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Ordinary Times / ordinary-times.com

A Place of Culture, Politics, & Discourse

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Hey, J.L. Thanks for this. I just wanted to make sure I clarified something:

I’m not going to comment on the long quotation from Faulkner that Coates focuses on because I haven’t read Intruder in the Dust, except to say that its usage consistently conflates the voices of character and author.

I take this criticism especially given that I wrote “Faulkner wrote…” a phrase that does exactly what you claim. I don’t know if this helps but in my head I’ve always separated the two. I didn’t think Faulkner was expressing his own beliefs about the War, so much as I thought he was channeling a particular white Southern view. But the piece reads as it does, and I don’t say this to rebut your criticism, or to exonerate what I wrote, but to clarify my own thinking. There is a real difference between voice and author. I should have made that point aggressively–both in the piece, and yesterday.

I’m less clear on your point about Foote, so I’m not sure what to say there. I certainly make no brief against his trilogy, and on the contrary have blogged approvingly of it. I also don’t think people shouldn’t confuse Foote’s statements outside of the work, with the work itself. But I think his thoughts on Forrest, as well as, his notion that the Civil War was the result of the failure to compromise, as opposed to result of a series of very real compromises, deserve to be challenged.

At any rate, thanks for engaging the piece. I thoroughly enjoyed your blogging about Foote’s trilogy.


2012-01-13T17:50:16 Ta-Nehisi Coates
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CIVIL WAR MEMORY / cwmemory.com

The Online Home of Kevin M. Levin

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Hey Kevin, thanks for doing this. I really wish they had been as probing yesterday, as they were today. I was sorry to hear that Henry Louis Gates has endorsed this notion. Either way, I’m glad they revisited it. It deserves much more time, and unfortunately, a listener could easily conclude that there is some serious historical debate to be had.

2011-04-13 13:36:03 Ta-Nehisi Coates