"Shingles for the Lord" (Text Key 246)

short story

Faulkner wrote "Shingles for the Lord" early in summer 1942; his agent, Harold Ober, received it on July 17. The Saturday Evening Post published it, with minor editorial revisions, on 13 February 1943. In 1948, Robert K. Haas proposed to Faulkner the publication of a volume of collected stories, an idea that Faulkner initially resisted as premature. Upon reflection and perusal of Haas' suggested titles, Faulkner embraced the idea and organized the volume by geographical units, with "Shingles for the Lord" second in the opening section, following "Barn Burning." The story was included in The Faulkner Reader (1954), and Faulkner cited it specifically when he praised his editors for encouraging the Collected Stories volume: "the stuff stands up amazingly well after a few years. . . I spent a whole evening laughing to myself about the mules and shingles." An exact date for the story is impossible to determine, but the absence of reference to United States involvement in World War II suggests a pre-Pearl Harbor time frame; the Works Progress Administration came to Mississippi circa 1936. The full rain barrel and temperate weather suggest late spring. Faulkner published two other stories about the Grier family of Frenchman’s Bend, "Two Soldiers" (1942) and "Shall Not Perish" (1943). All three are narrated by the unnamed Grier son, but the perspectives are slightly different. The point of view in "Two Soldiers" is that of a nine-year-old boy. "Shingles" and "Shall Not Perish" have a much-older narrator recounting a significant episode in his past; the 1943 story features the narrator’s relationship with his mother, told elegiacally, and "Shingles" features his relationship with his father, told to great comic effect.

First Publisher: 
Saturday Evening Post
First Publisher Date: 
February 13, 1943
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Edit Copy Publisher: 
Vintage International
Edit Copy Publisher Location: 
New York
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How to cite this resource:
Carothers, James B., and Theresa M. Towner. "Faulkner's 'Shingles for the Lord.'" Added to the project: 2013. Additional editing 2019: Ben Robbins, Lorie Watkins. Digital Yoknapatawpha, University of Virginia, http://faulkner.iath.virginia.edu

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