Quentin Compson II

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Quentin Compson II
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Compson, Quentin MacLachan II
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Ever Present in Yoknapatawpha?: 

There are a few references to Quentin's great-grandfather in the early fictions about the family. In The Sound and The Fury Mr. Compson mentions him when he gives Quentin his grandfather's watch (76). In "A Justice" Sam Fathers tells Quentin the "your great-grandpappy" bought him and his mother as slaves (344). In The Sound and the Fury Quentin himself thinks about the "one of our forefathers [who] was a governor" (101), and when Faulkner added "Appendix Compson" to that novel sixteen years later he gave Quentin's great-grandfather his grandfather's name (Quentin MacLachan Compson, 329) and explicitly identified this Quentin II as the "brilliant and gallant governor" (335) on the family tree. That part of his biography seems to hang together, but other aspects of it conflict with the story of the Compson family as Faulkner tells it elsewhere, and yet other aspects remain conjectural. Faulkner's late novel The Mansion, for example, says explicitly that it is Quentin II who is the first Compson in Yoknapatawpha, that he arrives there in 1821, and acquires the land that became the Compson plantation from Mahataha (mother of Ikkemotubbe); this flatly contradicts what Faulkner says in the "Appendix," where it is Quentin II's father Jason who first arrives in 1811 and acquires the land from Ikkemotubbe. And while our database does identify Quentin II as 'first Compson in Yoknapatawpha' in "A Name for the City," when Faulkner interpolated that story into Requiem for a Nun he explicitly says its Quentin II's father who is 'first Compson.' These inconsistencies cannot be reconciled. Nor can we say with any certainty who is the "Compson" mentioned in "Skirmish at Sartoris" (and again in The Unvanquished): the husband of "Mrs. Compson" who was "locked up for crazy a long time ago" (62, 193). Elsewhere in the Unvanquished stories "Mrs. Compson" is married to General (Lycurgus) Compson, who is fighting for the Confederacy; the only possible Compson who could have been "locked up for crazy" at the time is Quentin II - no matter how hard it is to see the man who shoots potatoes off the heads of enslaved children as the same man as the "brilliant and gallant governor." The several narrators of Absalom! cannot agree on who 'Thomas Sutpen' was in that one text. Who "Quentin MacLachan Compson" was across the seven texts in which he appears or (mainly) is mentioned, or which account of him is most reliable - those are equally if not more unanswerable questions.