Montgomery Ward Snopes' Studio (Location Key)


Opened by Montgomery Ward Snopes after he returns from the First World War in The Town, the Atelier Monty transforms a corner store "with a side door on an alley" (127) into what Gavin Stevens calls "a pay-as-you-enter peep show with a set of imported pornographic photographs" (282). The photographs - like Snopes' pretentious name for the establishment - were brought to Yoknapatawpha from France. The building is owned by Mrs. Compson, though the text never says if Jason or his mother know what the Atelier sells. The general population of Jefferson, especially the women, are led to believe it is "a photographing studio" (128), and Snopes does take some photographs that can be displayed in the windows. But as the whole town eventually discovers, the "dark room" in the back is really where he uses a magic lantern to project "pictures of men and women together, experimenting with one another" (171): "most of his business was at night like he did need darkness, his trade seeming to be mostly men now, . . . and the customers going and coming through the side door" (131). In the account of this "nekkid picture business" (57) in The Mansion, we learn that the Atelier's male customers come from "as far away as three county seats" (62).

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