Paris, France (Location Key)


Faulkner traveled to Paris in 1925, just before he began writing his first Yoknapatawpha fictions. He went as an aspiring artist, for example to get a glimpse of James Joyce at the Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris. Among his characters who also spend time in Paris are Temple Drake in Sanctuary; in fact, the last page of that novel, describing her state of mind while seated in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, is a slightly revised version of a piece of prose Faulkner wrote while sitting in the same place himself during his trip. When Requiem for a Nun revisits Temple's story, it says she ended up spending a "year in Europe, Paris," at the end of which she and Gowan Stevens are married at the American Embassy there (121); they honeymoon at Cap Ferrat (Cape Ferrat), a very exclusive community on the Mediterranean in the south of France, in a villa built by a prince for his mistress. Gavin Stevens has an affair with a Russian emigree in Paris just after World War I, and some years later meets Mrs. Harriss, whom he will eventually marry back in Jefferson, living in a "select" and "discreet" street within spitting distance "of the Bois de Boulogne" (255). Perhaps the most unlikely Yoknapatawphan to visit Paris is Issetibbeha, the Chickasaw chief who goes abroad on the money he makes by selling "forty head [of slaves] to a Memphis trader" (320). When he returns to Yoknapatawpha, Issetibbeha brings back some of the cast-offs of European culture: a gilt bed, a pair of girandoles reputedly owned by the mistress of King Louis XV, and a pair of slippers with red heels that plays an important role in the politics of the tribe (320). Similarly, but presumably with a less satiric tone, the "Appendix" says that much of the furniture inside the original Compson mansion was imported from France (328). In that "Appendix" Faulkner brings the story of Caddy Compson to an ambiguous anti-climax in France. Her last known address is in Paris, from which she "vanishes" during World War II, "with the German occupation" of the city in 1940 (332). (For more on Caddy and on France in the fictions, see also the entry for "France" in this index.)

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Paris, France