Light in August Around the World

Set in Mississippi and Alabama, William Faulkner’s Light In August traces the journey of pregnant Lena Grove to find Joe Brown, the father of her child, as well as the exploits of Joe Brown’s bootlegging partner Joe Christmas. When asked about the book’s title, Faulkner said, “…in August in Mississippi there’s a few days somewhere about the middle of the month when suddenly there’s a foretaste of fall, it’s cool, there’s a lambence, a luminous quality to the light, as though it came not from just today but from back in the old classic times. It might have fauns and satyrs and the gods and—from Greece, from Olympus in it somewhere. It lasts just for a day or two, then it’s gone. . .the title reminded me of that time, of a luminosity older than our Christian civilization” (from Reading Faulkner: Light in August: Glossary and Commentary by Hugh Ruppersburg).

Light in August was published in 1932, and the first translation was published in French in 1935. Special Collections & Archives has copies of the novel translated into over 10 languages in the Patrick Samway Collection.

English First Printing, 1932

Danish 1981

Spanish 1970

Croatian 1977

Romanian 1973

Portuguese 1973

Japanese 1967

Italian 1974

Hungarian 1964

German 1949

French 1935

Bonus: the University of Michigan has a 1975 Russian version.

Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.

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