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#573 William Faulkner and the Civil War - Michael Gorra

The Not Old - Better Show

Release Date: 09/12/2021

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William Faulkner and the Civil War - Michael Gorra

The Not Old Better Show, Smithsonian Associates Series

Welcome to The Not Old Better Show on KSCW.  That’s Barbara Dane and The Chambers Brothers playing ‘It Isn’t Nice” their version of the popular politically charged gospel and civil rights song.  I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful Saturday morning.  So great to be with you today, following, of course,  another excellent Community Chat with Gary Cohen, and good morning and welcome to the Not Old Better Show on KSCW. 

As part of our Smithsonian Associates Art of Living series, we have another excellent interview today for you with author, historian, award-winning, Pulitizer Prize finalist writer Michael Gorra.  Michael Gorra will be presenting at the upcoming Smithsonian Associates program via Zoom, Sept 27, 2021, and details, and more information can be found on our website, and we’ll be talking about another author, William Faulkner.  

He was an uncompromising modernist, a great chronicler of the American South, and inspiration—as well as an immovable obstacle—for the generations of writers who followed. William Faulkner (1897–1962) stands as one of the greatest, and one of the most problematic figures in American literature.

Faulkner was Mississippi-born—a white man of his time and place who did not always rise above it. Yet his work also provides a burning account of the intersection of race, region, and remembrance: a probing analysis of a past that we have never yet put behind us. He set almost all his work in what he called an “apocryphal” territory, the imaginary Yoknapatawpha County in northern Mississippi. He carried characters and plotlines over from one book to another, as if the land itself were sprouting a story in which everything and everyone was connected. 

Michael Gorra will be reading to us from his new book, ‘The Saddest Words,’ so stick around for this enlightening, historical interview with Michael Gorra.  

My thanks to Michael Gorra for his time, expertise, and thoughtful preparation in joining me today. My thanks to   My thanks, always, to the Smithsonian team for all they do to support the show.  Of course, my thanks to you, our wonderful Not Old Better Show audience here on KSCW.  Please keep your emails coming to me at [email protected].  Remember, let’s talk about better.  The Not Old Better Show on KSCW.  Thanks, everybody.

"But what really matters in his Mississippi isn't finally the lost war, the Lost Cause; nor is it the quarrel between the mythic grace of the Old South and the grasping hands of the New. What matters are all of the wasted years since. What matters is the century between the Emancipation Proclamation and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The legacy--the final meaning--of the Civil War lives on in the things undone, the work unfinished and the wounds unbound; it lives in the continued resistance to any attempt at amelioration. It lives in our quarrels; it lives today in the battle of the blue and the red."

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