Well I thought I'd go ahead and post some comments anyhow--I haven't yet watched the lectures as my phone line connection makes the streaming lecture a bit shaky.
But what I am loving is everything I didn't love about Faulkner to begin with. No numbered chapters in "As I Lay Dying"--each chapter is first person narrative and named according the character.
I find that a powerful tool of insight, most especially (serenity scurries to get the book) whereas as a writer, I thought I would have to spend time (lotsa time) writing background to give insight to each character; and for example, Cash, the carpenter who builds his mother's coffin, could have been explained, but instead, in a single chapter, his character is beautifully described by a list:
(I hope it's okay to quote it here)
I made it on the bevel.
1. There is more surface for the nails to grip.
2. There is twice the gripping-surface to each seam.
3. The water will have to seep into it on a slant. Water moves easiest up and down or straight across.
4. In a house people are upright two thrids of the time, so the seas and tjoins are made up-and-down. Because the stress is up and down.
5. In a bed where people lie down all the time, the joints and seams are made sideways, because the stress is sideways.
7. A body is not square like a crostic.
8. Animal magnetism.
9. The animal magnetism of a dead body makes the stress come slanting, so the seams and joints of a coffin are made on the bevel.
10. You can see by an old grave that the eartch sinks down on the bevel.
11. While in a natural hole it sinks by the center, the stress being up-and-down.
12. So I made it on the bevel.
13. It makes a neater job."
"As I Lay Dying" - William Faulkner
Vintage International Edition
---this actually blew my mind a bit.
How much more of a characterization can you get than that? It displays the commonsense stoicism of Cash, and I thought perhaps, that certain distance that personal death requires--while today our mores differ, I thought, it is the same.
And it occurred to me that those rituals help us to cope with an incomprehensible situation.
and yep, I'd love to hear other viewpoints on this, and all of "As I Lay Dying."