Intruder in the Past by Lorie Watkins Fulton Whom, exactly, William Faulkner intends readers to envision as the intruder in Intruder in the Dust seems a question almost as complex as the mystery contained within the pages of the novel itself. The lack of any definite candidate for the position, combined with Faulkner's difficulty in selecting a title, tempts one to treat his choice as a throwaway, unimportant because likely chosen in a moment of desperation. The beginnings of his frustration appear in a letter Robert K. Haas, his literary agent, received from him on March 15, 1948, in which he complains, "By the way, first time in my experience, I cant find a title." Actually, he already knew that he wanted to use the phrase "in the dust," and searched only for the perfect word to combine with it. He wrote to Haas, "I want a word, a dignified (or more dignified) synonym for `shenanigan,' `skulduggery'; maybe" (Selected Letters 264 265). Faulkner's correspondence shows that his mild irritation at his inability to choose a title soon escalated, and he followed his first letter with another to Haas approximately a week later proposing Intruder in the Dust
The Southern Literary Journal – University of North Carolina Press
Published: May 31, 2006
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