When Faulkner decided to excerpt a section from the manuscript of Requiem for a Nun and publish it as a short story in 1950, he added an opening paragraph featuring Gavin Stevens and his unnamed nephew. Knight's Gambit, in which four of the six Gavin stories had been narrated by or told from the perspective of his nephew, had just come out the year before, so Faulkner could expect readers would be very familiar with the phrase "Uncle Gavin," the second and third words in the text. Though Gavin is talking about television, airplanes and space ships in at the start of the paragraph, the story itself is about the earliest days in Yoknapatawpha's history. To make a transition between Gavin's voice and the events from 150 years ago, the narrator describes how the many times he has listened to Gavin "tell me the old tales" has made that distant past live. After this first paragraph, Gavin and his nephew and the Stevens family disappear from the story; interestingly, here the first three white settlers are named Holston, Grenier and Habersham - in "Hand Upon the Waters" (1931), they had been Holston, Grenier, and Stevens. The net result is contradictory: in "A Name for the City" the connection between family and the past is both conceptually strengthened and historically diminished.

Display Name: 
"A Name for the City"
Sort Name: 
Stevenses in A Name for the City
Family Key: 

Affiliated Characters

Uncle Gavin - "A Name for the City"
Unnamed Narrator - "A Name for the City"