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The Mansion av William Faulkner

The Mansion (urspr publ 1959; utgåvan 1959)

av William Faulkner

Serier: The Snopes Trilogy (3)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
598228,986 (3.97)16
The Mansion completes Faulkner's great trilogy of the Snopes family in the mythical county of Yoknapatawpha, Mississippi, which also includes The Hamlet and The Town. Beginning with the murder of Jack Houston, and ending with the murder of Flem Snopes, it traces the downfall of this indomitable post-bellum family, who managed to seize control of the town of Jefferson within a generation.… (mer)
Titel:The Mansion
Författare:William Faulkner
Info:Vintage Books (1959), Mass Market Paperback
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek


Huset av William Faulkner (Author) (1959)


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This is the final novel in Faulkner's "Snopes Family" trilogy. The novels tell the story of the arrival and expansion of the Snopes family as they arrive in the hamlet of Frenchman's Bend in fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, expand into the town of Jefferson and eventually, in the person of their most successful member, Flem Snopes, rise to power and even respectability. The action is mostly seen throughout through the eyes of three characters, none of them a Snopes, who provide a perspective on the action that is in turn bemused, alarmed and outraged. One of the three, V.K. Ratliff, has the advantage of being a traveling sewing machine salesman who's secondary (or maybe primary) stock in trade is information received and offered. Gavin Stevens is the town's primary attorney and the county's attorney as well. He is also the intellectual and idealist of the group and the one who twice experiences the intense love that is one of the trilogy's central themes. The third perspective comes from Stevens' nephew Charles, who begins by narrating events that have happened before he was born but were only told to him, and ends by being a lawyer himself and World War 2 veteran.

The various Snopes have all (or almost all) one thing in common: they are "rapacious" (Faulkner's word for them, especially in the trilogy's second novel, The Town), with the "moral values of a wolverine." Some rise into state government or bank presidencies, some, at least figuratively, remain mean scrabblers in the dirt.

The Mansion follows/continues/wraps up several different storylines within the narrative of the Snopes and the county, which over the course of the three books moves us from just before the turn of the 20th Century to the late 1940s. Interestingly about the first half of The Mansion is pretty much a recapitulation of action that takes place in the second book. It's normal to have a little bit of exposition in series books to catch readers up/remind them about the action of previous books, but this is something different. The various narrators go back over early events in depth, sometimes even in greater depth, it seemed to me, that those events' first telling in The Town. Faulkner seems to have decided to go back and re-examine all of it from the point of view of different characters before moving forward. You might think this would be repetitive in the reading for someone who has read The Town recently, but it isn't, because of those alternative perspectives and because, of course, of Faulkner's thrilling use of language. The story then moves on to follow the rise and reign of Flem Snopes, the predicament and actions of one of the meanest of the Snopes, Mink Snopes, who is sitting in Parchman Farm prison, nursing his grudges and planning revenge, and Linda Snopes the beautiful and intelligent young woman who is Steven's second unfulfilled love interest of the series.

The overall theme of the trilogy seems to be the ways in which the rural American South was thrown completely off the rails of American society and political progress by the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the long, tortuous, and inevitably bent process by which these regions slowly--achingly and tragically slowly--eventually drifted or were pulled back into something like actual participation with the country as a whole. Faulkner ruefully kicks over rocks and logs to show the anthills and mold thriving beneath. But, and this is important in understanding this work, he is also very frequently and very wryly quite funny.

Here's an example of all of that, I think. It's a passage describing Flem Snopes' rise from store clerk to bank vice-president, and the reaction of the town's citizens to that:

" . . . the feller the owners of the custodianed money seen going and coming out of {his large, newly acquired mansion} was the same one they had done got accustomed to for twenty years now: the same little snap-on bow tie he had got outen the Frenchman's Bend mule wagon in and only the hat was new and different; and even that old cloth cap, that maybe was plenty good enough to be Varner's clerk in but that wasn't to be seen going in and out of a Jefferson back on the head of its vice-rpesident--even the cap not throwed away or even give away, but sold, even if it wasn't but jest a dime because ten cents is money too around a bank, so that all the owners of that money that he was already vice-custodian of could look at the hat and know that, no matter how little they might a paid for one similar to it, hisn had cost him ten cents less. It wasn't that he rebelled at changing Flem Snopes: he done it by deliberate calculation, since the feller you trust aint necessarily the one you never knowed to do nothing untrustable: it's the one you have seen from experience that he knows exactly when being untrustable will pay a net profit and when it will pay a loss." ( )
  rocketjk | Mar 24, 2020 |

this is the third of the Snopes trilogy, which follows the life of a certain Flem Snopes in his rise from a crook-in-the-road tenant farmer to bank president in Jefferson, Mississippi. in the first two books, we got a good look at what makes Flem Snopes in particular and the Snopes clan in general tick, through various characters including the incredibly interesting V.K. Ratliff (he's my favorite of them all). we were witness to various shenanigans, adventures, and plots; the shifting of power in a family dynasty, a hamlet, and a city; and one especially cold-blooded and disturbing murder. it's in turns bizarre, horrible, hillarious, and utterly believable because it's just too absurd to be made up.

in this perfect conclusion, Flem's wife Eula (easily the most disturbing character, to me) is gone but not forgotten as the daughter Linda has come of age. the city attorney Gavin Stephens cannot seem to wrest his fate away from the course Eula set it on; the ubiquitous, inscrutable V.K. Ratliff cannot seem to wrest Gavin back on the right track either; and the reader cannot help but wince knowing something is going to come down. but, after all, that is why it's called fate.

together with Gavin's now-grown nephew Charles, Gavin and V.K. maintain their vigil against all things Snopes (including a battle to keep one out of Congress itself) as the second World War changes the economy, the voting demographics, and the way of life in Jefferson.

shut away from the world and all its upheavals is the deceivingly diminutive Mink Snopes, serving life in the penitentiary for the murder mentioned above. but Mink has unfinished business on the outside, and he is just biding his time, surely, steadily, with an unearthly patience and simple-minded insanity.

but with Snopeses, one never knows what exactly to expect: Gavin isn't the only one caught up in fate, and Mink isn't the only one with a score to settle... ( )
2 rösta moiraji | Apr 23, 2008 |
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The Mansion completes Faulkner's great trilogy of the Snopes family in the mythical county of Yoknapatawpha, Mississippi, which also includes The Hamlet and The Town. Beginning with the murder of Jack Houston, and ending with the murder of Flem Snopes, it traces the downfall of this indomitable post-bellum family, who managed to seize control of the town of Jefferson within a generation.

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