Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury” As He Realized It?

It was recently announced that The Folio Society, a London-based company that specializes in making fine print books, is producing an edition of William Faulkner’s first masterpiece, The Sound and the Fury (first published in 1929), in multi-colored text. During his lifetime, Faulkner expressed the desire to present his complex and polychronous novel with text in numerous colors to allow readers to navigate through the various time shifts that occur within its fragmented narratives more easily, especially in the dense first chapter, “April Seventh, 1928.” Now, according to Noel Polk, one of the re-configured text’s editors, “publishing has finally grown up to The Sound and the Fury.” Polk, along with co-editor Stephen M. Ross, establish fourteen different timelines in the novel based on their research and color-code the text accordingly.

The Folio Society has limited the edition to 1,480 copies, and it comes with a color-coded bookmark for easy reader reference. Because Faulkner never produced a color-coded version of the manuscript, Polk and Ross’s bold experiment is likely to draw criticism from some quarters. Nevertheless, the end-product fuses the book arts with literary criticism and one of literature’s great What Ifs.

The edition, which is slated for release in August, is being released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of William Faulkner’s death. Faulkner, one of America’s most celebrated authors (and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1949), continues to generate mountains of literary criticism each year. The Literature and Languages library has all of his novels as well as numerous books of criticism about Faulkner’s work. They can be found in the approximate call number range PS3511.A86 or by looking here.


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