American Studies | Special Topics in Arts & Humanities for American Studies: William Faulkner & Writers from Spanish America & the Caribbean
A298 | 27711 | Cohn, D

AMST – A298 Special Topics in Arts & Humanities for American Studies
Topic: William Faulkner & Writers from Spanish America & the Caribbean

Instructor: Deborah Cohn

Flannery O’Connor once said that “the presence alone of Faulkner in
our midst makes a great difference in what the writer can and cannot
permit himself to do.  Nobody wants his mule and wagon stalled on the
same track the Dixie Limited is roaring down.”  But for Spanish
American writers such as Jorge Luis Borges, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel
García Márquez, Juan Rulfo, Mario Vargas Llosa, and others who were
struggling to break free of a tradition that emphasized the local and
the “real,” Faulkner was a liberation rather than a paralyzing
influence.  We will read both Faulkner and Spanish American writers
in this course, studying how the former’s style and themes inspired
the latter as they cultivated a literary movement that brought
Spanish American literature into the Western mainstream.  We will
also explore how Spanish American authors looked to Faulkner and to
the white South as a model for reclaiming Spanish American history,
which was also dominated by a neocolonial North and marked by
difficult racial and interethnic relations, as well as by struggles
with economic development.  But if this course is about close textual
analysis and literary relations, it is also about the dynamics and
politics of literary influence and choosing one’s literary
genealogy.  Thus we shall also consider questions such as:  what are
the political implications of doing comparative literature, and of
positing the influence of writers from “developed nations” on those
of so-called “developing nations”? and, what are the racial subtexts
of authors’ relationship to Faulkner?