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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $18.50
  • December 2009
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-93138-9
  • 400 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

As I Lay Dying

Norton Critical Editions


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William Faulkner (Author), Michael Gorra (Editor, Smith College)


Long been recognized not only as one of William Faulkner’s greatest works, but also as the most accessible of his major novels.

This Norton Critical Edition is based on the 1985 corrected text and is accompanied by detailed explanatory annotations.

“Backgrounds and Contexts” is divided into three sections, each of which includes a concise introduction by Michael Gorra that carefully frames the issues presented, with particular attention to As I Lay Dying’s place in Faulkner’s literary life. “Contemporary Reception” reprints American, English, and French reviews by Clifton Fadiman, Henry Nash Smith, Edwin Muir, and Maurice Coindreau, among others, along with Valery Larbaud’s never-before-translated preface to the first French edition of the novel. “The Writer and His Work” examines Faulkner’s claim to have written the novel in six weeks without changing a word. It includes his comments on the book’s composition along with his later thoughts on and changing opinions of it, sample pages from the manuscript, his Nobel Prize address, and the little-known short story in which he first used the title. “Cultural Context” reprints an essay by Carson McCullers and an excerpt from James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men along with other materials that address questions of Southern Agrarianism and the Southern grotesque.

“Criticism” begins with the editor’s introduction to As I Lay Dying’s critical history and scholarly reception. Eleven major essays are provided by Olga W. Vickery, Cleanth Brooks, Calvin Bedient, André Bleikasten, Eric Sundquist, Stephen M. Ross, Doreen Fowler, Patrick O’Donnell, Richard Gray, John Limon, and Donald M. Kartiganer.

A Chronology and a Selected Bibliography are also included.



    Note on the Text

    The Text of As I Lay Dying

    Backgrounds and Contexts


    1. Margaret Cheney Dawson • Beside Addie’s Coffin
    2. Julia K. W. Baker • Literature and Less
    3. Clifton P. Fadiman • Morbidity in Fiction
    4. Henry Nash Smith • A Troubled Vision
    5. Henry Seidel Canby • The School of Cruelty
    6. Maurice-Edgar Coindreau • William Faulkner
    7. Valery Larbaud • “Preface” to Tandis que j’agonise
    8. Edwin Muir • From New Novels


    1. William Faulkner • Adolescence
    2. William Faulkner • As I Lay Dying
    3. William Faulkner • Introduction to the Modern Library edition of Sanctuary
    4. William Faulkner • An Introduction for The Sound and the Fury
    5. William Faulkner • Address upon Receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature
    6. William Faulkner • The Paris Review Interview
    7. William Faulkner • Class Conferences at the University of Virginia
    8. William Faulkner • Jefferson, Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi [Map]
    9. William Faulkner • Sample pages from the manuscript and carbon typescript of As I Lay Dying


    1. Carson McCullers • The Russian Realists and Southern Literature
    2. Fred Hobson • Benighted South
    3. Andrew Nelson Lytle • The Hind Tit
    4. James Agee • The Gudger House
    5. Thoms D. Clark • From Pills, Petticoats and Plows: The Southern Country Store
    6. C. D. Mitchell, M.D. • Thirty-Sixth Biennial Report of the Mississippi State Insane Hospital, Jackson, Mississippi. From July 1, 1925 to June 30, 1927


    1. Olga W. Vickery • The Dimension of Consciousness
    2. Cleanth Brooks • Odyssey of the Bundrens
    3. Calvin Bedient • Pride and Nakedness: As I Lay Dying
    4. André Bleikasten • The Setting
    5. Eric Sundquist • Death, Grief, Analogous Form: As I Lay Dying
    6. Stephen M. Ross • Mimetic Voice
    7. Doreen Fowler • Matricide and the Mother’s Revenge: As I Lay Dying
    8. Patrick O’Donnell • Between the Family and the State: Nomadism and Authority in As I Lay Dying
    9. Richard Gray • A Southern Carnival
    10. John Limon • Addie in No Man’s Land
    11. Donald M. Kartiganer • “By It I Would Stand or Fall”: Life and Death in As I Lay Dying

    William Faulkner: A Chronology

    Selected Bibliography