L369 2084 WELLS
Studies in British and American Authors

9:05a-9:55a MWF (30) 3 CR.

TOPIC: “William Faulkner”

This course will explore the writings of William Faulkner, the Mississippi-born novelist whose experiments in form and subject matter made him among the most influential American authors of the early twentieth century, especially to those who would later write about the South and the problems of race in U.S. history. Our goals in this course will be several. Above all, we will work to become adept readers of Faulkner’s fiction, which is no small goal, given its formal and thematic complexities. We will also engage questions of place, concentrating on the Yoknapatawpha County novels and how, in them, Faulkner explored the intersections of much larger social and historical forces. We will place Faulkner’s fiction in multiple historical contexts, examining what they reveal about a Depression- era South still recovering from slavery and the Civil War even as it found itself on the verge of modernization, industrialization, and the emergence of the modern Civil Rights movement. We will also think about the novels in terms of Faulkner’s own life and his reception among subsequent generations of literary critics.

Our readings are almost certain to include The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom!, and Go Down, Moses, as well as David Minter’s William Faulkner: His Life and Work. They are likely to include some of the following as well: Flags in the Dust, The Unvanquished, Requiem for a Nun, The Hamlet, The Mansion, and shorter selections from The Portable Faulkner. Students may expect to write a research-based term paper (10-12 pp.); to give an oral presentation based upon research into Faulkner criticism; to take a midterm and final exam; and to participate actively in class discussions.