Absalom, Absalom! tells the story of Thomas Sutpen, the enigmatic stranger who came to Jefferson township in the early 1830s. With a French architect and a band of wild Haitians, he wrung a fabulous plantation out of the muddy bottoms of the north Mississippi wilderness.
Sutpen was a man, Faulker said, "who wanted sons and the sons destroyed him." His tragedy left its impress not only on his contemporaries but also on men who came after, men like Quentin Compson, haunted even into the 20th century by Sutpen's legacy of ruthlessness and singleminded disregard for the human community.
“For range of effect, philosophical weight, originality of style, variety of characterization, humor, and tragic intensity, [Faulkner’s works] are without equal in our time and country.” —Robert Penn Warren
“He is the greatest artist the South has produced. . . . Indeed, through his many novels and short stories, Faulkner fights out the moral problem which was repressed after the nineteenth century [yet] for all his concern with the South, Faulkner was actually seeking out the nature of man. Thus we must turn to him for that continuity of moral purpose which made for greatness of our classics.” —Ralph Ellison