More “Death in the Afternoon”

Someone should write a history of literary smack talk. I suggest the title “From Pope to ‘Pac”

Madame, no decision is irrevocable, but as age comes on I feel I must devote myself more and more to the practice of letters. My operatives tell me that through the fine work of Mr. William Faulkner publishers now will publish anything rather than to try to get you to delete the better portions of your works, and I look forward to writing of those days of my youth which were spent in the finest whorehouses in the land amid the most brilliant society there found. I had been saving this background to write of in my old age when with the aid of distance I could examine it most clearly.

Old lady: Has this Mr. Faulkner written well of these places?

Splendidly, Madame. Mr. Faulkner writes admirably of them. He writes the best of them of any writer I have read for many years.

Old lady: I must buy his works.

Madame, you can’t go wrong on Faulkner. He’s prolific too. By the time you get them ordered there’ll be new ones out.

Old lady: If they are as you say there cannot be too many.

Madame, you voice my own opinion.


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3 Responses to More “Death in the Afternoon”

  1. Dan says:

    Anyone care to explain this to me? It sailed clear over my head.

  2. Evan says:

    It’s a tongue-in-cheek way of saying that Faulkner is an old man who writes (presumably without an editor) non-stop about his experiences in whorehouses as a youth. So not only is he cranking out a constant flow of books about whores (to no obvious aim), but he’s also out of touch while doing it.

    All this done in the context of talking about how admirable this work is to an old lady, who says, all in very gentlemanly conversation, that the world simply can never have too many unedited, out-of-touch books about whores.

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