William Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi, in September 1897; he died in Mississippi in 1962. Faulkner achieved a reputation as one of the greatest American novelists of the twentieth century largely based on his series of novels about a fictional region of Mississippi called Yoknapatawpha County, centered on the fictional town of Jefferson, Mississippi. The greatest of these novels--among them The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, and Absalom, Absalom!--rank among the very finest novels of world literature.

Faulkner was especially interested in moral themes relating to the ruins of the Deep South in the post-Civil War era. His prose style--which combines complex, uninterrupted sentences with long strings of adjectives, frequent changes in narration, many recursive asides, and a frequent reliance on a sort of objective stream-of-consciousness technique whereby the inner experience of a character in a scene is contrasted with the outward appearance of the scene--ranks among his greatest achievements. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949.

Written during the late 1930s, Go Down, Moses is not generally ranked among Faulkner's very greatest works; it is, however, one of his most interesting, particularly from a structural standpoint. Not quite a novel but more than a collection of short stories, Go Down, Moses is comprised of seven separate, complete stories, which interrelate on a number of levels, and which deal with many of the same characters and places, most specifically the McCaslin plantation and the descendents of Carothers McCaslin. The complex mosaic of themes and histories that emerges from this structure remains a vivid and moving statement on the role of man in nature, the idea of property and of patrimony, and the nature of family.