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Virginia Quarterly Review Brings Out Forgotten Short Story

Unpublished William Faulkner Short Story Found By Scholar Cleaning Out His Files

June 11, 1999 -- An unpublished short story by William Faulkner, rejected by Harper’s and The Atlantic Monthly in 1948, will finally be published in the upcoming issue of The Virginia Quarterly Review.

"Lucas Beauchamp: An Unpublished Story" will appear for the first time in the Summer 1999 issue of the Virginia Quarterly, out next month. A version of the short story has appeared as the first chapter of Faulkner’s 1948 novel, Intruder in the Dust.

The story, as Faulkner wrote his agent, Harold Ober, on Feb. 1, 1948, was about "a relationship between Negro and white, specifically or rather the premise being that the white people in the south … owe and must pay a responsibility to the Negro."

Faulkner scholar Patrick Samway, S.J., the Will and Ariel Durant Professor of Humanities at St. Peter’s College, Jersey City, N.J., received a copy of "Lucas Beauchamp" (pronounced BEE cham) from the files of Faulkner’s agent in February 1975 as he conducted research on Intruder in the Dust. The next year, Samway published an article titled "Faulkner’s Hidden Story in ‘Intruder in the Dust,’" in the French literary journal Delta. The story was not included in the 1979 volume of Faulkner’s Uncollected Stories.

Busy with his duties as the literary editor of America magazine for the past 15 years, Samway forgot about the Faulkner story. But nine months ago, as he was cleaning out his files, he unearthed his copy of the typescript.

Samway believes the find is significant because the story sheds light on the themes that preoccupied Faulkner, the techniques he used, and how his work changed through rewriting.

"‘[Lucas Beauchamp]’ is a story of black and white, old and young, suffused with a sense of debt," Samway said. "The debt relates to the larger social issue in the South in the 1940s, the debt whites owe to blacks, and how to repay that debt."

While interesting to the general public -- as Samway said, "It’s a Faulkner story and any Faulkner story is significant," -- the find is likely to be even more intriguing to Faulkner scholars.

"By juxtaposing the short story and the novel, the short story may help illustrate the novel and vice versa," Samway said. "It allows a reader, a scholar, to think about how these two works are in tension with one another. You can see relations between the two and see themes in a new way."

So, why did Harper’s and the Atlantic reject "Lucas Beauchamp?"

"Faulkner’s star had not risen then," Samway said. In the 1940s, many of Faulkner’s books were out of print. It wasn’t until he received the Nobel Prize in 1950 that his popularity rose and his books were reprinted. They’ve rarely been out of print since.

Once Samway rediscovered the story in his files, he contacted The Virginia Quarterly Review about publishing it because of the journal’s affiliation with the University of Virginia, where Faulkner once taught. VQR Editor Staige Blackford contacted Samway within days of receiving the story. After Joseph Blotner, a Faulkner biographer and former professor of English literature at the University of Virginia, authenticated it, Blackford expressed his interest in publishing the short story.

This summer, more than 50 years after Faulkner wrote "Lucas Beauchamp," it finally will be published.

Faulkner (1897-1962) came to U.Va. in 1957 as the University’s first writer-in-residence. He later served as consultant on American literature to Alderman Library and in 1961 was elected Balch Lecturer in American Literature, a position he held until his death in 1962.

Samway conducted much of the research for his 1980 book, Faulkner’s ‘Intruder in the Dust’: A Critical Study of the Typescripts, at U.Va.’s Alderman Library, which holds one of the largest collections of Faulkner’s work. The library collection is built around the papers Faulkner himself kept and deposited permanently in 1959 along with other materials deposited over the years by Jill Faulkner Summers, Faulkner's daughter, collector Linton Massey, other benefactors, and purchases. The collection contains typescript copies (or carbons of such copies) of most of Faulkner’s novels along with handwritten manuscripts of Flags in the Dust, The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary, Light in August, and The Wild Palms. The collection also preserves typescripts and manuscripts of many of Faulkner's stories and essays; galley and page proofs, revised and unrevised, of many of the novels; and numerous letters, photographs, and drawings.

The Virginia Quarterly Review, a literary journal published by the University of Virginia since 1925, will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year.

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For more information, call Faulkner scholar Patrick Samway, S.J., at (212) 581-4640; Joseph Blotner, Faulkner biographer, at (804) 984-1511; Donald Kartiganer, the William Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies at The University of Mississippi and director of Mississippi’s annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, at (662) 236-7194; or Staige Blackford, editor of the VQR, at (804) 924-3124. For review copies of the journal, call Janna Olson, VQR managing editor, at (804) 924-3124.

Information on Alderman Library’s Faulkner Collection

Contact: Charlotte Crystal, (804) 924-6858.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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