My friend Jim Donahue sent me a link to this interesting story about a limited edition of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury that is color coded to facilitate reading the Benjy section of the book. I love stuff like this!
I’ve long thought this Faulkner novel to be one of the most original and powerful works of American literature. There are passages that have stayed with me through the years with a clarity that is startling (especially given my famously poor memory). But even so, it is a book that leaves you feeling like you’ve had the mental workout equivalent of a boot camp session run by the Louis Gossett, Jr., character in An Officer and a Gentleman. Which is why I get such a kick out of color coding the disjointed, stream-of-consciousness, Benjy section.
Of course, this piece makes me wonder what else should be color coded to help the reading process. I’m thinking Kant’s work could use some fuschia and lime text to help us with the categorical imperative. And, man, you’d need to invent new shades for Finnegans Wake.
What books have you found so impenetrable that you need a rainbow of highlighters to keep track of things?