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A Telling Labor

A Telling Labor by Edward J. Dupuy The Companion to Southern Literature. Edited by Joseph Flora and Lucinda Mackethan. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2002. 1,054 pp. $74.95. Students of southern literature have no trouble recalling the familiar words of Shreve McCannon in Absalom, Absalom!! As he recon- structs the history of Thomas Sutpen with Quentin Compson in the cold, tomblike darkness of their Harvard dorm room, Shreve says: “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, the practical Canadian, and Quentin, the time-haunted Southerner, reconstruct not only the life and events of Thomas Sutpen, but also a history of the South—and even, one might say, a history of history. The past is present, as Faulkner says in Light in August t and elsewhere, and the burden of the past is no more apparent than in the tortured protestations of the quintessential south- erner, Quentin Compson. After their labored telling of the Sutpen story, Shreve asks his companion: “Why do you hate the South?” Quentin’s response is: “I dont hate it . . . I dont. I dont!” Fred Hobson has taken these brief exchanges http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

by Edward J. Dupuy The Companion to Southern Literature. Edited by Joseph Flora and Lucinda Mackethan. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2002. 1,054 pp. $74.95. Students of southern literature have no trouble recalling the familiar words of Shreve McCannon in Absalom, Absalom!! As he recon- structs the history of Thomas Sutpen with Quentin Compson in the cold, tomblike darkness of their Harvard dorm room, Shreve says: “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, the practical Canadian, and Quentin, the time-haunted Southerner, reconstruct not only the life and events of Thomas Sutpen, but also a history of the South—and even, one might say, a history of history. The past is present, as Faulkner says in Light in August t and elsewhere, and the burden of the past is no more apparent than in the tortured protestations of the quintessential south- erner, Quentin Compson. After their labored telling of the Sutpen story, Shreve asks his companion: “Why do you hate the South?” Quentin’s response is: “I dont hate it . . . I dont. I dont!” Fred Hobson has taken these brief exchanges

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jan 11, 2005

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