“Southern Harm”, by William Faulkner

Source: [From the Archive] | Southern Harm, by William Faulkner | Harper’s Magazine

I’m considerably behind in my magazine reading. Thus, I only got to my June 2016 Harper’s last night.

I never cared for Faulkner. Or maybe I should say I’ve never been able to read him. After one effort many years ago, I gave up on him. Something about the way he laid out prose irritated me.

Lately, Harper’s has been publishing excerpts of articles from its extensive archives, dating back to its founding in 1850. That long ago, yes. The excerpt from Harper’s archives, published in the June 2016 issue, was by William Faulkner. Yeah, the guy I decided I couldn’t read.

But, given I’ve often grown into literature, music, art I did not originally like, I gave Faulkner another try. (I’m sure he’s grateful.)

I still found his prose style annoying. But his subject? Try it at the link above. He writes about the political state of his South in 1956, shortly after Brown v Board of Education. and he begins:

We are faced with two apparently irreconcilable facts in the South: the one being the decree of our national government that there be absolute equality in education among all citizens, the other being the white people in the South who say that white and Negro pupils shall never sit in the same classroom. Only apparently irreconcilable, because they must be reconciled since the only alternative to change is death.

Hasn’t changed much–as numerous current events reflected in the gubernatorial race in Virginia has made horribly clear.

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