Promoting, supporting and encouraging the study of the United States since 1955

British Association for American Studies


Issue 18, Spring 2011: Article 1


Issue 18, Spring 2011: Article 1




© James Harding. All Rights Reserved.

The present paper runs together—and by so doing seeks to complicate—two putatively ‘regional’ modernisms: William Faulkner and John Dos Passos. Historically contemporaneous, yet geographically removed, Faulkner and Dos Passos rarely meet in critical discussions of modernist practice. The former, often narrowly situated as an agrarian modern and rooted to the soil of the South is, it seems, incompatible as a reference point to the latter, who remains construed as fluent in the forms and syntax of American modernity and urban America. Notwithstanding the regional estrangement that keeps Faulkner and Dos Passos apart in the critical tradition, both, as I seek to show in the coming discussions, share a desire to mythologize two historically, culturally and aesthetically divergent American regions: the postbellum South and modernist New York. These two regional projects are worth considering jointly because they provide the means of contesting underlying assumptions with regard to American regional specificity.

I begin with Faulkner. While Faulkner remained emotionally tethered to the South, he was not a writer that, in Waldo Frank’s phrasing, ‘stayed at home’.[1] In fact, Faulkner made numerous journeys away from Mississippi during his lifetime, travelling, amongst other places to Canada (1918), Switzerland (1925; 1953), Greece (1957), Brazil (1954), Japan (1955), Sweden (1950), Egypt (1954), Venezuela (1961), Iceland (1955) and the Philippines (1955). An infamous—and supposedly reluctant—visit to Norway at the behest of the Nobel Committee in 1950 has been widely discussed;[2] his three trips to England (1925; 1952; 1954), a country that he frostily tagged ‘the Siberia of the mind’,[3] in addition to the three to Italy (1925; 1953; 1954) and the visits, as least four in number, to France (1925; 1952; 1953; 1954) are less well documented. France, I argue here, would hold a particular ‘fascination’ for Faulkner, especially through the twenties. In addition to this international journeying, Faulkner travelled frequently, if not extensively, within the United States. A ten-week sojourn to Connecticut in 1918 with Phil Stone was Faulkner’s first extended trip away from Mississippi,[4] yet it would not be the last trip from the South. Six productive and happy months followed in New Orleans in 1925. During the thirties, Faulkner would make frequent trips to New York; in the forties and fifties Faulkner travelled frequently between Oxford, Mississippi and Hollywood, California. Many of these relocations were undertaken begrudgingly, some less so, as Faulkner’s serial womanising copiously exemplifies. Whatever the motivation, these numerous journeys away from the South, at least twenty-five in number, altered the contours of the geographic ‘cosmos’ that Faulkner famously called his own.

In addition—and usefully, for present purposes—these relocations also allow us to redefine the contours of a critical tradition in dire need of realignment. Despite the recent exertions of colonial and hemispheric scholarship[5] to re-map Faulknerian territory and place the prose works within a transnational context, the prevailing scholarly tendency continues to read Faulkner as a static and essentially parochial writer.[6] In themselves part of a territorial dispute to wrestle ‘Faulkner’ back into the ‘Southern’ context, these claims to regional specificity—claims, in short, to ‘southernness’—are ideologically landlocked; narrowly conceived as a ‘regional’, modern Faulkner is rendered emblematic of Southern cultural and economic stagnation. ‘Faulkner’ becomes the ‘vessel’ within which the supposed ‘exceptionalism’ of the American South—an imperilled category of reference, often unconvincingly argued—might congeal. The metaphoricity of ‘Faulkner’ is indeed appealing, yet the substitution that it supposes dislodges a properly historical appreciation of a difficultly situated modernism. Faulkner, of course, is partly to blame for the sedentary labelling. Having famously claimed in 1927 to have ‘shut the door’ on his readers, his publisher, and by extension, on the society that would come to fete his literary achievements, Faulkner created, and subsequently ‘privatised’ a mythic ‘space’ within which his fictional materials could receive articulation.[7]

Yet to a significant degree, Faulkner’s South is inflected from without. ‘There is’, as Faulkner would write from New Orleans in early April 1925, ‘too much in the world to see, to spend all the time between four walls’.[8] That Faulkner’s fictions bear, as I think they do, the imprimatur of international modernisms is not to relegate the American South to the periphery. Any attempt to unpack the semantic densities that subtend Faulkner’s prose must be attuned to the social, economic and racial formations that, whilst not exceptional to the American South, would haunt the stories that the South would use to tell about itself (and conceivably, the stories that it would refuse to tell).[9] The fundamental principles that underpinned the logic of Southern means of production—first slavery, and then debt peonage at its centre— must be critically accounted for if one hopes to mount a properly historicised account of Faulknerian textual practice. Eric Sundquist is quite right in his assertion that Faulkner’s work engages with ‘the single most agonizing experience of his region and his nation: the crisis and long aftermath of American slavery’.[10] The ‘South’, then, and specifically its economic underpinnings, occupies the centre of Faulkner’s prose fiction. By failing to place the periphery, however, the centre cannot hold. The American South and continental Europe—specifically France—sustain a productive and conceivably dialectic connection in Faulkner. Thus, and in the idiom of the Marxist linguist Valentin Volosinov, geography becomes a ‘semantic context’ that engenders contradictions. For Volosinov, ‘semantic contexts do not stand side by side in a row, as if unaware of one another, but are in a state of constant tension, or incessant interaction and conflict’.[11] The text that carries European inflections most significantly is, I would suggest, Sanctuary (1931), a story of the rape of a seventeen-year-old virgin, Temple Drake, with a corn-cob, in a disused barn at the appropriately named ‘Frenchman’s bend’. The regional, and by implication ‘semantic’ conflict central to Sanctuary is sustained, I argue, between Paris and Mississippi. While ‘place’, then, is key to Faulkner and indeed occupies the foreground of his literary productions, this foreground is itself foregrounded by his evoking of the periphery. To scramble Hamlet’s wording, the place is out of joint.

Faulkner in Paris, 1925

Writing home to his mother Maud from Paris in the autumn of 1925, William Faulkner provides encouraging news from the continent. In the letter, postmarked September 6, Faulkner insinuates that he had hit a sort of literary jackpot:

I have just written such a beautiful thing that I am about to bust—2000 words about the Luxembourg gardens and death. It has a thin thread of plot, about a young woman, and it is poetry though written in prose form. I have worked on it for two whole days and every word is perfect. I haven’t slept hardly for two nights, thinking about it, comparing words, accepting and rejecting them, then changing again. But now it is perfect —a jewel. I am going to put it away for a week, then show it to someone for an opinion. So tomorrow I will wake up feeling rotten, I expect. Reaction. But its [sic] worth it, to have done a thing like this.[12]

Small, but perfectly formed, the ‘jewel’ to which this jubilant letter refers marks a germinal moment in Faulkner’s compositional chronology. Faulkner himself seemed taken aback by the magnificence of his own creation. The sense of disbelief would linger; four days later, Faulkner writes that the Parisian story was ‘[s]o beautiful that when I finished it I went to look at myself in a mirror. And I thought, Did that ugly ratty-looking face, that mixture of childishness and unreliability and sublime vanity, imagine that? But I did’.[13] The ‘thing’ over which Faulkner intently pored denoted his inaugural investment in a protracted compositional process that would, six years later, yield a novel. Inasmuch as it occasions Faulkner’s first thoughts on what would become his sixth novel, then, this extract, composed from his apartment which overlooked the Luxembourg gardens and detailing his observances of children playing in the park, marks a kind of literary beginning.[14] In due course, this ‘beginning’ would mark an ‘end’, however, providing the climax to the published Sanctuary. The final line of the novel, as published in 1931, runs thus:

She closed the compact and from beneath her smart new hat she seemed to follow with her eyes the waves of music, to dissolve into the dying brasses, across the pool and the opposite semicircle of trees where at sombre intervals the dead tranquil queens in stained marble mused, and on into the sky laying prone and vanquished in the embrace of the season of rain and death.[15]

The ‘she’ connotes Temple Drake; the passage is the remainder of an original prose passage ‘about a young woman’ who frequents ‘the Luxembourg gardens’ that Faulkner conceived in Paris five years earlier. The point is this: despite the many revisions that Faulkner made to his manuscript, Paris—and more specifically the ‘region’ within the perimeter walls of the Luxembourg gardens—provides the setting and the inspiration for what would later rank as Faulkner’s most notorious, most popular, and some might say most American novel. The Luxembourg gardens were the nucleus for Faulkner’s French activity and the location that occasioned the creative middle of Sanctuary. It proved, to prompt a coming term, to be the Vortex, ‘the point of maximum energy’.[16] As it turned out, these 2000 words, categorically French, which Faulkner immodestly rated ‘the most beautiful short story in the world’ would be put away for considerably more than ‘a week’.[17] Faulkner in fact shelved his Parisian ‘jewel’ until at least January 1929, at which point he would labour, ‘at white heat’ in Noel Polk’s term, for almost five months, to turn ‘story’ into ‘novel’.[18] Come 1930, after the completion of As I Lay Dying in February, Faulkner laboured again—this time at great personal expense—to turn his rejected and potentially court case-inducing set of galleys into a publishable text. It is perhaps unsurprising that in the course of composition, drafting, submission, refusal and extensive revisions, much of the ‘French’ story got lost. When Sanctuary materialised as a novel, in February 1931, the 2000 ‘French’ words translated as 345 ‘American’ words, which Faulkner appended as a delirious and floating final scene. Despite the five-year lag between the composition of the ‘French’ short story and its articulation in an ‘American’ novel, despite two types of re-situation—textual and national—and despite the rigorous pruning, in which ‘France’ virtually ‘disappears’ or is ‘rejected’ from the textual body, Faulkner transplants Paris, France, albeit partially and awkwardly, into the soil of Jefferson, Mississippi. Residual traces of the earlier French composition can nevertheless be detected throughout the published Sanctuary.

I would like to attend, briefly, to a moment in the 1931 novel in which France ‘repeats’ on Faulkner; it (France) ‘re-emerges’, reconstituted, so to speak, within the context of Sanctuary. Faulkner’s lucubration in Paris triggers an analogous outpouring in Jefferson, Mississippi: ‘Reaction’. Having ingested a strong black coffee on a recent train journey, Horace Benbow, attorney at law and ambivalent guardian of southern moral codes,

knew what that sensation in his stomach meant. He put the photograph [of his step daughter Little Belle] down hurriedly and went to the bathroom. He       opened the door running and fumbled at the light. But he had not time to find it and he gave over and plunged forward and struck the lavatory and leaned      upon his braced arms while the shucks set up a terrific roar beneath her thighs. Lying with her head lifted slightly, her chin depressed like a figure lifted down from a crucifix, she watched something black and furious go roaring out of her pale body. She was bound naked on her back on a flat car moving at speed through a black tunnel, the blackness streaming in rigid threads overhead, a roar of iron wheels in her ears. The car shot bodily from the tunnel in a long upward slant, the darkness overhead now shredded with parallel attenuations of living fire, toward a crescendo like a held breath, an interval in which she would swing faintly and lazily in nothingness filled with pale, myriad points of light. Far beneath her she could hear the faint, furious uproar of the shucks.[19]

Horace’s vomiting evokes the moment at which 2000 words pour from—or ‘bust’ out of—the Faulknerian imagination in France in the autumn of 1925. Horace’s physical emission, set in train by Temple’s (re)telling of her rape and brought to a climax by a seamy and highly problematic visualisation of Little Belle, is a narrative re-enactment of Faulkner’s literary emission, described in enthusiastic terms to Maud Falkner [so spelt] which occurs as Faulkner, perhaps like Benbow, running and fumbl[ing]’ to his room, inspired by sights within the Jardin de Luxembourg and desperate to ‘plung[e] forward’ or ‘pour forth’ at his typewriter, to ‘vomit’ his words onto the page. Certainly, Faulkner’s reviewers concurred with Faulkner’s assessment as to Sanctuary’s putrid subject matter: ‘I thought of the most horrific thing I could think of and wrote it’, Faulkner famously noted, in 1957.[20] The topoi between Faulkner’s apartment and Benbow’s bathroom are striking in their similarity. The second passage is a re-placement of the first. Apartment room and bathroom elide: Paris is Mississippied. These passages, in effect, bring Parisian apartment and Mississippian toilet into a reciprocal relation.

The vomit that issues from Benbow’s mouth, sufficiently blackened by ‘coffee’ to racialise the act, is shortly, and problematically, attributed to Temple. Shifting, without warning, from the masculine personal pronoun, ‘he’ to the feminine ‘she’, Faulkner’s syntax brings Horace’s mouth and Temple’s vagina into congress. Where one hole ends, another begins. The job of both of these outlets is, I suggest, to spew out the ‘black stuff’.[21] As Faulkner puts it, Temple ‘watched something black and furious go roaring out of her pale body’. As if one reference to vomiting up blackness was not enough to racialise Temple’s rape (or, better yet, racialise Horace’s desire to rape his step-daughter), the allusions continue. The ‘blackness streaming in rigid threads overhead’ is key in this connexion, taking us back to the sudden and keenly ejaculatory compositional process from which Faulkner’s French story emerged. Specifically, ‘rigid threads’ evokes what Faulkner describes as the ‘thin thread of plot’ that runs through his short story ‘about the Luxembourg gardens and death’. These two ‘threads’ may at first seem tenuously related, yet they achieve more substantial articulation if we relate them, briefly, to a narrative presence which threads through Faulkner’s short story and the passage cited from Sanctuary: Madame Bovary (1857). Faulkner not only read Flaubert’s novel in the early twenties but he reread it whilst he was in Paris in the summer of 1925.[22] Bovary and Temple are linked, in a material sense, by a trail – or ‘thin thread’ – of putrescence that issues, in the first instance, from Bovary’s mouth as a result of arsenic poisoning and, in the second, from the vagina of Temple as a result of a violent rape. Here, then, what Faulkner dubs ‘that black stuff that ran out of Bovary’s mouth and down upon her bridal veil when they lifted her head’ is thus re-imagined as the emergence of black matter from Temple’s vagina.[23] With her ‘her head lifted slightly’, from the crucifix, Temple is an inverted Bovary.

These two passages are not only united topographically (typewriter and toilet bowl elide) but they share an aesthetic reference, namely ‘Vorticism’. It is not difficult to detect Vorticist inflections within Horace’s exchange. Terms like ‘plunging’, ‘roared’ and ‘furious’ appropriate the dynamic energy of the vortex as defined by Pound, if not Vorticism itself, as practiced in London by Wyndham Lewis, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and David Bomburg. Temple’s body, throughout Sanctuary, seems at the mercy of Vorticist energies; manically animated, she shoots off at various angles, disappears into and through various holes, doorways, attic spaces; drawn into almost inconceivably contorted positions, Temple’s movement throughout the novel mimics the centrifugal logic of Vorticism. Indeed, Temple’s vagina is the vortex par excellence, the hole or Poundian ‘point’ to which the entirety of the action, and ultimately, Popeye’s corncob is drawn. Biographical evidence supports the claim that the vortex was in Faulkner’s mind through the composition of Sanctuary. Only three weeks before Faulkner wrote his 2000 words, he experienced Vorticism at first hand. In a letter dated the 18th of August, 1925, Faulkner tells his mother of the experience; the impact was immediate and it was lasting: ‘went to a very very modernist exhibition the other day—futurist and vorticist’.[24] In the immediate aftermath of this viewing of ‘futurist and vorticist’ material, which may—if it was vorticist—have been more than a dozen years old by 1925, Faulkner wrote a poem, based on his experience of French modernism, that was ‘so modern’ that even he professed not to know its meaning.[25] While striking in its enthusiasm regarding the ‘very very modernist’ exhibits of Paris that may or may not have been ‘new’ at all, the August letter does not denote Faulkner’s first reference to Vorticism, however. Faulkner references ‘the Vorticist schools’, in February 1925, in a short story, composed in New Orleans, entitled ‘Mirrors of Chartres Street’.[26]

I argue above, and with reference to a key early fiction, that Faulkner assimilates Paris, his ‘periphery’, into the context of the American South, his ‘centre’ ground. I propose, in a second set of arguments, to assess the relation between text and region in moments from Dos Passos’ travel writing and correspondence and, by so doing, plot a more fluid literary geography. Like Faulkner, Dos Passos scouts for useable material abroad, material that he subsequently incorporates back into the American Scene. Unlike Faulkner, who crammed much of his foreign travel into one or two digestible portions, Dos Passos would travel extensively, and often, spreading his international excursions over a much longer period. And, also unlike Faulkner, whose frequent letters home suggest an acute homesickness, Dos Passos’ letters and diaries demonstrate a coolness that is entirely absent in the various correspondences sent by Faulkner. Whereas Faulkner’s geographies congeal, or clot, to be hacked up at moments of intensity, Dos Passos’ geographies, and by extension his texts, seem constantly on the move; his prose works and travelogues, in fact, as literary articles, plot what he calls ‘[t]he idolization of action’.[27]

A number of critics have noted the ease with which Dos Passos crossed international borders. Dos Passos enjoyed what he would famously call a ‘hotel childhood’, yet this ‘peripatetic youth’, in Donald Pizer’s phrasing, led to an equally itinerant adulthood.[28] Dos Passos’ relation to America, and specifically, to New York, was beset by ambivalence. A diary entry of August 24, 1917, penned while in service in France, testifies to Dos Passos’ resentment toward the perceived duplicity of the national character: ‘[a]t present America is to me utter anathema—I can’t think of it without belching disgust at the noisiness of it, the meaningless chatter of its lying tongues.’[29] Dos Passos was convinced that ‘it will take generations to leaven the great stupid mass of America’;[30] specifically to liberate the nation ‘from under the crushing weight of industry’.[31]

While Dos Passos critiqued what Max Horkheimer might call the ‘massification’ of American productivity, he simultaneously drew upon these modes as the cultural capital for his later fictions, primarily, U.S.A. (1936).[32] Dos Passos, in short, was repelled and at the same time magnetised by the industrial aspect of American modernity. America might be what he called a ‘train throbbing to the heart of lead horizons’[33] but this throbbing was the effect of what he lustily termed: ‘vigor, force, modernity’.[34] Dos Passos’ foreign jaunts would remind him of the almost unfathomable magnetism of New York City. Replete with vorticist intonations, Dos Passos, whilst on board a ship off the coast of Damascus, would write that ‘we felt the suction of the great machine, the glint of whirring nickel, the shine of celluloid and enamel, the crackle of banknotes fingered in banks, the click and grinding of oiled wheels.’[35] The erotic inflections that subtend Dos Passos’ commentary should not go un-noted. The words ‘suction’, ‘fingered’, ‘grinding’ and ‘oiled’ are suggestively wrought; these terms invest the ‘great machine’ with a quasi-human voluptuousness.[36] Even the word ‘glint’—a reference to a blinding moment of ‘exposure’—generates a certain sexual static: ‘glint’ is part ‘wink’ part ‘grunt’. With an enticing wink and a primitive grunt (a grunt that, in turn, shoulders the semantic weighting of two corporeal exertions, sex and labour) the organs of industrial culture entice Dos Passos yet simultaneously assert a devastating, eroticised power. Tellingly, then, it was whilst Dos Passos was abroad that his thinking on American modes sharpened. Unlike Faulkner, who transplants Paris into Mississippi, Dos Passos projects New York onto Damascus. Another letter, this time from Paris, underscores this regional ambivalence. In June 1919, Dos Passos writes from Paris that

life in Europe in saner, healthier and happier than in America. I admit that America is more dear to me than Europe—probably its colossal hideousness, its febrile insanity are evolving towards a better life for man. But none of that’s to the point. The thing I object to is the mental attitude involved—And at this moment I can’t quite explain why I object to it.[37]

Dos Passos would remain unable to ‘explain’ his Poundian relation to the ‘colossal hideousness’ of American capitalism. As he confessed to Thomas P. Cope in 1920, ‘America has an unhallowed attraction for me’.[38] For Dos Passos, at the beginning of the twenties, ‘America’ meant ‘New York’. In September 1920, less than one month into what would become a three-and-a-half-year residence, Dos Passos writes to his French friend Germaine Lucas-Championnière, insisting that

New York—after all—is magnificent—a city of cavedwellers, with a frightful, brutal ugliness about it, full of thunderous voices of metal grinding on metal and of an eternal sound of wheels which turn, turn on heavy stones. People swarm meekly like ants along designated routes, crushed by the disdainful and pitiless things around them.[39]


New York struck Dos Passos as ‘magnifique’ but at the same time, like Baudelaire’s cité fourmillante, it was a codeword for submission, drudgery and uniformity. What Dos Passos had referred to as ‘the procession of industrialism’ in the late ‘teens, remained a significant source of discomfort at the beginning of the twenties.[40] Initially, New York had struck Dos Passos as ‘vapid and grimy […] silly and rather stupendous’.[41] Yet over the course of the next three years, Dos Passos became attuned to the harsh ‘angularities of New York’[42]—angularities that had, he previously claimed, made the city look ‘rather funny—like a badly drawn cartoon’.[43] By 1922, Dos Passos would describe New York as ‘grimy hectic and rather thrillingly gruff with springtime’.[44] The thrill would swiftly translate into a kind of ecstasy: ‘I’ve never liked this fantastic city so mucho questo paese sotta sopra [so much this country upside down]’, Dos Passos would chirrup gladly to McComb in April.[45] ‘I like its fearfulness better than ever’, he would follow, in May.[46] In fact, by March 1923 Dos would write ‘I have never been so happy in my life’.[47] Yet Dos Passos’ happiness would fail to mask his uncertainty toward the procedural logic of American capitalism; moreover, it would fail to keep him from making frequent journeys away from the United States. As Yoknapatawpha proved the centre of the Faulknerian universe, New York proves central for Dos Passos. Both literally and imaginatively, New York was, during the twenties, the place to which he would perennially return. Yet during the twenties, Dos Passos would constantly look into the ‘East’, toward Europe, as a means of ‘leavening’ the excesses that, for him, characterised American living. As he reports in 1927 of a journey taken through the ‘Red Caucuses’ in 1921 (his first trip to the Soviet bloc): ‘[w]e used to dream of a wind out of Asia that would blow our cities clean of the Things that are our gods, the knickknacks and scraps of engraved paper and the vases and the curtain rods, the fussy junk possession of which divides poor man from rich man.’ Continuing, Dos Passos slams what he calls ‘the shoddy manufactured goods that are all our civilization prizes, that we wear our hands and brains out working for’. Dos Passos subsequently locates Russia as a viable model of living that might be both modern and just:

[t]hat wind has blown Russia clean, so that the Things held divine a few years ago are mouldering rubbish in odd corners… Harder, harder blows the wind out of Asia; it has upset the table, taken the chair out from under me. Bottle in one hand, glass in the other, I brace myself against the scaring wind.[48]

On this first trip, the ‘wind out of Asia’ blew too hard even for Dos Passos, sending him, both physically and ideologically, back to the United States. Dos Passos returned to Russia, however, in 1928; this time ingratiating himself in the cultural ferment as well as the physical landscape. ‘Having a swell time in Russia’, Dos Passos would cheerfully write Hemingway in the autumn.[49] Further, the trip would prove informative with regard to Dos Passos’ literary investments. In Moscow, he met with the film director Sergei Eisenstein, stage director Vsevolod Meyerhold and Vsevolod Pudovkin. Dos Passos would integrate, as did Faulkner, these experiences into his fictions. The imaginative distance between the United States and Russia would increase, however, as the twenties came to an end. Russia, as Dos Passos wrote in the thirties, was ‘too enormous, it was too difficult’.[50] It was America, ultimately, that, vortex-like, sucked Dos Passos back in.




[1] See Waldo Frank, Our America (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1919), p. 193.

[2] See Eric Solomon, ’Joseph Conrad, William Faulkner and the Nobel Prize Speech,’ Notes and Queries, 14 (1967), 247-48; James B. Meriwether, ‘A. E. Housman and Faulkner’s Nobel Prize Speech: A Note,’ Journal of American Studies, 4 (1971), 247-248; Michael Grimwood, ‘The Self-Parodic Context of Faulkner’s Nobel Prize Speech,’ Southern Review, 15 (1979), 366-75; David Rife, ‘Rex Stout and William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize Speech’, Journal of Modern Literature, 10 (1983), 151-152; Joel Williamson, William Faulkner and Southern History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), especially pp. 273-274. Also John T. Matthews, William Faulkner: Seeing Through the South (Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2009), pp. 284-5.

[3] Joseph Blotner, Faulkner: A Biography, 2 vols (London: Chatto and Windus, 1974), I, p. 381.

[4] Thinking of Home: William Faulkner’s Letters to his Mother and Father, 1918-1925, ed. by James G. Watson, 2nd edn, (New York: Norton, 2000), p. 11.

[5] For leading accounts of this re-mapping see Hosam Aboul-Ela, ‘The Poetics of Peripheralization: Faulkner and the Question of the Postcolonial,’ American Literature, 77 (2005), 483-509; Ramon Saldívar, ‘Looking for a Master Plan: Faulkner, Paredes, and the Colonial and Postcolonial Subject’, in The Cambridge Companion to William Faulkner, ed. by Philip Weinstein (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 96-120; John T. Matthews, ‘Recalling the West Indies: From Yoknapatawpha to Haiti and Back’, American Literary History, 16 (2004), 238-62; and Edouard Glissant, Faulkner, Mississippi (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996).

[6] See Charles S. Aiken, William Faulkner and the Southern Landscape (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2009); Mark Royden Winchell, Reinventing the South: Versions of a Literary Region (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2006);Daniel J. Singal, William Faulkner: The Making of a Modernist (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997).

[7] Philip Cohen and Doreen Fowler, ‘Faulkner’s Introduction to The Sound and the Fury’, American Literature, 62 (1990), 262-283 (p. 263).

[8] Watson, Thinking of Home, p. 175.

[9] John Cell’s provocative study The Highest Stage of White Supremacy: The Origins of Segregation in South Africa and the American South (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), relates the postbellum South to the South Africa that emerged from apartheid and by so doing provides a rebuke to the historiographical exceptionalism of Americanist slave studies. For a pertinent link to Brazilian modes of production and how they intersect with American, see Carl N. Degler’s study ‘Slavery in Brazil and the United States: An Essay in Comparative History’, American Historical Review, 75 (1970), 1004-1028. On slave systems in the Caribbean—arguably the most pertinent frame of reference with regard to Faulkner—see Sidney Mintz, especially his essay ‘The Caribbean Region’, Daedalus, 103 (1974), 45-71; see also Arnold A. Sio, ‘Interpretations of Slavery: The Slave Status in the Americas’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 7 (1965), 289-308.

[10] Eric J. Sundquist, Faulkner: The House Divided (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983), p. 6.

[11] V.N. Volosinov, Marxism and the Philosophy of Language, trans. by Ladislav Matejka and I.R. Titunik (1929; repr. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986), p. 80.

[12] Selected Letters of William Faulkner, ed. by Joseph Blotner (New York: Random House, 1977), p. 17.

[13] Ibid, p. 20.

[14] After a brief stay in Montparnasse, Faulkner took a room at 26 Rue de Servandoni, on the north edge of the Luxembourg gardens. Although the present concierge of the building (now a hotel) is unable to provide exact details of which room Faulkner kept, it is probable, unless he was located on the first floor, that Faulkner would have been able to see directly into the park whilst he sat at his typewriter (basin).

[15] William Faulkner, Sanctuary (1931) in Faulkner: Novels, 1930-1935, ed. by Joseph Blotner and Noel Polk (New York: Library of America, 1985), p. 398.

[16] Pound articulated the notion of the vortex in his essay “Vortex” in the first edition of Blast, published in July 1914.

[17] Blotner, Selected Letters, p. 20.

[18] See Noel Polk’s ‘Afterword’ to Sanctuary: The Original Text (New York: Random House, 1981), p. 294.

[19] Novels: 1930-1935, p. 333.

[20] Faulkner in the University, ed. by Frederick L. Gwynn and Joseph L. Blotner (1959; repr. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995), pp.90-91.

[21] Polk, Sanctuary, p. 184.

[22] Polk, ‘Afterword’, p. 294.

[23] Polk, Sanctuary, p. 184, italics added.

[24] Blotner, Selected Letters, p. 13.

[25] Ibid, p. 17.

[26] William Faulkner, ‘Mirrors of Chartres Street’, in William Faulkner: New Orleans Sketches, ed. by Carvel Collins (London: Chatto and Windus, 1958), pp. 15-18 (16).

[27] John Dos Passos, Travel Books and Other Writings: 1916-41, ed. by Townsend Ludington (New York: Library of America, 2003), p. 729.

[28] Donald Pizer, Dos Passos’ ‘U.S.A’: A Critical Study (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1988), pp. 10-11.

[29] Ludington, Travel Books, p. 674.

[30] Ibid, 732.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. by John Cumming (1944; repr. London: Verso, 2010), pp. 120-168.

[33] Ludington, Travel Books, p. 775.

[34] Ibid, p. 30.

[35] Ibid, p. 239.

[36] See Eugene O’Neill, Dynamo (New York, Liveright, 1929), for a similar account of the terrifying (sexualised) power of the machine.

[37] Ludington, Travel Books, p. 775.

[38] The Fourteenth Chronicle: Letters and Diaries of John Dos Passos, ed. by Townsend Ludington (Boston: Gambit, 1973), p. 294.

[39] Ibid, p. 794.

[40] Ludington, Travel Books, p. 20.

[41] Ludington, The Fourteenth Chronicle, p. 302.

[42] Ludington, Travel Books, p. 658.

[43] Ludington, The Fourteenth Chronicle, p. 299.

[44] John Dos Passos’ Correspondence with Arthur K. McComb, or ‘Learn to Sing the Carmagnole’, ed. by Melvin Landsburg (Niwot: University Press of Colorado, 1991), p. 190.

[45] Ibid, p. 192.

[46] Ibid, p. 197.

[47] Ibid, p. 203.

[48] Ludington, Travel Books, p. 162-3.

[49] The undated letter from John Dos Passos to Ernest Hemingway, penned during the summer of 1928, is held at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia, 5950, box 4.

[50] Ludington, Travel Books, p. 90.