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Tuesday January 20, 2015

***"The collection contains 'A Rose for Emily,' a Faulkner story often taught in high schools, probably because it’s among his simplest. I must have skipped class that day, because the tale of Emily Grierson, who poisons the suitor who will not marry her and then sleeps next to his corpse, was new to me.

"After I finished I wanted to know more, as readers do, and so I turned to that great resource, the Internet, in the hopes of illumination. And there I saw that Rap Genius, a start-up that has received a lot of funding to annotate lyrics and other texts, had tackled the story. The text was reprinted, and there were annotations throughout.

"None were particularly interesting. Then I saw this, the moment when the suitor comes on the scene: 'The town had just let the contracts for paving the sidewalks, and in the summer after her father’s death they began the work. The construction company came with riggers and mules and machinery, and a foreman named Homer Barron, a Yankee — a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face. The little boys would follow in groups to hear him cuss the riggers, and the riggers singing in time to the rise and fall of picks. Pretty soon he knew everybody in town.'"

***Comment from Lee Gold: "On 1/20/2015 1:36 PM, Daniel S. Goodman wrote:

'I mentioned on-line that Quebec City had the highest percentage of native French speakers of any city. -"Outside of France, of course,"- someone said helpfully. No.'

"This seems to rely on folding 'French' and 'Quebecois' in together as dialects of the same language. I suppose it's defensible, but I'm not absolutely sure the French Academy would agree."

To the best of my knowledge, they do.