A clue to the fashioning of Yoknapatawpha County: The New York Times ran a story Wednesday about a diary belonging to some Mississippi slaveholders that appears to have heavily influenced Faulkner. He was fascinated by his contents and apparently took lots of notes. Much of the details in the diaries wound up, in one form or another, in his books. The descendant of the man who kept the diaries suppressed them for years. It was his wife who finally convinced him to make them public (and he doesn’t sound entirely convinced). He is not a Faulkner fan. He let on that he tried to read Go Down Moses once and got so angry that he thew it across the room. What stoked his anger is left a mystery.
Speaking of things coming to light: also in the New York Times books section is an article about some Salinger letters, written to his dear friends, that are now being made public. They contain, among other things, the titillating detail that he kept writing long after his vow of silence. But they don’t tell where the manuscripts are buried.