Donald M. Kartiganer, Howry Chair of Faulkner Studies in the Department of English, and Ann J. Abadie, Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, teach at the University of Mississippi.
The encyclopedia includes nearly 500 alphabetically arranged entries for topics related to Faulkner and his world. Included are entries for his works and major characters and themes, as well as the literary and cultural contexts in which his texts were conceived, written, and published. There are also entries for relatives, friends, and other persons important to Faulkner's biography; historical events, persons, and places; social and cultural developments; and literary and philosophical terms and movements. The entries are written by expert contributors who bring a broad range of perspectives and experience to their analysis of his work. Entries typically conclude with suggestions for further reading, and the volume closes with a bibliography and detailed index.
The essays collected in Faulkner and the Ecology of the South explore Faulkner's environmental imagination, seeking what Ann Fisher-Wirth calls the "ecological counter-melody" of his texts. "Ecology" was not a term in common use outside the sciences in Faulkner's time. However, the word "environment" seems to have held deep meaning for Faulkner. Often he repeated his abiding interest in "man in conflict with himself, with his fellow man, or with his time and place, his environment."
Eco-criticism has led to a renewed interest among literary scholars for what in this volume Cecelia Tichi calls, "humanness within congeries of habitats and en-vironments." Philip Weinstein draws on Pierre Bourdieu's notion of habitus. Eric Anderson argues that Faulkner's fiction has much to do with ecology in the sense that his work often examines the ways in which human communities interact with the natural world, and François Pitavy sees Faulkner's wilderness as unnatural in the ways it represents reflections of man's longings and frustrations. Throughout these essays, scholars illuminate in fresh ways the precarious ecosystem of Yoknapatawpha County.