With excerpts from Sanctuary, The Faulkner Reader, As I Lay Dying, The Unvanquished, Light in August, Essays, Go Down, Moses; Absalom, Absalom!; and the exceptional writing style of editor/novelist Willie Morris, this work reveals the textures of Faulkner's Mississippi--cultural, linguistic, and social--making an exceptional commentary on southern life. Morris accomplishes the task of seizing and capturing the imagination of the reader. This image is heightened by the stark, often haunting photographs of Eggleston which combines the reality of Mississippi's landscape with an almost spiritual journey through Faulkner's mystical Yoknapatawpha County.
Morris, who served as writer-in-residence at the University of Mississippe (Ole Miss), has allowed the reader to visualize a southern way of life which is non-existent in many Mississippi communities. From the smell of corn liquor, fried chicken and hush puppies to the sounds of choral music and the clamour of University students and fall football, the reader is gently nudged from one scene to yet another.
Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha which extends from the Tallahatchie River to the north and the Yocona (patawpha) to the south, leaving its eastern and western boundaries to the readers imagination, encompasses the modern day town of Oxford, a center of intellectual achievement and southern hospitality. Named for the famous English University, this town possesses a remarkable and diverse culture. At it's epicenter stands the Lafayette County Courthouse: an imposing, white structure encircled by wizened oaks. From its deeply shaded benches old men relive past ventures or simply watch the city's comings and goings. A mile west of the Courthouse Square one encounters the youthful vigor of the University of Mississippi. This artfully landscaped campus has, during its history, weathered both Civil War and civil strife. All this and much more are revealed by Eggleston's photographic endeavours.
Although a little expensive, this work is a needed addition for any photographer, historian, or southern culture buff who dreams of a beauty and style which is nearly forgotten but which can be re-lived within the page of Faulkner's Mississippi.
by Dr. Carl Edwin Lindgren
COPYRIGHT 1991 Photographic Society of America, Inc.
See also Genius in colour: Why William Eggleston is the world’s greatest photographer