New Orleans Sketches by William Faulkner (1958)

I stumbled upon this book, not surprisingly, in Faulkner House Books of New Orleans. It contains some of Faulkner’s earliest fiction written or set in New Orleans, where he had lived for a time. Just having visited my favorite American city, I thought I’d share some of the gems from this short volume along with my photos here.

Suffice it to say, the book is worth a read and the city is worth a stay.

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Faulkner House Books with Beer Bottles

 

I looked at the faces of old men sitting patiently on iron benches as we slowly paced – men who had learned that living is not only not passionate or joyous, but is not even especially sorrowful (Out of Nazareth, 47).

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View of Jackson Square at sundown from a Donkey Cart
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Cafe du Monde

Competition is everywhere: competition makes the world go round. Not love, as some say. Who would want a woman nobody else wanted? Not me. And not you. And not Johnny. Same way about money. If nobody wanted the stuff, it wouldn’t be worth fighting for. But more than this is being good in your own line, whether it is selling aluminum or ladies’ underwear or running whiskey, or what. Be good, or die (The Kid Learns, 86).

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The Artist

A dream and a fire which I cannot control, driving me without those comfortable smooth paths of solidity and sleep which nature has decreed for man. A fire which I inherited willy-nilly, and which I must needs feed with talk and youth and the very vessel which bears the fire: the serpent which consumes its own kind, knowing that I can never give to the world that which is crying in me to be freed.

For where is that flesh, what hand holds that blood to shape this dream within me in marble or sound, on canvas or paper, and live? I, too, am but a shapeless lump of moist earth risen from pain, to laugh and strive and weep, knowing no peace until the moisture has gone out of it, and it is once more of the original and eternal dust.

But to create! Which among ye who have not this fire, can know this joy, let it be ever so fleet? (New Orleans, 12)

 

What I underlined:

Is this love, I wonder? he thought, or is it being afraid (The Kid Learns, 91)

Mankind is never as complex as we would like to believe ourselves to be (Out of Nazareth, 49)

Men grow from the soil, like corn and trees…his father not only seeded him physically, but planted also in him that belief, necessary to a writer, that his own emotions are important, and also planted in him the desire to tell them to someone (133, on novelist Sherwood Anderson)

Edition: University Press of Mississippi  2009

Photos: all mine

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