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Quarterly to print newfound Faulkner story

A previously unpublished short story by William Faulkner will finally be published in the upcoming issue of The Virginia Quarterly Review.

"I didn't realize that there was anything left [of Faulkner's] to publish," Virginia Quarterly Review editor Staige Blackford said. "This is the most significant story we've published in a long time."

"Lucas Beauchamp: An Unpublished Story" was originally written in 1947.

More than 50 years later, the story will appear for the first time in the University's literary journal.

"Lucas Beauchamp" was part of the first segment in Faulkner's "Intruder in the Dust," a mystery novel published in 1948.

As Faulkner explained in a letter he wrote to his agent, Harold Ober, in 1948, the story is about "a relationship between Negro and white, specifically or rather the premise that being that the white people in the South ... must pay a responsibility to the Negro."

Rev. Patrick Samway, S.J., the Will and Ariel Durant Professor of Humanities at St. Peter's College in Jersey City, N.J., wrote his dissertation on the typescripts of "Intruder in the Dust." In February 1975 another Faulkner scholar sent Samway a manuscript of "Lucas Beauchamp" from Ober's files as he conducted research.

Samway held onto his copy of the story, assuming it would appear in the 1979 volume of "Uncollected Stories," but it did not. When he went to teach the following year at the University of Paris, he tucked the story away in his files.

As Samway sorted through his collection of Faulkner's works, he came upon his copy of the typescript, and asked Blackford, who had previously published Samway's work, if he would be interested in publishing the story.

Joseph Blotner, a Faulkner biographer, authenticated "Lucas Beauchamp." After that, Blackford contacted Faulkner's daughter, Jill Faulkner Summers, who lives in Albemarle County. She gave the literary journal the right to reprint the story for $1,000.

Blackford also added the University is the only university with which Faulkner was ever affiliated. His tenure as the University's first writer in residence lasted from 1957 until his death in 1962.

"When Faulkner was writing "Intruder in the Dust" in 1948, he and Ober realized that there was a separate short story embedded in the novel," Samway said.

When Faulkner and Ober sent the excised portion of the book as a separate short story to be published, both Harper's and The Atlantic Monthly rejected the story.

"It may seem strange that no one would publish it," Samway said, "but the truth is that it wasn't until Faulkner won the Nobel Prize in 1950 that his star rose."

The short story itself "can help us read into the themes of the novel," Samway said. "The novel and the short both illuminate each other, but conversely, each story has its own integrity."

Blackford said he will print an additional 1,000 copies of The Virginia Quarterly Review when it comes out today.

"I don't want to get myself in the situation where people are trying to get copies and there aren't any," he said.