Isaac McCaslin, 'Uncle Ike,' past seventy and nearer eighty than he ever corroborated any more, a widower now and uncle to half a county and father to no one. (from the first line)
"I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance." --William Faulkner, on receiving the Nobel Prize
"Go Down, Moses" is composed of seven interrelated stories, all of them set in Faulkner''s mythic Yoknapatawpha County. From a variety of perspectives, Faulkner examines the complex, changing relationships between blacks and whites, between man and nature, weaving a cohesive novel rich in implication and insight.
From the Publisher:
Faulkner examines the changing relationship of black to white and of man to the land, and weaves a complex work that is rich in understanding of the human condition.
GO DOWN, MOSES is a cycle of seven interrelated episodes (including the much-anthologized story, "The Bear") examining the complex, changing relationships among the descendents of the McCaslin family in Faulkner's mythical Yoknapatawpha County, in northern Mississippi. The novel recounts the early days of Lucius Quintus Carothers McCaslin, and continues through the lives of his many descendants, both black and white, in a noteworthy exploration of race and miscegenation, and of the impact on the rural population of the South's vanishing wilderness.
William Faulkner was born in Mississippi, where he lived most of his life. He had little formal education. He dropped out of high school in 10th grade and joined the Canadian Air Force, just missing World War I. He was later admitted to the University of Mississippi as a special student, but dropped out after a year to write for a newspaper in New Orleans, where he also wrote fiction and published his first novel, SOLDIERS' PAY. After a brief trip to Europe in his late 20s, he settled down in Mississippi to write, and in 1929 published SARTORIS, the first volume in his Yoknapatawpha saga, which followed the fortunes of several Southern families as they rise and fall from Civil War times to the mid-20th century. Faulkner was also, briefly, a Hollywood script writer in the 1930s, but not a very successful one. The author of numerous novels and short stories, most of them set in his native state, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1950. He also won the Pulitzer and the National Book Award, among other honors. Faulkner once listed the things he needed in order to write as "paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey." At the age of 64, he was injured in a fall from a horse and died shortly thereafter of a heart attack.
"In 'Go Down, Moses', Faulkner comes most passionately to grips with the moral implications of slavery, the American land, progress and materialism, tradition and moral identity--all major themes of the American novel."
- Ralph Ellison