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Intruder in the Past

Intruder in the Past by Lorie Watkins Fulton Whom, exactly, William Faulkner intends readers to envision as the intruder in Intruder in the Dust seems a question almost as com- plex as the mystery contained within the pages of the novel itself. The lack of any defi nite candidate for the position, combined with Faulkner’s diffi culty in selecting a title, tempts one to treat his choice as a throw- away, unimportant because likely chosen in a moment of desperation. The beginnings of his frustration appear in a letter Robert K. Haas, his literary agent, received from him on March 15, 1948, in which he com- plains, “By the way, fi rst time in my experience, I cant fi nd a title.” Ac- tually, he already knew that he wanted to use the phrase “in the dust,” and searched only for the perfect word to combine with it. He wrote to Haas, “I want a word, a dignifi ed (or more dignifi ed) synonym for ‘she- nanigan,’ ‘skulduggery’; maybe” (Selected Letters 2 64 – 2 65). Fau l k ner’ s correspondence shows that his mild irritation at his inability to choose a title soon escalated, and he followed his fi rst letter 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 © 2006 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

by Lorie Watkins Fulton Whom, exactly, William Faulkner intends readers to envision as the intruder in Intruder in the Dust seems a question almost as com- plex as the mystery contained within the pages of the novel itself. The lack of any defi nite candidate for the position, combined with Faulkner’s diffi culty in selecting a title, tempts one to treat his choice as a throw- away, unimportant because likely chosen in a moment of desperation. The beginnings of his frustration appear in a letter Robert K. Haas, his literary agent, received from him on March 15, 1948, in which he com- plains, “By the way, fi rst time in my experience, I cant fi nd a title.” Ac- tually, he already knew that he wanted to use the phrase “in the dust,” and searched only for the perfect word to combine with it. He wrote to Haas, “I want a word, a dignifi ed (or more dignifi ed) synonym for ‘she- nanigan,’ ‘skulduggery’; maybe” (Selected Letters 2 64 – 2 65). Fau l k ner’ s correspondence shows that his mild irritation at his inability to choose a title soon escalated, and he followed his fi rst letter

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: May 31, 2006

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