William Styron has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity with the publication of Darkness Visible (1990), his account of his struggle with near-suicidal depression. His works are known for discussing psychological conflicts within families, religious doubt, existentialism, racial tension, and the role of history in fiction. Often compared with William Faulkner, Styron has emerged as one of the most important figures in contemporary American literature and is best known for his continuation of the Southern gothic tradition. Through original essays, reprints of previously published criticism, and excerpts from reviews, this volume traces the critical reception of Styron's writings over the last 40 years. All of Styron's novels are covered, but the majority of the selections focus on his three most important works: Lie Down in Darkness, The Confessions of Nat Turner, and Sophie's Choice. The pieces reflect a variety of critical perspectives, and the introduction overviews significant trends and omissions in Styron criticism. A bibliography lists Styron's writings, along with critical studies of his work.
The Critical Response to William Styron
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