The universality of William Faulkner's vision was perhaps most formally recognized in 1950, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. But even beyond the basic human truths embodied in the people and terrain of Yoknapatawpha County, there is a special kinship between Faulkner's novels and stories of the defeated South and the culture of postwar Japan, itself reeling from the shock of surrender and reconstruction at the hands of a foreign army.
Reflecting this kinship, Faulkner Studies in Japan
brings together some of the finest critical essays on Faulkner published in Japan in recent years along with discussions by several of Japan's leading novelists of Faulkner's influence on their work. The collection includes essay on broad aspects of Faulkner's writing-the influence of T.S. Eliot on the fiction, the pervasive use of motion imagery-and on such individual works as Light in August and the story of "Was" from Go Down, Moses. The book also presents an overview of Faulkner scholarship in Japan by Kiyoyuki Ono and an Afterword by Carvel Collins that recalls Faulkner's visit to Japan in 1955.
At the time of Faulkner's visit, Japanese scholarly interest in his works was already firmly established and in the succeeding years the fascination has, if anything, increased. Commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of Faulkner's four-week tour, Faulkner Studies in Japan explore the natural literary sympathy that the novelist himself recognized when he stated: "I believe that something very like [what happened in the American South] will happen here in Japan in the next few years--that out of your despair and disaster will come a group of Japanese writers whom all the world will want to listen to, who will speak not a Japanese truth but a universal truth.