Friday, December 2, 2011

Faulkner on HBO?

I saw an interesting article in the online magazine Slate today. It seems that David Milch of "NYPD Blue" and "Deadwood" fame has signed a deal with HBO to develop several of William Faulkner's works for television.  Since Milch does have a known - and successful - track record in television, Faulkner's works would appear to be in good hands. Moreover, HBO has a long lineage of doing quality series, so the addition of Faulkner to that lineage is something to look forward to.

The story didn't specify which of Faulkner's many novels or short stories might be showing up on our home screens at some point in the future. Of course, several of his works have been adapted for the big screen in the past. Some have been successful adaptations, some not so successful, but Milch certainly should not be bound or influenced by any of that history.

One hopes that instead he will look at the works with fresh eyes and with the thought of translating them for an audience who may not be that familiar with them. After all, Faulkner has been dead now for almost fifty years. His earliest work was published around 1919 and his most prolific and best period of writing was in the 1930s and 1940s, making his writing now a part of historical rather than contemporary American literature. The Snopes family and Yoknapatawpha County belong now to our dim past, but they represent eternal truths that are as relevant today as when Faulkner first wrote about them and they are certainly as interesting as the members of the Soprano family or the residents of Deadwood.

Good luck to David Milch on this new project. I look forward to viewing its result.

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