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’.

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