Saturday, July 14, 2012

Chaplin and Faulkner

I am currently reading Chaplin A Life by Stephen Weissman, M.D. It is fascinating. So why, might you ask, would I, in the middle of reading say to myself, "I just know the name Faulkner is going to come up in the next paragraph or two. I sense a reference to Faulkner coming."

It is because of how alike they were as artists, believe it or not.

Charlie Chaplin grew up in such a unique, heartbreaking, unforgettable way that it makes perfect sense why his childhood haunts him. The way that it haunts him makes him yearn for the surroundings of his youth. The pawn shop where his mother pawned his brother's work uniform every week so they would have food, and bought back every Friday so her son could work to help support the family. The tiny room they rented above a barber shop. The house where he lived when they were at the height of their wealth, and the unit they rented at the depths of their poverty and despair.

It turns out that Chaplin spent his artistic life recreating his youth. He needed sets built to remind him of his childhood to prompt his creativity.

Of course, it was around this passage in the book that I began to expect the reference to Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha county. After the mention of several others in that same genre, he was mentioned as expected.

It said they wanted to recreate a particular moment, or several particular moments--Chaplin and Faulkner.

Yep. I know.