Monday, September 23, 2013

Noel Polk


“The whole Brownlee 
episode appears set 
aside in a parenthesis, 
as though merely a 
subsidiary clause”
—Noel Polk, “ Reading the 
ledgers,” The Mississippi 
Quarterly 07-01-2002

Dear Noel, I completed my GDM postings on Percival Brownlee: “The Percival Brownlee Ledgers,” “Percival Brownlee Redux” and “Interview with Percival Brownlee.” Thanks to your Mississippi Quarterly seminal essay, I was able to see how all the other Faulkner critics (except you) avoided the Brownlee ledger episode in GDM like the plague, a sexual literary taboo. Miscegenal & incestuous sexuality was just too much for them. 

Like Isaac many critics suppress the Brownlee issue—which to me is the key to GDM text. It’s true that what Faulkner leaves out is often more important than what he actually puts in. A subtle modernist technique—to let the Reader play with the text & imagine as much as he or she can. So much lit crit avoiding the obvious which to me as a gay poet is as simple as reading the Ledger entries. 

Sorry to bother you, but it’s been on my mind since reading your Mississippi Quarterly essay. I see similarities to TSATF. Absalom, Absalom, As I Lay Dying and the Snopes cycle. The gay subtext is deeper than most people think; deeper than the Tallahatchie or Mississippi. I felt it at LSU down by the levee. And Allen Hall with Wildman. The undertow in me & the Deep South… Dennis

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