I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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Notes on Re-Reading: “That Evening Sun” and The Sound and the Fury

“Jason!” mother ssaid. She was speaking to father. You could tell that by the way she said the name. Like she believed that all day father had been trying to think of doing the thing she wouldn’t like the most, and that she knew all the time that after a while he would think [...]

Notes on Re-Reading: Dam and Damn in Noel Polk’s rewriting of The Sound and the Fury

I’ve been looking at the Norton Critical Edition of The Sound and the Fury today.  It uses the Noel Polk “corrected” text.  Laying aside other qualms, one thing I’ve tripped over, repeatedly, is that the Polk version of Faulkner consistently spells damn without the final n (Jason damns a lot of things), while the [...]

Notes On Re-reading: Self-Assessment Department

It is not a book I enjoy re-reading but there are one or two funny scenes which redeem it from banality.

-Evelyn Waugh, from his 1964 preface to a reprint of his 1930 novel Vile Bodies.   They did not pull this quote to use as a blurb.

January 2015 reading list

The Sound and the Fury 

I’ve posted a number of thoughts about rereading this one.  It’s been about 12 years since I last read it, and I think this was the 6th or 7th time through.  Each time I see new things in the book; this time it was a more complete [...]

Notes on Re-reading from an unexpected source

Near the end of Evelyn Waugh’s  A Handful of Dust, one of the characters, on an expedition into parts of the Amazon, becomes sick and lost and gets rescued by a guy raising cattle.  The rescuer is part native and part English, and grew up with his father reading to him, but never learned to [...]

Notes on re-reading: Decoding the April 7th section of The Sound and the Fury

The final events of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury take place over Easter weekend of 1928.  The first section, “April Seventh, 1928,” is from Benjy Compson’s point of view and takes place on Saturday, although with Benjy free-associating across time from the 1890s to 1928.  The last two sections, April 6th and April 8th, [...]

Notes on re-reading: “all time and injustice and sorrow become vocal for an instant…”

Then Ben wailed again, hopeless and prolonged.  It was nothing.  Just sound. It might have been all time and injustice and sorrow become vocal for an instant by a conjunction of planets.

Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

Notes on re-reading: Blue jays go to Hell on Fridays and The Sound and the Fury

One of the Southern sayings of my childhood was that “blue jays go to Hell on Fridays” (my father’s punch-line was to always, having raised this on any day but Friday, ask if any listener could specifically recall seeing a bluejay on Friday).  Apparently, the part of the folk-tale I never heard was that they went [...]

An Evelyn Waugh character explains how to read the newspaper (or other media)

I read the newspapers with lively interest. It is seldom that they are absolutely, point-blank wrong. That is the popular belief, but those who are in the know can usually discern an embryo truth, a little grit of fact, like the core of a pearl, round which has been deposited the delicate layers of [...]

“If the flames of anger rise any higher in this land, your name on your tombstone will be covered with dirt.” dissident Iranian poet Simin Bahbani has died.

Simin Behbahani, the poet known as “the Lioness of Iran,” has died at 87.  I’ve only read a few of her poems, but she seems to have been a master of justified righteous fury.  As an example, here’s her poem about the 2009 uprising known as the “Green Revolution”

Stop Throwing My Country [...]