I find it almost impossible to read Faulkner now, except for a handful of things, chief among them “The Old People” — one of the best short stories ever written. Yet reading Absalom, Absalom! as an undergraduate was one of the transcendent reading experiences of my life. I am almost certain that if I read Absalom, Absalom! for the first time now, I wouldn’t like it very much. I would think it absurdly overwrought. I might not even be able to finish it. But I don’t think that’s necessarily because I’m a smarter or better or more sophisticated reader than I was thirty years ago. Maybe I knew some things then that I don’t know any more. Maybe I was open to experiences then that — for whatever reason — I’m no longer open to.