A Facsimile and Transcription of
Edited by Thomas L. McHaney
"The publication of a facsimile edition of this document is much to be desired. Because of its exceptionally early date, and because it is very much a working manuscript, it is of considerably greater importance than many of the Faulkner facsimiles already available."
"In this meticulous volume, with its detailed apparatus, McHaney places the book firmly in the context of Faulkner's life with all its shaping circumstances and influences."
In 1987 the University of Virginia Library acquired forty-four handwritten leaves of an early draft of William Faulkner's second novel, Mosquitoes. The discovery of this manuscript created a stir, for although a typescript of the book was well known, this holograph was evidence of an earlier draft of Mosquitoes. It contained previously unknown Faulkner material and provided an unexpected opportunity to observe Faulkner as he identified and defined the techniques of his art. According to Joseph Blotner, "This early stage holograph manuscript probably a first draft, shows him, more clearly than in any other, working his way through the strategies of his early fiction."
Ten years later, on the centenary of Faulkner's birth, the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia and the University of Virginia Library are pleased to sponsor the publication of Mosquitoes: A Facsimile and Transcription of the University of Virginia Holograph Manuscript, in a magnificent large-format edition limited to 500 copies and printed by the Stinehour Press.
Mosquitoes, published by Boni & Liveright in 1927, is set in New Orleans and peopled with artists and dilettantes who, like Faulkner, were drawn to the city during that decade. The Virginia manuscript is roughly a third the length of the finished book, differing from it structurally and containing four passages expunged by the publisher for their eroticism. In his introduction to the current edition, Thomas L. McHaney comprehensively describes what is known about Faulkner during the period he conceived and composed the novel.
The manuscript itself is presented as a series of high resolution photo-facsimiles accompanied on each facing page by a transcription of the holograph leaf. The transcription of the text and of Faulkner's alterations within it employs an innovatively readable system--in plain English--that presents Faulkner's final intentions while faithfully recording every layer of emendation. Notes in the margin provide cross-references to the corresponding parts of the typescript and first edition. An appendix presents in tabular form the relationships of these three stages of what Blotner calls "this crucial novel in Faulkner's early career."
Mosquitoes: A Facsimile and Transcription of the University of Virginia Holograph Manuscript is a fitting acknowledgement, on his one hundredth birthday, of Faulkner's preeminent position in American letters. It is a book for scholars, collectors, and those seriously interested in the literature of the South and of this century.
Thomas L. McHaney is the author of William Faulkner's The Wild Palms: A Study; William Faulkner: A Reference Guide; and many essays on Faulkner's life and work. He is editor of Faulkner Studies in Japan and co-editor (with Joseph Blotner, Michael Millgate, and Noel Polk) on the 25-volume William Faulkner Manuscripts. Currently he is Kenneth M. England Professor of Southern Literature, and Director of Graduate Studies in English, at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
David L. Vander Meulen is the author of Pope's Dunciad of 1728: A History and Facsimile and, with G. Thomas Tanselle, editor of Samuel Johnson's Translation of Sallust: A Facsimile and Transcription of the Hyde Manuscript. He is Professor of English at the University of Virginia and editor of Studies in Bibliography.
View a sample passage from the manuscript
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