Richard Gray

The Maternal Imaginary

Faulkner and Love: The Women Who Shaped His Art


Yale University Press 624pp £25 order from our bookshop

‘Every word a writing man writes’, observes one of William Faulkner’s characters, ‘is put down with the intention of impressing some woman.’ Faulkner thought so too. Women occupied the centre of his life and imagination, and this book is an attempt to register the centrality of three women in particular: his mother Maud Butler Falkner, his black ‘mother’ Caroline Barr, and his wife Estelle Oldham Faulkner. It is, its author explains, an ‘account of the origins, growth, and fruition of Faulkner’s creativity in a racialized maternal imaginary’.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,