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PHOTO ESSAY ìfoknapatawpha Images and Voices by George G. Stewart The Yoknapatawpha County ofWilliam Faulkner's major fiction, from Sartoris (Flags in the Dust) (1929) to Go Down, Moses (1942), is a dark world haunted by the past—particularly by the legacy of slavery— and paralyzed by obsession, violence, revenge, and defeat. Although interlaced with humor and acts ofcourage and sacrifice, it is essentially a tragic vision. When we read these novels and stories, the characters still convey vividly the timeless "problems of the human heart in conflict with itself"; but the models for these characters are dead, and the rural society they composed has changed significantly and, in several instances, ironically. Consequently, to be faithful to Faulkner's dark vision of a South before 1943, a photographer cannot usually mirror that world in the current north Mississippi social scene. Although after more than fifty years a local resident may appear on the streets ofnow cosmopolitan Oxford and seem to be stepping from the pages of the author's fiction, those remarkable occasions are rare. But there were monuments, locales, architecture, and landmarks in or near Lafayette and Tippah Counties that were definite or tangible images for Yoknapatawpha . Several ofthose still evocative objects and places have survived commercial progress, boosterism, historic preservation, and the ravages of time. The street runs on ahead, where the square opens and the monument stands before the courthouse. We mount again while the heads turn with that expression which we know; save Jewel. He does not get on, even though the wagon has started again. "Get in,Jewel," I say. . . . But he does not get in. Instead he sets his foot on the turning hub ofthe rear wheel, one hand grasping the stanchion, and with the hub turning smoothly under his sole he lifts the other foot and squats there, staring straight ahead, motionless, lean, wooden-backed, as though carved From As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. Copyright ¡yp and renewed ipjS by William Faulkner. Reprinted bypermission ofRandom House, Inc. the courthouse centennial and serene above the town From Requiem tor a Nun by William Faulkner. Copyright iyyo, iyri by William Faulkner. Reprintedbypermission ofRandom House, Inc. 32 OEORQE Q. STEWART the thick, slow, black, unsunned streams almost without current, which once each year ceased to flow at all and then reversed, spreading, drowning the rich land and subsiding again, leaving it still richer. "'Delta Autumn"from Go Down, Moses by William Faulkner. Copyright 1942 by William Faulkner. Reprinted bypermission ofRandom House, Inc. Yoknapatawpha: Images and Voices 3 3 He stood on a stone pedestal, in his frock coat and bareheaded, one leg slightly advanced and one hand resting lightly on the stone pylon beside him. His head was lifted a litde in that gesture ofhaughty arrogance which repeated itself generation after generation with a fateful fidelity, his back to the world and his carven eyes gazing out across the valley where his railroad ran and beyond it to the blue changeless hills From Flags in the Dust by William Faulkner. Copyright 1929 and renewed 19J7 h William Faulkner. Copyright ifj) by Random House, Inc. Reprinted bypermission of Random House, Inc. 34 QEORQE Q. STEWART "Never you mind," Dilsey said. "I seed de beginnin, en now I sees de endin." . . . They reached the gate and entered. Immediately Ben began to whimper again, and for a while all of them looked up the drive at the square, paintless house with its rotting portico. From The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. Copyright iy2y and renewed i^sy by William Faulkner. Reprinted bypermission ofRandom House, Inc. Yoknapatawpha: Images and Voices 3 5 he returned and I watched him clean the derringer and reload it and we learned that the dead man was almost a neighbor, a hill man . . . and we never to know if the man actually intended to rob Father or not because Father had shot too quick From The Unvanquished by William Faulkner. Copyright 1934, 19)% 19)6, 19)8 and renewed 1962, 196] by William Faulkner and 1964, 1966 by Fstelle Faulkner andfillFaulknerSummers. Reprinted bypermission ofRandom House, Inc. 36 QEORQE Q. STEWART a deep ditch which was a town landmark. The tops of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 31-53
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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