William Faulkner. Absalom, Absalom! New York: Random House, 1936.
William Faulkner. Absalom, Absalom! New York: Random House, 1951.
The artists hired for the 1951 Modern Library edition and the 1972 and 1987 Vintage Books editions emphasized again the themes of loneliness, alienation, human insignificance, futility, and decline. The reader is struck with the diminutive proportion of the solitary woman; the oppressive, even vengeful, quality of the live oaks draped with Spanish moss; the stark view of the mansion in black silhouette, alone, with nothing nearby to protect it; the single, hard chair for the lone aged survivor (save the idiot mulatto)-- all that's left of a once sumptuous life and an evil, twisted dream based on a property-caste system no longer viable in the New South.
Scholar Melvin Backman remarks in a similar vein when he says that Absalom, Absalom! is Faulkner's cry "from an outraged and anguished heart. . . against an evil implanted in his South." When Quentin Compson ends the novel with his own cry, "I don't. I don't! I don't hate it [i.e. the South]!" he is actually crying out against "the sins of the past unexpiated and the dilemma of the present irresoluble."
William Faulkner. Absalom, Absalom! New York: Random House, 1972.
William Faulkner. Absalom, Absalom! New York: Random House, 1987.