I HATE William Faulkner

Okay, so this article is book-related, but not romance-related. This was one of my most popular posts from my old writing-related site, and I couldn’t help but want to share it here. It’s as true today as it was when I first wrote it.

Buckle up – it’s rant time…


As an English major, I had to take an entire class on William Faulkner. I hated him then and I hate him now. Before taking this class I had read some of his short stories, which were halfway normal. Nothing to write home about but nothing to get all up in arms about either.

Then I was introduced to his novels. It wasn’t long before I started referring to him as the Dark Leader of Literature. I wore all black clothes and listened to the Darth Vader theme music on the way to class (I really did. It was like my own inside joke and helped me get through the misery).

I really really hated him.

If you’ve never read any of his books…you’re luckier than I am! Haha, I kid.

No I don’t. I wish I’d never heard of the guy… Anywho, in case you had nicer teachers than I did and you were never subjected to his work, Faulkner’s novels are written in some kind of wacky, stream-of-consciousness, incomprehensible way that lots of people think is brilliant but I think it just reads like old Willy was sniffing glue. Half the time you can’t figure out who the hell is talking and you can’t decipher what they are prattling on about.

Seriously, reading his books is like trying to solve a math problem. Not exactly fun to cozy up with in bed with a cup of tea.  I was too busy throwing the book at the wall and shaking my fist at the sky (when I should have been shaking it at the ground. At least that’s where he should have ended up after putting me through a whole semester of torture.)

It just annoys me when people go on and on about how brilliant Faulkner is and about how his wonderful books are a superb commentary on the South and all that. I’m sure there’s some brilliance in there SOMEWHERE, but I’m too busy trying to figure out what the hell is going on. It’s hard to lose yourself in a story when you can’t even tell which character is talking and you find yourself fantasizing about setting the book on fire and slowly watching it burn….

I confess it’s been eighteen years since I took that class. I’m older, wiser, and have written five novels and ten screenplays as of this writing (Fun Fact: William Faulkner was a failed screenwriter. Hahahahha! Sorry…back to the blog…) I’ve read a lot and written a lot since then. Perhaps I should go back and read some of his work as a mature adult to see if my opinion has changed.

Yeah. Not gonna happen.

If I’m not getting graded and I don’t have to write a paper on it, I’m not going near Faulkner’s books.

On the plus side, Faulkner’s dead so he can’t write any more books!

Sorry, that was mean. But I’m okay with it.

If you wanna talk classic literature, this guy is way more my speed.

“My books are water; those of the great geniuses is wine. Everybody drinks water.”  – Mark Twain

Well said.

Suck it, Faulkner.

  • Linda Fausnet

P.S. I wrote this article several years ago and I am happy to state that nothing has changed. I STILL hate William Faulkner, and have enjoyed my Faulkner-free years with much verve and gusto.

I was in Barnes and Noble a few years ago and, just for funsies, I took a look in the fiction section to see where my books might end up should I ever get traditionally published. Looking under the FAU fiction section, it dawned on me that my books would be smack dab right next to my good buddy Faulkner.

As a self-pubbed author, my work isn’t exactly on the shelves of Barnes and Noble. However, my debut novel *is* on the library shelves:

I get a huge kick out of the fact that my rainbow-colored novel about gay equality, QUEEN HENRY, is nestled snugly next to Faulkner’s “classic” novel, THE SOUND AND THE FURY.

I don’t know if Faulkner is chuckling or rolling in his grave, but this sure made me smile…

5 thoughts on “I HATE William Faulkner”

  1. I agree 100%! Your math problem analogy is spot on. The Sound and the Fury was like reading the work of a schizophrenic. I tried him again recently, reading 1935’s Pylon and it was terrible. He seemed to be obsessed with combining tow or even three words together as a single word. It became irritating. The plot was vague and his bizarre sentence structure moved the action at a snail’s pace with very little character development. I gave it 100 pages and gave up. There was a plane race, a sexual threesome and a reporter and they walked around a lot and spoke in vagaries. Reading it was like trying to walk through knee-deep mud, or as he would put it kneedeep mud. I disliked it so much that I had to remove it from my house as if it were an evil totem, (or as he would put it eviltotem). Thank you for letting me know that I am not the only one who feels that this “literary genius” is extremely overrated and his writing is pretentious and willfully, difficultly written. Bah!

  2. Agree 100%, I felt bad for years for never reading America’s greatest author, (according to the french) but midway through Absalom Absalom, and the more I read the more pissed off I get, I feel like yelling stop with embellishing every single trivial thing and just tell us what’s going on!!!! He must have been getting paid per word… like going on and on about how evil Supten was with exaggerated metaphors and adjective on top of adjectives, but never demonstrating what he did that was so bad, and I’m not going to slog it out just to find out he had sex with a black lady.. so dumb the whole thing.

  3. I was also an English major, but at my alma mater the only required author course was Shakespeare. I also took an elective on John Milton. Did you go to college in Mississippi?

    1. Hi there,

      No, my college was in Maryland actually! I guess my English teacher just liked William Faulkner…

  4. Faulkner is awful. So is the deep south in general, and Mississippi in particular. So maybe his value is as a psychotic spokesperson for a hellish place.

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