Requiem for a Nun (Vintage International)
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This sequel to Faulkner’s most sensational, Sanctuary, was written twenty years later but takes up the story of Temple Drake eight years after the events related in Sanctuary. Temple is now married to Gowan Stevens. The book begins when the death sentence is pronounced on the nurse Nancy for the murder of Temple and Gowan’s child. Told partly in prose, partly in play form, Requiem for a Nun is a haunting exploration of the impact of the past on the present.
mid-continental page for the first scratch of orderly recording—a laboratory-factory covering what would be twenty states, established and ordained for the purpose of manufacturing one: the ordered unhurried whirl of seasons, of rain and snow and freeze and thaw and sun and drouth to aereate and slack the soil, the conflux of a hundred rivers into one vast father of rivers carrying the rich dirt, the rich garnering, south and south, carving the bluffs to bear the long march of the river towns,
Jefferson at two oclock in the morning. What would you call it? TEMPLE All right. Touché then. But not Mrs Gowan Stevens: Temple Drake. You remember Temple: the all-Mississippi debutante whose finishing school was the Memphis sporting house? About eight years ago, remember? Not that anyone, certainly not the sovereign state of Mississippi’s first paid servant, need be reminded of that, provided they could read newspapers eight years ago or were kin to somebody who could read eight years ago
hands clenched on her lap, her eyes closed) If you both would just hush, just let me. I seem to be like trying to drive a hen into a barrel. Maybe if you would just try to act like you wanted to keep her out of it, from going into it— GOVERNOR Dont call it a barrel. Call it a tunnel. That’s a thoroughfare, because the other end is open too. Go through it. There was no—sex. TEMPLE Not from him. He was worse than a father or uncle. It was worse than being the wealthy ward of the most
taproots of oak and hickory and gum, leaving the acre-shading tops to wither and vanish in one single season beneath that fierce minted glare; not the rifle nor the plow which drove at last the bear and deer and panther into the last jungle fastnesses of the river bottoms, but Cotton; not the soaring cupola of the courthouse drawing people into the country, but that same white tide sweeping them in: that tender skim covering the winter’s brown earth, burgeoning through spring and summer into
jail—now translated into an integer, a moveable pawn on the county’s political board like the sheriff’s star or the clerk’s bond or the bailiff’s wand of office; converted indeed now, elevated (an apotheosis) ten feet above the level of the town, so that the old buried log walls now contained the living-quarters for the turnkey’s family and the kitchen from which his wife catered, at so much a meal, to the city’s and the county’s prisoners—perquisite not for work or capability for work, but for