"That Will Be Fine" (Text Key 4668)

short story

This darkly ironic Christmas story was apparently written in March 1935, and The American Mercury published it in July 1935. It was chosen for inclusion in The Best Short Stories of 1936 and The Yearbook of the American Short Story, yet when Random House editor Robert Haas suggested that Faulkner compile a volume of collected stories, he did not suggest "That Will Be Fine" for inclusion. However, when Faulkner embraced the idea of a collection, he added the story to the list of proposed contents right away. (There is no record of Hass' response to Faulkner's query, "Have you a good reason for not including this?") Collected Stories (1950) reprinted The American Mercury version without change, and the Collected Stories version is the basis for our edition.

Dating the Story: The main events take place over the two days before Christmas: December 23 and 24. The text does not give any direct indication of the year, but since the travel in this story is all by horse and buggy and not by automobile, we have dated its events as occurring near the turn into the 20th century, not long before cars, according to Faulkner's other fictions, began appearing in Yoknapatawpha. But 1904 is an editorial interpretation: as he wrote the story Faulkner could have been thinking of any year between 1900 and 1910 - or just "the old days" in general.

SOURCE: Joseph Blotner, ed., Selected Letters of William Faulkner.

First Publisher: 
American Mercury
First Publisher Date: 
July 1935
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Vintage International
Edit Copy Publisher Location: 
New York
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How to cite this resource:
Carothers, James B., and Theresa Towner. "Faulkner's 'That Will Be Fine.'" Added to the project: 2018. Additional editing 2021: Theresa M. Towner, Erin Kay Penner. Digital Yoknapatawpha, University of Virginia, http://faulkner.iath.virginia.edu

Associate Editors: