CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

The Southern Writers Who Defined America

How William Faulkner and Ralph Ellison Explained the South—and Taught Northerners About Themselves

Tell about the South. What’s it like there? What do they do there? Why do they live there? Why do they live at all?
           —Shreve McCannon, to Quentin Compson

Struggling in William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! to field these questions, flung at him by his Harvard roommate on a snowy evening in 1910, the young Mississippian Quentin Compson plunges into the history of his own Southern community. Drawing on the accounts of his family and fellow citizens of the small town of Jefferson, supplemented by his own …

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