One thing that I wish both of these bloggers, and Robinson in her response to questions from the earlier poster, would spend more time on is the bewildering array of things that “liberal” and “conservative” can mean. For example, I have been called conservative (and it wasn’t intended as a compliment) because I like to read dusty old books. Or another: I’ve seen Robinson called conservative simply because she’s not a moral relativist. Yet one of the things that turns me off about Edmund Burke, the founder of modern conservatism (according to some people), is that his whole “human rights is all very well in France; they’re so bloody rational over there” routine smacks, to me, of an irritating and frivolous moral relativism. Humans have rights or we don’t, dammit. (N.b.: I could be misremembering his argument. I was a much younger and in many ways angrier man when I tried to read Burke.)
Marilynne Robinson on ‘The Sound and the Fury’
Back in 2012, Marilynne Robinson wrote an introduction to a new edition of William Faulkner’s ‘The Sound and the Fury.’ Although we missed this, Will McDavid, writing at Mockingbird, took notice:
Maybe it’s her easy command of language, her gently probing (rather than assertively polemical) style of argument, maybe that it’s one of the few pieces I’ve read on Faulkner’s opus that seems like it takes the novel’s now less-than-in-vogue religious sensibilities seriously. At any rate, the publishers got it right with asking her to do it.
Although McDavid provides a few excerpts from Robinson’s essay, to enjoy the full piece, consider this a fine opportunity to pick up Faulkner’s treasured classic—or enjoy it all over again. We should mention, too, that there are echoes of epic southern literature in Lila, so there could hardly be a better time to brush up on that genre’s masterpieces.
(As far as we can tell, the ISBN for the hardcover version containing Robinson’s introduction is 9780679600176.)