Monday, August 8, 2016


The Love Story of William Faulkner and Meta Carpenter
by Meta Carpenter Wilde and Orin Borsten

NOTES:  Meta Carpenter told Bill Faulkner that their relationship had put her in a bubble, because she met him as a lover in hotel rooms that he stayed in when he's working in Hollywood.  Socially they are isolated.  Only a few people have been confided in.  He decides that she should meet first, his beloved daughter Jill, a young girl of about three, and then his wife Estelle, who he has brought to Southern California from Mississippi.  He's rented his family a house in Pacific Palisades.  Meta soon loves Jill but didn't like the idea of meeting Estelle, but finally she's persuaded to show up for dinner with his agent as a date.

page 159

"The real predicament I faced was serous enough without investing Estelle, whose photograph I had never seen, who was all mist and vapor in my mind, formless spectral, with power to smile.  Would I now, with all the moral detritus that had been stuffed into my head as a girl, all those precepts and dictates rattling around in my skill, be able to continue my relationship with Bill? Would my love for him be the same.... without shadow and shame, sweetly abandoned?

page 175

"The full force and import of the evening's shameful dissemblance would not hit me for years to come but it left me at the time.  With an enemy (Estelle) shrunken in sixe, foreshortened, no longer the commanding baleful woman whom I had constructed from the clay of imagination, my hatred had been taken from me without my consent.  But friend I would not be to her."

Soon after, Bill asked Estelle for a divorce and said he would want custody of Jill.

page 183-185


Estelle became  "a wraith of iron transformed by outrage into a screaming, frenzied woman... threatened to ruin him... " She wanted everything to "pauperize" him if it came to divorce.  And so Bill retreated.  He said he could not divorce even if he earned twice as much and at least not until Jill reached the age of 12 or so, old enough to testify in court that she wanted to live with him.  But he would not promise to quit Meta.  "I love her and will see her," he said.

Apparently this encounter resulted in a "truce" between Bill and his wife, and Meta felt that there was nothing Estelle could do about her (love).  But...

page 187

Meta found herself filled with dread and trembling "like a Victorian lady"

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