William Faulkner and the Southern Landscape

Title Details

Pages: 304

Illustrations: 61 b&w photos

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 05/01/2009

ISBN: 9-780-8203-3219-2

List Price: $36.95

William Faulkner and the Southern Landscape

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  • Description
  • Reviews
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Charles S. Aiken, a native of Mississippi who was born a few miles from Oxford, has been thinking and writing about the geography of Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County for more than thirty years. William Faulkner and the Southern Landscape is the culmination of that long-term scholarly project. It is a fresh approach to a much-studied writer and a provocative meditation on the relationship between literary imagination and place.

Four main geographical questions shape Aiken's journey to the family seat of the Compsons and the Snopeses. What patterns and techniques did Faulkner use—consciously or subconsciously—to convert the real geography of Lafayette County into a fictional space? Did Faulkner intend Yoknapatawpha to serve as a microcosm of the American South? In what ways does the historical geography of Faulkner's birthplace correspond to that of the fictional world he created? Finally, what geographic legacy has Faulkner left us through the fourteen novels he set in Yoknapatawpha?

With an approach, methodology, and sources primarily derived from historical geography, Aiken takes the reader on a tour of Faulkner's real and imagined worlds. The result is an informed reading of Faulkner's life and work and a refined understanding of the relation of literary worlds to the real places that inspire them.

William Faulkner and the Southern Landscape quite successfully provides a rich, thorough, and nuanced geographical context for the work that Faulkner did in his lifetime, transforming Oxford and Lafayette County into the fictional Jefferson and Yoknapatawpha County. Charles Aiken, a Mississippian, has spent a lifetime thinking about this area, watching it change. He has written a highly original contribution to the field.

—Joseph R. Urgo, author of In the Age of Distraction

William Faulkner and the Southern Landscape is a real contribution to Faulkner studies, Southern studies, American studies, and cultural geography. It's a book one doesn't want to put down, because Aiken is always showing us something from a perspective we have not had before.

—Thomas L. McHaney, author of Literary Masters: William Faulkner

Simultaneously an excellent cultural-historical geography of Mississippi and the South and perhaps the most grounded literary analysis of the work of Faulkner yet published.

Journal of Historical Geography

Geographer Charles Aiken’s William Faulkner and the Southern Landscape is an in-depth study of the parallels and divergences of the north Mississippi of William Faulkner’s fiction and its real-world geographical counterpart.

—John C. Finn, AAG Review of Books


Fred Kniffen Book Award, Pioneer America Society

About the Author/Editor

CHARLES S. AIKEN is a professor of geography at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is the author of The Cotton Plantation South since the Civil War, winner of the J. B. Jackson Prize from the Association of American Geographers.