"Gold Is Not Always" (Text Key 2088)

short story

Faulkner wrote "Gold Is Not Always," his second story featuring Lucas Beauchamp, in the winter of 1939-1940, a few months after he wrote the first, "A Point of Law." Five publications turned down the story before The Atlantic Monthly accepted it; it appeared in the November 1940 issue. Our representation of it is based on the text as published in Joseph Blotner’s Uncollected Stories of William Faulkner, in which Blotner notes that the surviving typescript of nineteen pages contains two significant revisions between typescript and publication: "One of these amplifies the tracking of Edmonds' missing mule and the other further describes the growing frenzy of the divining-machine salesman" (693). In the summer of 1941, Faulkner incorporated the story into the novel Go Down, Moses, where it provides the basis for Section 2 of the chapter titled "The Fire and the Hearth"; during revision, he toned down Lucas' dialect - "He's done come," for example, is changed to ""He's come" - but left most of the rest of the published version intact. The greatest alteration of the story's themes emerges from the major additions he made to that version. He elaborated the relationship between Lucas and the white Edmonds family, so that now the short story's comic motif of treasure-seeking is juxtaposed to the powerful strokes of tragedy provided by the haunting accounts of Lucas' jealousy over what he imagines is his wife's affair with Zack Edmonds, and the anguish of Roth Edmond's broken friendship with Lucas' son Henry. These additions complicate Lucas' character and the issue of race in ways that the two short stories about him don't seem to anticipate, and add layers of meaning to the McCaslin-Edmonds-Beauchamp genealogy.

First Publisher: 
The Atlantic Monthly Magazine
First Publisher Date: 
November 1940
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Edit Copy Publisher: 
Vintage International
Edit Copy Publisher Location: 
New York
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How to cite this resource:
Railton, Stephen, and Theresa M. Towner. "Faulkner's 'Gold Is Not Always.'" Added to the project: 2016.  Additional editing 2021: Erin Kay Penner; 2022: John Corrigan. Digital Yoknapatawpha, University of Virginia, http://faulkner.iath.virginia.edu

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