Reading Matters

On Clark Gable and William Faulkner according to historian Shelby Foote

Today would be the 100th birthday of Civil War historian and novelist Shelby Foote.

When the Paris Review interviewed Foote in 1997, he told them a little anecdote about William Faulkner and Hemingway, which led Foote into another little anecdote about Faulkner and Clark Gable.

“ You’ve heard that thing about Faulkner and Clark Gable haven’t you? Howard Hawks was taking Faulkner out on a quail shoot and came by to pick him up a little before dawn to get to where they were going by first light. Clark Gable was in the car, and Faulkner in the backseat. As they rode along, Gable and Hawks got to talking. Gable said, ‘You know, you’re a well-read man, Howard. I’ve always been meaning to do some reading. I never have really done it. What do you think I ought to read?’ And Hawks said, ‘Why don’t you ask Bill back there. He’s a writer, and he’ll be able to tell you.’ Gable said, ‘Do you write, Mr. Faulkner?’ Faulkner said, ‘Yes, Mr. Gable. What do you do?’ ‘’