All the questions and answers below about Flags in the Dust were recorded on 28 April 1958, during Faulkner's second Spring semester as UVA's Writer-In-Residence. The setting is identified as a "First-Year English Course," but to my ear most of the questioners sound more like UVA faculty members than first-year students. The questions refer to the novel as Sartoris, the title under which Faulkner's first Yoknapatawpha fiction was published in 1929 and known by until the unabridged manuscript was published as Flags in the Dust in 1973.
Q: Mr. Faulkner, were there— I am sure there must have been a number of Confederate veterans around when you were growing up as a boy. Did you talk to them, hear their reminiscences?
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Q: How closely related were Colonel Sartoris and your great-grandfather Colonel Falkner? I mean— Or how much did you draw on Colonel Falkner to get the picture of Colonel Sartoris?
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Q: Sir, in Sartoris you sort of skipped over one generation of the Sartoris family between the old Bayard and the young Bayard. Is there any reason for that? . . . Yet if you thought of a story some time about that father, something that he could have done, you'd have a right to give it to him, wouldn't you?
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Q: What's the significance of the Snopes in this book and his relationship with the Benbow girl? In Sartoris. . . . Was there any special significance of it? Was it supposed to illustrate something in particular?
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Q: Sir, in Sartoris it appears when Bayard, young Bayard, in the wreck when his grandfather is killed— and he commits a kind of cowardly act by running away. Why didn't he go back, and be more or less brave as the— to show his courage like the Sartoris family always had instead of running away?
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Q: Sir, I wonder what— if you intended to make us think what the future of the young baby, John Sartoris, would be. I know— or whether it's just that I read between the lines— I remember that Aunt Jenny said that when old Simon died, that he was the last of the real Sartorises, and then again, Narcissa said that— when she wanted to change the name, Aunt Jenny said, You'd better not, he'll turn out to be one anyway. So, is there any prediction that you would make that he would turn out to be just like— as violent as all the rest or whether he would turn out to be a new generation?
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