No other vel by William Faulkner has experienced the kind of dramatic critical re-evaluation that Sanctuary has received. Published in 1931, it seemed to many readers and critics in the thirties as a terrible misstep on Faulkner's part. It was a violent, vulgar, deliberately sensational work. Over the years, serious Faulkner critics have attempted to go beyond the initial shock of this nightmarish tale and to place it within the context of Faulkner's overall achievement. This volume offers a close examination and interpretation of Sanctuary. Here difficult words and cultural terms that might prove to be a problem for general readers are explained and keyed to page numbers in the definitive Faulkner text (Library of America and Vintage editions). The authors place the book in its historical context and connect it to Faulkner's other works. For students and teachers of Faulkner's fiction this handbook clears away some of the seemingly dissonant logic of the vel and brings coherence to Faulkner's provocative design.
Edwin T. Arnold is a professor of English at Appalachian State University. Dawn Trouard is Associate Provost of Academic Affairs at the University of Akron.