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

Missing Posts: If you have a link to a post that's not here or are looking for posts from Summer of 2010, check this page.


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: 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 […]

Various Reactions to James Franco’s Adaptation of As I Lay Dying


Darl is clearly a poet and seer of sorts in the book; his monologues are full of rich language, and it becomes clear that he is picking up upon and understanding events that no other character understands.  That’s his role in the book, and, in the end, when he burns down the barn […]

Albert Murray, who died this week at 97, wrote a poem about William Faulkner

The writer Albert Murray, who went to Tuskegee at the same time as Ralph Ellison, died this week.  There’s a nice Slate piece about him, where I learned that Murray wrote a poem about William Faulkner.  Worth checking out.  There’s also mention of Murray sending a recipe for Dean and Larry Wells’s Great American […]

Bloomberg reports on the decision in Faulkner vs. Woody Allen

The decision was July 18th, so I suppose a notice of appeal would be due today, if there were to be one.  Nothing has turned up on the docket as of this writing (2:30 in the afternoon).

Literary frontier jails– B. Traven and William Faulkner

Ben’s remark about Requiem for a Nun drove home for me how strong the similarities are between the description of the frontier jail in Jefferson is to the jail B. Traven describes in the first of his Jungle Novels, Government.

You may be somewhat familiar with Traven from his novel Treasure of the Sierra Madre (or perhaps the John Huston movie staring Humphrey Bogart).  That novel is one of a large body of work.  In the thirties, Traven wrote a series of novels about the Mexican Revolution, the Jungle novels.  Here’s his account, from the first of the Jungle novels, Government, of the construction of a jail in a Indian community in the years just before the Mexican Revolution:

The door of the prison was made of roughly hewn planks, which were fitted together without nails.  The grating consisted of heavy pieces of wood, cut out at the intersections so they fit into one another.  Each opening was wide enough for a prisoner to put his head through if he wanted to.

The door had no lock.  There was an iron staple on the door-post, so emaciated by rust that it seemed to have galloping consumption.  If anyone had put a stick through this staple and given it a twist, it would have yield up  the ghost with a faint crack and been of no further use in this world or the next.

There was a chain looped around the bar of the grating nearest the doorpost.  It suffered from the same tubercular complaint as the staple.  Its links were so eaten away with rust that any of them could have been crusthed between the finger and thumb.

A padlock was passed through the last link of the chain and the staple.  The lock did not work, for its mechanism was rusted and immovable, but that did not enter into the question, for don Gabriel had no key.  When he shut a prisoner in he merely lowered the hoop of the padlock as far as it would go.  Since the works of the lock had long since fallen out of the race, there was no click to show that it had gone home.  When don Gabriel released a prisoner he simply raised the hoop of the padlock.

This really brought to mind the account of the settlement of Jefferson and the Square in William Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun, where notorious bandits are caught and placed in the.. Continue reading Literary frontier jails– B. Traven and William Faulkner

Watch Dean Faulkner Wells on MPB tomorrow at 8:30

I will let her husband Larry tell the basics, but I want to emphasize how fine this interview is. If you have any interest in Faulkner, literature, or local history… actually, its just a great interview. Highly recommend. Here is the deal–

Watch Mississippi Public Broadcasting tomorrow night (Thurs 8:30 pm) for “Homage to […]

On Jackson Avenue

Parked on Jackson Avenue by the Eagle office, across from the Federal Court. Maybe they drove up from Vicksburg for the Faulkner conference.

Alternate title: the past’s fiction is not made up, it’s driving around in Jefferson.