In both Flags in the Dust (1929) and As I Lay Dying (1930), Faulkner spells the family name "MacCallum." When he brings them back a decade later - first in The Hamlet (1940), then five other texts - it's "McCallum." But the role the family plays in the Yoknapatawpha saga remains constant. To use the term that Faulkner inherits from Southern culture, they are yeomen. They live about fifteen miles northeast of Jefferson, in a rugged setting that seems to provide a refuge from the vices of both the plantation South with its aristocrats and slaves and the modern South with its Snopeses. The family is entirely male: the family patriarch - Virginius in Flags and Old Anse in "The Tall Men" (1941) - has five or six children, all sons. The women in the family are not mentioned in six of the eight texts where MacCallum|McCallums appear, and in the other two, all the women on the family tree (a total of four wives) are dead. The family values passed on from fathers to sons are the traditionally masculine virtues of courage, loyalty, independence. The men are farmers, hunters, horsemen, and most quintessentially soldiers. As a young man at the start of the Civil War, the patriarch walks from Mississippi to Virginia to fight on the soil the family originally came from. Half a century later his youngest son, Buddy, is decorated for valor fighting in the trenches of the First World War. Two decades later still, Buddy's twin sons Anse and Lucius are ready to report for duty at the start of World War II.

One curious aspect of the place the MacCallums occupy in the Yoknapatawpha canon is its relationship to the place of the McCaslins, the upper-class family of slave-owners and landlords at the center of the novels Go Down, Moses (1942) and, in the family's extended branches, Intruder in the Dust (1948) and The Reivers (1962). On the two maps of Yoknapatawpha that Faulkner himself drew, the families literally occupy the same place in the county's northeastern corner: the MacCallums on the first (1936) and the McCaslins on the second (1946). The patriarchs have similarly latinate names: Virginius and Lucius Quintus. In both families there is an interest in interbreeding foxes and foxhounds. And there is even a "Lucius" in the youngest generation of MacCallums. It's not clear that Faulkner consciously created these similarities, but in any case if the MacCallum|McCallums represent a Southern tradition that needs to be perpetuated, the McCaslin legacy is so morally comprised that the grandson of Lucius Quintus Carothers McCaslin renounces it.

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MacCallum Family Biography