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Hunting the Sun

Faulkner’s Appropriations of Balzac’s Writings


Merrill Horton

Hunting the Sun upends all previous Faulkner biography, scholarship, and criticism by tracing to Honoré de Balzac virtually everything in William Faulkner’s œuvre. Faulkner’s work departs, often confusingly, from the traditional Romantic focus of novels. The reason for the confusion is that Faulkner was rewriting Balzac’s La Comedie humaine, itself a prose revision of Dante’s Divine Comedy, in order to create his own comedy. More specifically, Faulkner abandons the metaphysical basis of the earlier works and replaces them with a psychosexual one; for example, Balzac’s «The Succubus» becomes Faulkner’s «Carcassonne», which the American renders an erotic fantasy. Virtually all of Faulkner’s major works, and many of the lesser ones, have direct sources in Balzac’s work.