By Merrill Maguire Skaggs
Axes strains the intimate dating among the texts released by means of Willa Cather and William Faulkner among 1922 and 1962. while these texts are juxtaposed and tested rigorously, the 2 writers look intensely aware of, and attentive to, every one other’s paintings. in truth, either at some point soon seem to have caricatured or parodied the opposite in print. Judging by way of the texts they left at the back of, they titillated, indignant, exhilarated, and—especially—energized one another. a few readers may well finish that for 40 years they helped create each one other—the rival geniuses and axes of yankee fiction within the 20th century. At the tip in their lives, Cather deliberate a narrative to seem posthumously as suggestion to Faulkner approximately lifestyles and literary sort; he deliberate his final novel to reply to her in spirit and released it a month earlier than his demise. This groundbreaking learn is provocative and certain to ignite the imaginations of literary critics and committed readers of every writer.
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Additional info for Axes: Willa Cather and William Faulkner
Peter famously declared, “Art and religion (they are the same thing, in the end, of course)” (ph 69), the echo in Mosquitoes is a murmur: “Artistic temperament . . so spiritual” (20). At one point art and religion appear to be the same thing in the end, however, even on Faulkner’s beached yacht: Dawson Fairchild is accused of clinging to “his conviction [about American art] for the old reason: it’s good enough to live with and comfort28 | bu z zi n g able to die with — like a belief in immortality.
But, understand me: I have no quarrel with education. I don’t think it hurts you much, except to make you unhappy and unfit for work, for which man was cursed by the gods before they had learned about education. And if it were not education, it would be something else just as bad, and perhaps worse. Man must fill his time some way, you know. (m 41–42) Cather’s Professor St. Peter quarreled with science first and later objected to “the aim to ‘show results’ that was undermining and vulgarizing education” (ph 140).
She erases glory and trumpets and splendor—too purple, it seems, in this blinking moment of golden light. The early swim completed, Faulkner’s Patricia tells an admiring young steward, “Let’s get some stuff for breakfast, and beat it. We haven’t got all day” (m 166). Thereafter they gather a flat box of bacon, a loaf of bread, matches, a knife, and oranges, for Faulkner does not yet trust suggestion. When Cather’s Grenfell returns to his cabin with sharpened appetite, he smells coffee and that is enough to assure him of his good breakfast ahead.