Virginia (Location Key)


Various places in Virginia are mentioned in a score of fictions. Eight are gathered into the "Virginia in Civil War" entry in this index, and three into the "Unversity of Virginia" entry. Nine more are gathered here, beginning with Absalom, Absalom! - where Thomas Sutpen's family travels west to east across the whole state over perhaps several years before he reaches adolesence. The part of Virginia where their journey begins, the mountains that would become the new state of West Virginia during the Civil War, and the part where it ends, the Tidewater that was the first place the English colonized in the U.S., have separate entries too. The long journey across the rest of the state that the family takes in "a lop-sided two wheeled cart" pulled by "two spavined oxen" occupies only a few dense pages in the novel (181), but what the details emphasize is the "fall" from the egalitarian frontier world into the class- and race-conscious slave-owning South (180). "My Grandmother Millard" includes an event that occurs "in the office of the Richmond editor" of a Southern periodical (673). Many of the whites who settle Yoknapatawpha in other fictions hale from Virginia - including V.K. Ratliff's first American ancestor; in The Mansion Ratliff insists on taking the train to New York so he can see the places in Virginia where that ancestor spent time (184). In The Sound and the Fury, Quentin Compson is in Virginia on a train going the other way, from Harvard to Mississippi, when he sees an old Negro on a mule and feels a sense of homecoming (86-88). And of course, the name of the town at the center of Faulkner's county, "Jefferson," also comes from Virginia, by a process that is described in "A Name for the City" and Requiem for a Nun.

Display Name: 
Sort Name: