Faulkner's writings came to mind after last weekend's murderous assault by Nazis and other white supremacists in Charlottesville.
The Nobel Prize winner's books and short stories examined how the obsession with the "Southern heritage" and the Confederacy crippled the region. At 152 years after the Civil War's end, those repulsive beliefs rise again.
During his time at Charlottesville, where his daughter, Jill, lived with her family, Faulkner frequently spoke before university classes, civic groups, women's clubs and high school students. He also worked on his novel, "The Mansion."
Such a show of civic engagement and intellectual discourse stands in striking contrast to the angry young men bearing torches, inciting violence and bringing about three deaths in the bucolic university town.
Faulkner was hardly a progressive on race; the more than 28 hours of tapes made of Faulkner's Charlotteseville appearances, available for listening on the UVA website, reveal his support of segregation. In his time, he was a voice of moderation and tolerance. His books exposed the South's racism and spoke for the humanity of blacks.
After the violence in Charlotte, I've considered removing the Southern reference in this blog's title. While proud of my Southern roots, I abhor the region's racism and fully support the removal of Confederate monuments.
When I began the blog 10 years ago, I chose the "Southern Bookman" name to honor LSU's Southern Review, which under the editorship of Robert Penn Warren and Cleanth Brooks in the late 1930s showed an international outlook. and an openness to new literary voices.
Moving beyond regionalism and a narrow focus on criticism, the SR first published significant Southern writers like Katherine Anne Porter and Eudora Welty and gained a national reputation for excellence. Warren's presence drew poet Robert Lowell and short story writer/novelist Peter Taylor to Baton Rouge.
I wanted Southern Bookman to emulate Warren and Brooks' vision. While writing about Faulkner, Welty, Walker Percy, Flannery O'Connor and other Southern writers, I've also looked at the work of international artists like Elena Ferrante and Clarice Lispector. While writing about Southern culture, the Civil War and Southern cities, I've also posted pieces on New York, San Francisco and Boston.
Moving beyond books, I've expanded the blog's boundaries to look at movies, music, TV, art, politics, journalism and sports.
The blog's name reflects the best parts of the South, as represented by Warren, Brooks and Faulkner. To change the name would give a victory to the haters.