I agree with the Oxford American panel that declared William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! to be the greatest work in the history of Southern literature. Aside from the brilliance of the story, some of Faulkner’s sentences are so unique and evocative that it can be said that the world of Southern literature would have a gaping hole had he never written. Some of my favorites:
- “She accepted that, not reconciled, accepted. As though there is a breathing point in outrage when you can accept it almost with gratitude since you can say to yourself, ‘Thank God, this is all. At least I now know all of it.”
- “Surely there is something even in the demoniac, which Satan flees, aghast at his own handiwork, and which God looks on in pity…”
- “If happy I can be I will, if suffer I must I can.”
- “When you have hated somebody for forty-three years you will know them awfully well.”
- “Maybe nothing ever happens once and is finished. Maybe happen is never once but like ripples maybe on water after the pebble sinks, the ripples moving on, spreading, the pool attached by a narrow umbilical water-cord to the next pool…”
When Faulkner wrote Absalom, he was already critically acclaimed and successful due to the success of his 1929 work The Sound and The Fury.