11 April 2011

William Faulkner Goes Digital

It's a bad sign (for me) that a couple of years ago when I was throwing together a list of my favorite authors (who have since turned up here under the label '26' and might be named elsewhere as 'influences', when I get around to filling out the rest of my author profile at Goodreads) it never even occurred to me to mention Faulkner. Was I taking him for granted? True, I've probably reread only two of his novels in the last 15 years (another bad sign for me), but he was the first contemporary author I can remember buying in hardback as a teenager and was definitely the first author I taught as a graduate student (one of several TAs, that semester, to Faulkner scholar Cleanth Brooks). And my admiration for Faulkner has never wavered.

I'm happy to see that Random House is finally issuing almost all of Faulkner's novels in ebook format this year--one conspicuous exception being Sanctuary, which must after all this time still not be considered 'respectable' enough. Now, the biggest bargain of the lot (three novels for $14.99) has been moved up so as to be first out of the gate next week (alongside a fine collection of Faulkner's 'essays, speeches and public letters'): the Snopes trilogy (made up of The Hamlet, The Town and The Mansion).

There's even some Faulkner you can sample for free online: his 1956 Paris Review interview is available in its entirety, and, if you have access to an iPad and iBooks, you can download a very generous sample of Snopes now at the iBookstore. (Other ebook retailers will provide samples next week.)

ADDED 20 APRIL 2011: This morning Random House added an attractive third Faulkner title to today's ebook releases: the selected short stories (as published in the Modern Library). So far, this ebook is available for download only at Apple's iBookstore. The much more ample collected short stories (like the heretofore omitted Sanctuary) will be available in ebook format next month, according to the Random House website.

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