Written in 1930, William’s Faulkner’s “tour de force” As I Lay Dying is consistently ranked among the best novels of the 20th-century literature. Utilizing the stream of consciousness writing technique, the novel tells the story through 15 different characters over 59 chapters. It is the story of Addie Burden and her family’s quest and motivations to fulfill her wish to be buried in the town of Jefferson.
William Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949 for his novels prior to that date, including this book. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked As I Lay Dying 35th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
The man himself never stood taller than five feet, six inches tall, but in the realm of American literature, William Faulkner is a giant. More than simply a renowned Mississippi writer, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist and short story writer is acclaimed throughout the world as one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers, one who transformed his “postage stamp” of native soil into an apocryphal setting in which he explored, articulated, and challenged “the old verities and truths of the heart.” During what is generally considered his period of greatest artistic achievement, from The Sound and the Fury in 1929 to Go Down, Moses in 1942, Faulkner accomplished in a little over a decade more artistically than most writers accomplish over a lifetime of writing. It is one of the more remarkable feats of American literature, how a young man who never graduated from high school, never received a college degree, living in a small town in the poorest state in the nation, all the while balancing a growing family of dependents and impending financial ruin, could during the Great Depression write a series of novels all set in the same small Southern county — novels that include As I Lay Dying, Light in August, and above all, Absalom, Absalom! — that would one day be recognized as among the greatest novels ever written by an American.