Doctor Lucius Peabody

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Doctor Lucius Peabody
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Peabody, Doctor Lucius
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Doctor Lucius Peabody is the only character who appears in the first three Yoknapatawpha novels: Flags in the Dust, The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying. He is only mentioned by Quentin in the second, but makes memorable appearances in the other two. According to Flags, he is "the fattest man" in the county (94). His medical practice takes him "out at any hour of the twenty-four in any weather and for any distance, over practically impassable roads in a lopsided buckboard to visit anyone, white or black, who sent for him" (95). He was Colonel Sartoris' regimental surgeon during the Civil War, and his roots in Yoknapatawpha probably go all the way back to the earliest days of the settlement: there is an earlier 'Doctor Peabody' mentioned in Requiem for a Nun. He treats the upper class Sartorises, Compsons, and so on, but also the poor white Bundrens. The one black person he treats is the girl whom Boon shoots in The Reivers - at least, it is to his office that she is taken for treatment, though in that instance he himself remains offstage. He appears altogether in six novels and two short stories, and Faulkner, who clearly has a great affection for him, may have been thinking of him in other texts where the doctor is unnamed.