A haunting photographic guidebook to an imaginary place synonymous with Southern fiction
Accomplished photographer George G. Stewart has crafted a pictorial study of the vanishing southern landscape that William Faulkner so richly captured as the mythical north Mississippi county of Yoknapatawpha. Through eighty-four black-and-white photographs, Stewart records—and in some instances re-creates—authentic scenes and objects represented in Faulkner's fiction, conjoining these original, haunting visuals with corresponding passages from classic Faulkner texts. Stewart conveys a richly gothic perspective on a bygone South where equal sway is commanded by darkness and light, past and present, legacy and destiny. These photographs present the few monuments, locales, and landmarks in or near Mississippi's Lafayette and Tippah counties that have survived the rigors of time and commercial progress to stand as the last visible links to the world from which Faulkner's fiction emerged.
In this guidebook to an imaginary realm, Stewart ably illustrates both place and tone by adapting Faulknerian literary techniques in his photography. The use of double exposure in some images evokes the stream of consciousness, foreshadowing, and doubling employed by Faulkner in his writing. The sequencing of images recalls the discontinuous circling of themes and fracturing of narratives in the writer's vision and depicts the South on the brink of transition, yet still mired in the morass of an inescapable past. The juxtaposition of Stewart's distinctive photography with samplings from Faulkner's writing offers a provocative glimpse across an iconic but disappearing southern landscape soon to exist only in artistic imaginings such as this.
The volume also includes a foreword by Robert W. Hamblin, director of the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University.
A native of New Orleans with family ties to Mississippi, George G. Stewart is a retired academic librarian and an affiliate of the Atlanta Photography Group. He completed graduate studies at Tulane University and the University of Denver and has taught courses on library science, literature, William Faulkner, and southern culture. His Faulkner-inspired photography has been featured in Southern Cultures and the Faulkner Newsletter & Yoknapatawpha Review. He lives near Atlanta, Georgia.
"In this unique photographic rendering of William Faulkner's fictional world, Stewart presents scenes that are, to use Faulkner's terms, 'sublimated,' from the 'actual' into the 'apocryphal.' Whether attending to wholly natural subjects or built structures, the photographs invoke the world of fiction, a world in many ways now lost yet sufficiently present in these images to provide a virtual vision of Faulkner's wonderfully evocative prose."—Donald M. Kartiganer, Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies, director of the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conferences, University of Mississippi
"Stewart elegizes in stark black and white a haunted reality as he captures, perhaps for the final time, the last traces of Faulkner's places, disintegrating and soon to be lost. Behold in Stewart's mirror the faces of the past; ruined mansions; abandoned barns; evidence of bloodshed and war; dark, cypress-strewn rivers and bayous; and weather-worn graves—the disappearing ghosts of Yoknapatawpha."—Sally Wolff-King, assistant vice president, Emory University, and coauthor of Talking about William Faulkner: Interviews with Jimmy Faulkner and Others
"In this elegant and sophisticated photographic study, Stewart's camera responds to Faulkner and his world as readers do: the shock of insight, the mysteries of the physical and emotional landscape, the warmth of connection, the pounding of the heart."—Noel Polk, professor emeritus of English, Mississippi State University, and editor of corrected text editions of William Faulkner's novels