The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The Corrected Text


9 Critic Reviews

This story requires the reader to employ all means necessary to understand the story and the manner in which the story is told.
-Blog Critics


“I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire. . . . I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.” —from The Sound and the Fury
The Sound and the Fury is the tragedy of the Compson family, featuring some of the most memorable characters in literature: beautiful, rebellious Caddy; the manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their black servant. Their lives fragmented and harrowed by history and legacy, the character’s voices and actions mesh to create what is arguably Faulkner’s masterpiece and  one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.


About William Faulkner

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Born in an old Mississippi family, William Faulkner made his home in Oxford, seat of the University of Mississippi. After the fifth grade he went to school only off and on-lived, read, and wrote much as he pleased. In 1918, refusing to enlist with the "Yankees," he joined the Canadian Air Force, and was transferred to the British Royal Air Force. After the war he studied a little at the University, did house painting, worked as a night superintendent at a power plant, went to New Orleans and became a friend of Sherwood Anderson, then to Europe and back home to Oxford. By this time he had written two novels. The Sound and the Fury followed in 1929. Financial success came with Sanctuary in 1931, which he assisted in filming. Faulkner 's novels are intense in their character portrayals of disintegrating Southern aristocrats, poor whites, and African Americans. A complex stream-of-consciousness rhetoric often involves Faulkner in lengthy sentences of anguished power. Most of his tales are set in the mythical Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, and are characterized by the use of many recurring characters from families of different social levels spanning more than a century. His best subjects are the old, dying South and the newer materialistic South. As I Lay Dying (1930), is a grotesquely tragicomic story about a family of poor southern whites. With Absalom, Absalom! (1936); the difficult parts of his famous short novel "The Bear" (published in Go Down, Moses, 1942); and the allegorical A Fable (1954), a non-Yoknapatawpha novel set in France during World War I; Faulkner returned to an innovative and difficult style that most readers have trouble with. Yet, interspersed among such works are collections of easily read stories originally published in popular magazines. There seems to be a growing sentiment among critics that the Snopes trilogy-The Hamlet (1940), The Town (1957), and The Mansion (1959)-for the most part an example of Faulkner's "moderate" style, could well be among his most important works. Faulkner was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize for literature "for his powerful and artistically independent contribution to the new American novel," but it would appear now that he also deserved to win that honor for his contribution to world literature. When reporting his death, the Boston Globe quoted Faulkner's having once told an interviewer: "Since man is mortal, the only immortality for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move. That is the artist's way of scribbling "Kilroy was here" on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion through which he must some day pass." In addition to the Nobel Prize, Faulkner received the Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1950, and in 1951 he was given the National Book Award for his Collected Stories Collected Stories. For his novel A Fable he received the National Book Award for the second time, as well as the Pulitzer Prize in 1955. The Reivers (1962) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1963. In 1957 and 1958, he was the University of Virginia's first writer-in-residence, and in January 1959 he accepted an appointment as consultant on contemporary literature to the Alderman Library of that university. Although Faulkner was not without honors in his lifetime and has received world recognition since then, it is surprising to learn that, when Malcolm Cowley edited The Portable Faulkner in 1946, he found that almost all of Faulkner's books were out of print. By arranging selections from the works to form a continuous chronicle, Cowley deserves much of the credit for making readers aware of the way in which Faulkner was creating a fictive world on a scale grander than that of any novelist since Balzac. William Faulkner died in Oxford, Mississippi, in 1962.
Published May 18, 2011 by Vintage. 338 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Comics & Graphic Novels, History. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Sound and the Fury
All: 9 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 1

Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by C. Michael Bailey on Feb 07 2007

This story requires the reader to employ all means necessary to understand the story and the manner in which the story is told.

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Reviewed by Peter Kelton on Jun 04 2011

With “The Sound and the Fury,” Faulkner for the first time incorporated several challenging and sophisticated stylistic techniques, including interior monologues and stream-of-consciousness narrative...All of it is rendered in prose so gorgeous it can take your breath away... is recommended without hesitation.

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Suite 101

Above average
Reviewed by Melissa Howard on Oct 17 2007

It is possible to appreciate the complex interweaving of points of view to create a comprehensive story. The greatest satisfaction found in The Sound and the Fury is the ability to say “I read it.”

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Above average
Reviewed by Bonnie on Jun 11 2013

It's a daunting read. I was not prepared for the kind of mental fortitude it would take, nor for the garbled stream-of-consciousness that would make up most of the narrative. I think Faulkner is a genius. I don't hate stream-of-consciousness...I just have Feelings about this reading experience, and I don't know how to make the words come out.

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Literary Kicks

Reviewed by Jamelah Earle on Jul 21 2009

In the end, The Sound and the Fury is a beautiful book not just because the writing will blow your mind if you let it (provided you're the kind of person to love a book solely on the grounds of the writer's use of language, and if you are, you're my kind of person), but because it is about human beings.

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Above average
Reviewed by emilygray on May 13 2015

Deranged, grotesque and, for the first 150 pages, very nearly incomprehensible, The Sound and the Fury is nonetheless one of the most profound and unforgettable books ever written. Utilizing the stream-of-consciousness technique...William Faulkner plunges his readers into the disintegrating psyches of a disintegrating Southern family.

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Book Review Circle

Reviewed by Amrita Dutta on May 28 2015

I must confess that I persevered at reading the novel only because I wanted to know why Faulkner had quoted Macbeth. This novel is not a favourite of mine but I would still recommend it to everyone as a must-read. The sheer power of the author’s art will awe every new reader.

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Reviewed by JACK JOSLIN on Mar 22 2012

The novel is formed like a mosaic, requiring the reader to interpret the prose into a unified whole. Faulkner is not afraid to make the reader work. There's no reason to be as impenetrable as him, but a great deal can be done just with a threadbare plot.

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Literary Corner Cafe Blog

Reviewed by Literary Corner Cafe on Dec 17 2010

I generally don’t reread books. There are just too many books I want to read to go around rereading. However, The Sound and the Fury is one I reread just about every year, and each time I do, I’m rewarded in ways I couldn’t have expected the year before.

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