Folio Society Published Works Number 2612
Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury Limited Edition with glossary and commentary
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Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury Limited Edition with glossary and commentary (Published in by The Folio Society in 2012. Strictly limited to 1,480 copies, numbered by hand. Printed on Abbey Wove paper using 14 different colours of ink. Gilded top edge. Quarter-bound in vermilion goatskin leather. Blocked in gold. Paper sides printed letterpress with type ornaments designed by Russell Maret. 320 pages. The Commentary volume: bound in buckram. Blocked in gold. 232 pages. Both volumes presented in cloth-bound slipcase with inset leather titling label. Book size: 10¼" x 6½". In October 1928, the young writer William Faulkner tossed a recently completed manuscript to his friend and agent Ben Wasson: 'Read this, Bud. It's a real son-of-a-bitch … This one's the greatest I'll ever write.' Twenty years and several great novels later, Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his 'powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American Novel'. The Sound and the Fury – searing, tragic, extraordinary in its innovation – is the most powerful of all. Indeed, this novel had become one of the most influential in 20th-century American literature. Faulkner knew that what made the book 'a real son-of-a-bitch' was what Wasson called 'the sheer technical outrageousness and freshness of the Benjy section'. Faulkner wished to find a publisher whose attitude to printing matched the innovation of the writing – one prepared to print the novel in several colours. Nearly 100 years later, The Folio Society is fulfilling that vision with a new limited edition that is a landmark in literary publishing. The Sound and The Fury is acknowledged as one of the masterpieces of 20th-century literature. It takes the modernist narrative devices of stream-of-consciousness, time-shifts and multiple changes of viewpoint to an unprecedented level of sophistication. Faulkner was well aware that readers would find it difficult, and employed italic and roman type to convey its 'unbroken-surfaced confusion', but when his agent attempted to standardise and simplify the system this prompted an angry objection from Faulkner. He quickly jotted down eight time-levels in Benjy's section, 'just a few I recall', and wished that it could be 'printed the way it ought to be with different color types', but he concluded pessimistically, 'I don't reckon … it'll ever be printed that way'. The Folio Society determined that it could be printed that way, and drew on the expertise of two noted Faulkner scholars to work on fulfilling Faulkner's idea. Stephen M. Ross and Noel Polk undertook the painstaking task of identifying each different time-level to be coloured, while keeping the original italic/roman shifts. We can never know if this is exactly what Faulkner would have envisaged, but the result justifies his belief that coloured inks would allow readers to follow the strands of the novel more easily, without compromising the 'thought-transference' for which he argued so passionately. In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Faulkner stated that a writer's sole purpose was to convey 'the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed – love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.' The Sound and the Fury is filled with those emotions, and the reader cannot help but care deeply for Faulkner's characters: for Quentin begging his sister not to marry 'that blackguard' Herbert Read, for the bleak self-centred cry of Mrs Compson, 'I am a lady,' and for Benjy waiting by the golf course just to hear the golfers call 'caddie', at which he begins to howl, mistaking it for his sister's name. )