'As I Lay Dying' Is Published
As I Lay Dying is a novel by the American author William Faulkner.
The novel was written in six weeks while Faulkner was working at a power plant, published in 1930, and described by Faulkner as a "tour de force". It is Faulkner's fifth novel and consistently ranked among the best novels of 20th century literature. The title derives from Book XI of Homer's The Odyssey, wherein Agamemnon speaks to Odysseus: "As I lay dying, the woman with the dog's eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades."
The novel is known for its stream of consciousness writing technique, multiple narrators, and varying chapter lengths; the shortest chapter in the book consists of just five words.
Faulkner built on a tradition begun by modernist authors like James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. Faulkner used stream-of-consciousness narrative to explore perception and thought as the basis of experience. Objective reality does not exist in As I Lay Dying; we have only the highly subjective interior monologues of fifteen different narrators. Darl, who emerges early as the novel's most important narrator, is eloquent but considered strange by his family and neighbors. He ends up being put into an asylum, with his older brother Cash musing on the definition of "insane." Evaluating "truth" becomes an equally tricky enterprise, with Faulkner depicting a truth as mutable and violent as the river the Bundrens cross midway through the novel.