché Richardson

    In the contemporary era, the Oprah Book Club has stood at the forefront in promoting an interest in reading groups and book clubs in the national arena.¹ Given the profits that it brought to the publishing industry and its proven power to promote established authors and make new authors overnight successes once it was established in 1996, the announcement in 2002 that Oprah’s Book Club would be ending was shocking and disappointing news for many. The decision to revive this enterprise in 2003 by no longer featuring contemporary authors but by emphasizing the “classics” in literature took the Oprah Book...

  11. In Phantom Pain: The 1991 Russian Film Adaptation of William Faulkner’s “The Leg”
    (pp. 146-168)
    Ivan Delazari

    “The Leg” is marginal in William Faulkner’s oeuvre. Written in the midtwenties, rejected byScribner’sin 1928 and first published inDoctor Martino and Other Storiesin 1934, the short story was kind of smuggled by the author into the “Beyond” section ofCollected Stories of William Faulknerin 1950, but has also remained “beyond” the mainstream interest in Faulkner. And yet this is the only Faulkner text so far that has been made into a film by the Russians.

    Released in 1991,Noga(нога—the Russian word for “leg”), which is explicitly based upon the short story, shifts the...

  12. Faulkner and “The Man with the Megaphone”: The Redemption of Genre and the Transfiguration of Trash in If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem
    (pp. 169-196)
    Phil Smith

    In William Faulkner’s 1939 double feature of a novelIf I Forget Thee, Jerusalem, a number of images span the two independent and alternating stories of “Wild Palms” and “Old Man,” images such as mass market magazines, Parchman Farm prison, deer, and perhaps most strikingly that of “the man with a megaphone.”¹ In terms of the actual narratives, the man with a megaphone is in the former story the emcee of a Depression-era dance marathon and in the latter a captain of a riverboat full of refugees from a flood; in both instances he is presented as a figure of...

  13. Faulkner in the Histories of Film: “Where Memory Is the Slave”
    (pp. 197-219)
    Julian Murphet

    In the thirty-two years since the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference last organized itself around the theme of Faulkner and film, each term of the conjunction has undergone significant transformation. No doubt Faulkner himself has changed, and it would be arguable that 1977–78 signaled a watershed in the intellectual construction of this author, a transition point between two Faulknerian paradigms—between that august high modernist whom Cleanth Brooks and Malcolm Cowley had lovingly burnished over twenty years, and the twisted, implicated figure we have had ever since, whose ineluctable participation in popular cultural forces and ideologies Leslie Fiedler was only...

  14. Contributors
    (pp. 220-222)
  15. Index
    (pp. 223-233)