The recording of Faulkner reading from The Sound and the Fury was made at his last public session as UVA's Writer-in-Residence (23 May 1958). All the questions and answers below about the novel were recorded at six separate sessions held during Faulkner's semesters as Writer-in-Residence. The particular session is identified in brackets after each question, according to the following key:
      1 GRADUATE COURSE IN AMERICAN FICTION (15 February 1957)
      2 STUDENTS IN THE ENGLISH CLUB (7 March 1957)
      3 GRADUATE COURSE IN AMERICAN FICTION/UNDERGRADUATE COURSE IN THE NOVEL (13 April 1957)
      4 VISITORS FROM VIRGINIA COLLEGES (15 April 1957)
      5 GRADUATE COURSE IN AMERICAN FICTION/UNDERGRADUATE COURSE IN THE NOVEL (27 April 1957)
      6 UNDERGRADUATE COURSE IN CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE (13 March 1958)
Faulkner Reading from The Sound and the Fury
  The excerpt Faulkner chose is from the Easter section of the novel (pages 292-97 in our edition). It's a little over 9 minutes long (22.2MB).
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Q: Mr. Faulkner, in The Sound and the Fury the first three sections of that book are narrated by one of the four Compson children, and in view of the fact that Caddy figures so prominently, is there any particular reason why you didn't have a section with — giving her views or impressions of what went on? [1]

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Q: Mr. Faulkner, I've been very much interested in what it seems to me you did — maybe you didn't — in The Sound and the Fury, in the character of Caddy. To me she is a very sympathetic character, and perhaps the most sympathetic white woman in the book, and yet we get pictures of her only through someone else's comments and most of these comments are quite hostile and wouldn't lead you to admire her on the surface, and yet I do. Did you mean for us to have this feeling for Caddy, and if so, how did you go about reducing her to the negative picture we get of her? [1]

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Q: To what extent are your plots and characters preconceived, or in other words, to what extent do you outline what is going to happen to your characters before you begin to write? . . . You have said previously that — that The Sound and the Fury came from an impression of a little girl up in a tree, and I wondered how you built it from that, and whether you just, as you said, let it — let the story develop itself. [3]

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Q: Mr. Faulkner, I am interested in the symbolism in The Sound and the Fury, and I wasn't able to figure exactly the significance of the shadow symbol with Quentin. It's referred to over and over again: he steps in his shadow, shadow is before him, the shadow is often after him. Well then, what is the significance of this shadow? [1]

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Q: Mr. Faulkner, I'd like to ask you about Quentin and his relationship with his father. I think many readers get the impression that Quentin is the way he is to a large extent because of his father's lack of values, or the fact that he doesn't seem to pass down to his son many values that will sustain him. Do you think that Quentin winds up the way he does primarily because of that, or are we meant to see, would you say, that the action comes primarily from what he is, just abetted by what he gets from his father? [1]

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Q: Mr. Faulkner, in your speech at Stockholm you expressed great faith in mankind, not only to endure but prevail, because he had the capacity for compassion, sacrifice, endurance. Do you think that's the impression the average reader would gain from reading The Sound and the Fury? [1]

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Q: Mr. Faulkner, when you say man has prevailed do you mean the individual man has prevailed or group man? . . . In Quentin, for instance, he seemed to have the cards stacked against him —— Prevailing, it just seems to be inherently impossible, and I wondered — [1]

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Q: What is your purpose in writing into the first section of The Sound and the Fury passages that seem disjointed in themselves if the idea is not connected with one another? [6]

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Q: What symbolic meaning did you give to the dates of The Sound and the Fury? [6]

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Q: Then may I ask if all of these characters in The Sound and the Fury — that you would call them "good people"? . . . Jason's bad, I assume? [4]

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Q: Mr. Faulkner, in The Sound and the Fury, can you tell me exactly why some of that is written in italics? What does that denote? . . . Doesn't that go on with Quentin, too? . . . And another thing I noticed, you don't advise that people have to have a subject and predicate for verbs and all those things — . . . I'm referring mostly to Quentin and he certainly — he attended Harvard, he should have known. [5]

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Q: Mr. Faulkner, what do you consider your best book? [3]

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