The laying bare of presuppositions such as those that I have just identified in the Spanish American authors and of their implications for constructions of collective identity is an endeavor that has been shared recently by Faulkner critics, Southern Studies in general, Latin American studies, and the burgeoning field of inter-American studies, bringing these fields into close alignment with one another. COHN 63 ating the current hierarchy and their position in it. In general, though, the focus of recent comparative studies of Faulkner in Spanish America and throughout the Americas has shifted away from the question of influence per se.
This reciprocity parallels the questioning of nationalism in American Studies in recent years which, in addition to challenging monolithic views of the South and its exceptionalism, has opened new avenues of study for the South and shed light on commonalities shared by the South, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The most important of these are, I believe, the legacies of the plantation and slavery, poverty and underdevelopment, and the experience of historical traumas such as war, all of which bridge both the past and present of these regions.
COHN 65 5. Carlos Fuentes and Emmanuel Carballo similarly argued twelve years earlier that the Spanish American publishing industry should foster and promote such an endeavor. In the long term, Mexican cultural politics. And what path is there that is better than literature. One wishes that the Fondo would start, in addition to its excellent series, Letras mexicanas [Mexican Letters], another, analogous series: Letras hispanoamericanas [SpanishAmerican Letters].
We must realize that our literature only has a deep meaning within the context of the language that we share, and that we all use. Overcoming all of the artificial boundaries that divide our local literatures is a task that the Fondo should undertake, and it must be the constant goal of our writers. A collection of Letras hispanoamericanas. In this community, new generations of writers in Spanish would find their place. Here, these writers would find a powerful launch pad for international diffusion. This identity project is also at work in a similar collection of interviews with prominent authors: Seven Voices: Seven Latin American Writers Talk to Rita Guibert, published in That is, it was designed for international consumption and meant to further enhance the reputation of these authors on the world stage.
The final paradox of these very individual writers is that they sometimes cannot avoid being spokesmen for the whole continent. Even when like Borges they explicitly refuse to do it, their denial is a way of revealing the tension between their individual and their representative personae.
The common link of language, a Hispanic tradition that encompasses and absorbs local traditions, and very obvious geopolitical ties are always present in their works. Somehow, the seven have struggled to be themselves and have wonderfully succeeded, but in their work a whole continent is also alive and visible. Rita Guibert, trans.
Frances Partridge New York: Vintage, igp , xiii-xiv. However, this extinct reality was still alive in the memory and imagination of the people. For want of anything better, Aracataca-like so many American towns-lived off memories, myths, solitude, and nostalgia. Santiago, Chile: Editorial Universitaria, S. Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha, , ed. New York: Vintage Books, igp , 9. The Death of Artemio Cruz, trans. Cien afios de soledad Barcelona: Bruguera, , In addition to this paradigm, stylistic and thematic parallels to Absalom abound in the modem Spanish American novel.
George Handley, for example, has shown that Alejo Carpentier reworked a number of these and related motifs and themes from Absalm in Explosion in the Cathedral, his exploration of regional identity and self-identity within the context of revolution the novel explicitly addresses the French Revolution, but was published three years after the Cuban Revolution : the incestuous menage 2 trois; questions about the origins, nature, and fate of plantation society; the relationship of the plantocracy to the French Revolution and Haiti; and the matter of U. COHN 67 of that of his social world.
The Autumn of the Patriarch, trans. Gregory Rabassa New York: Harperperennial, ,1, Personal communication, 29 August Postcolonial Theory, the U. South, and New World Studies, ed. Faulkner Journal Challenging traditional figurations of American literary history, scholars have begun to listen to the silenced voices of ethnic minorities in the American canon, a process which has profoundly changed the ways in which we read literature.
This continued invisibility of Native Americans in Southern culture and fiction might perhaps be caused by the apparent absence of Native Americans from the postremoval South and the repression of this traumatic experience into the national unconsciousness. These are appropriate questions because the history and culture of Native Americans have been miscommunicated in American literature since the captivity narratives and such distortions continue to be misrepresented as truth.
Faulkner is no exception to the long list of American authors whose works employ and perpetuate stereotypes about Native American culture. Their complaints are not motivated by pious humanitarian interests or superior moral convictions, however, but by economic ones. Owning slaves, the Indians now have to keep them busy. He had time. See what it has done to their flesh. It has a bitter taste, too. I was young then, and more hardy in the appetite than now. Now it is different with me. They are too valuable to eat now. Through the lens of Native Americans, the practice of slavery is rendered alien, and this estrangement effect helps Faulkner to criticize this most unsavorable byproduct of civilization.
Linking literal and political levels of incorporation, the text produces a clear message: by comparison with the man who enslaves others and reads from the Bible-a major civilizing and colonizing instrument-the rat is civilized. When the black man becomes delirious from the snake poison, the Indians capture him and ready him for the sacrifice.
Faulkner returns the black man to a primeval condition: naked, mud-caked, singing and speaking in his own native tongue. H e is a man whom the Indians respect for his endurance. This kind of rhetoric perpetuates and reinscribes an ahistorical understanding of Native peoples that makes them part of a vanished world, a so-called primeval past, a rhetoric that ensures their continued invisibility even today.
But he also reinscribes cultural and racial hierarchies. The lorgnon, an instrument of French specularity slung around the hips of an African man, suggests the hybridity of colonial identities and environments. Homi Bhabha argues that the production of colonial identity is never simply based on a binary opposition between colonizer and colonized, even if that binary is presented as inverted, but on a doubling of identities.
Blinded and estranged from their original purposes, European things take on a new life as signifiers of cultural subversion. By absorbing and transforming the steamboat, the Indians have inscripted it with a new significance. Inside the steamboat are the gilt bed and the girandoles that Issetibbeha brings back from Paris.
What is Faulkner reflecting on? Is the inhrect evocation of Louis XV a reference to French and British colonialism of which North American Indian tribes felt the vicious and lasting effects? Or is it an indirect comment on the failure of political leadership?
The mirrors behind the candles of the girandoles are part of a system of colonial specularity that does not produce clear-cut reflections of colonizer and colonized. Instead, the figures of Louis XV and Issetibbeha are refracted and reflected back doubly inscribed. For an instant he caught his own reflection in it and he paused for a time and with a kind of cold unbelief he examined his own face-the face of the shrewd and courageous fighter, of that wellnigh infallible expert in the anticipation of and controlling of man and his doings, overlaid now with the baffled helplessness of a child.
Then he slanted the glass a little further.
Squatting and facing one another across the carpet as across a stream of water were two men. He did not know the faces, though he knew the Face, since he had looked upon it by day and dreamed upon it by night for three weeks now. It was a squat face, dark, a little flat, a little Mongol; secret, decorous, impenetrable, and grave. The colonial roles of father and child, Nation and nations, powerful and powerless are not only inverted here but doubled. The Indian presence which should be an absence in the mirror of the nation confounds the boundaries of colonial authority and besieges the president with his own nightmarish phantoms of Otherness and the persistence of a so-called problem that will not be solved.
The personal trauma of the president is the political trauma of the entire nation whose Indian policies alienate its own language of liberty. The enemy within produces a schizophrenic split mocking the patronizing Enlightenment rhetoric of legal and divine fatherhood by its contrast with political reality. This is even more interesting and ironic in , considering that the United States was once again gearing up to defend democracy this time against the irrationality of the rise of fascism in Europe. Taken together these narratives form a showcase for the way in which American systems of cultural description are deeply informed by national strategies of power.
In reflecting on these geographical and political transgressions, Faulkner substitutes fantasy for anthropology in narratives that are themselves deeply entrenched in the climate of Western colonialism. The mythology Faulkner invents in his Indian stories participates in a historical discourse which reflects national interests, a discourse that keeps haunting American writers, scholars, and politicians.
Lawrence B. Gamache and Ian S. Their son, who changed his name from LeFleur to Greenwood Leflore, became a Choctaw chief and a Mississippi state senator. As this example shows, Faulkner took great liberties with local Indian history and was apparently not very interested in the tribal affiliations of his characters. Howard C. Howell, Faulkner-Cowley File, Faulkner is quoted in Horsford, These Indians are fierce, they wear feathers and grunt.
Homi K. Jacques Lacan, quoted in Bhabha, James Strachey, New York: W. See for instance Edmund L. Gilbert H. Arthur F. Donald M. Kartiganer and Ann J. Abadie Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, , Slavery among the Choctaws and Chickasaws starts with the introduction of cotton farming to native farming communities. Biracial men, however, were free from such i d e s In order to avoid the stigma of male farming, prominent leaders bought slaves to do the work for them.
Towards the end, when they have captured the slave, they seem to develop respect for him and patiently wait until he is ready to die. Floyd C. Volpe, Muller, This quotation is from an interview conducted in Japan in All of it. This whole country. We took it away from them and shoved them off onto reservations. But they re like children and need looking after, expect to be looked after.
Gene M. Bhabha, Renee L. Thomas Jefferson imagined carrying out American expansion with justice towards the Indians. The relevant passages from the Removal Act are quoted in American Mosaic, ed. Honnighausen, Said, Although Said speaks mostly of scholars in the field of Orientalism here, he makes clear that all writers are embedded in their national and institutional circumstances. See and , for instance. Dabney, Blotner Charlottesville:University of Virginia Press, , Unlike later critics, who praised Faulkner for contemplating the continuing influence of the past on the present, Depression-era critics saw the author himself as a figure who belonged to the past, helplessly attempting to forge some relationship to m0dernity.
What changes in these evaluations is the estimate of what constitutes a useful relationship to the past, an estimate shaped in each period by contemporary concerns about how individuals position themselves in time-the degree to which they understand their identities through their memories of or beliefs about the past, their relationship to contemporary culture, 90 Faulkner and Traumatic Memory or their hopes and plans for the future.
Recent writing about culture and identity often tends to diverge along similar lines, pitting those who insist upon the importance of the past against those who believe that such insistence may occlude opportunities for progress in the present. Depression-era intellectuals understood the contemporary South as a region in which the past continued, without giving way to their concept of the present; it seemed the site of an anachronistic time uncannily existing in the space of the nation.
The Southern economy was increasingly modernized and integrated into that of the nation, and, by this time, the partisans of Southern apartheid faced challenges in their argument that it was an irremediable and organic element of Southern culture. Studes such as R. In short, as he hallucinates scenes from the Sutpen family history, repeatedly returning to the confrontation between Henry and Judith as he announces he has killed Charles BonyQuentin displays the symptoms of a post-traumatic return to a past that he did not personally experience.
But while the portrayal of Quentin Compson corresponds to the identity narratives that hold that Southerners have a particularly intimate relationship to the past, that relationship is not associated in Absalom, Absalom!
Faulkner in the Twenty-First Century: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha, 2000
Though this novel, completed directly before Faulkner began work on Absalom, Absalom! Through depicting his ostracization, the novel insists that Gail is haunted by an event that is not formative or significant for others in his community, as it is for him. The novel suggests further that the damage caused by his memorialization of the past is compounded by his misrecognition of these memories as collective hauntings, shared by all residents of the region.
Rather, it raises the possibilities that certain pasts can overwhelm individual subjects and that collectivities can become so invested in a given interpretation of historic events that they provide little opportunity or support for persons who need to work through their traumatic relationships to these events. The concern that an interest in traumatic events might separate individuals from their contemporary social milieu has also shaped presentday conversations about the usefulness of discussions concerning collective memory, which has occasionally been thought to provide a mutable set of images and narratives through which social groups could negotiate both their interpretations of the past and the goals and ideals of the present.
The concern is that, in such formations, the distinction between collective memory and vicarious trauma may blur, as individuals who attach their identities to historically traumatized groups may feel it their duty to assimilate the trauma, to bear its pain, even when not directly experienced, as an expression of allegiance with and tribute to the sufferers. In considering this process, it may be useful to consider the way in which the works of William Faulkner, particularly his representation of Quentin Compson in Absalom, Absalom! This regional cultural identity was positioned in relation to national identity as both marginal in content and emblematic in form, a cultural identity existing at a level beneath that of the nation in terms of space and population and bearing an intimate relationship to historical phenomena-the Civil War and slavery-which might otherwise be considered national.
This formulation, which suggested that these memories were the particular province of Southerners, provided for their continued consideration through the recognition of Southernness, but did not provide for their examination in a critical context. Nor did it consider that Southerners themselves would have heterogeneous affective relationships to that past.
For mid-century critics, the South was simply interesting for its attention to the past, and though they sought to locate a similar fascination in national culture, American Studies came to describe a history of increasing inclusiveness, its tradition forged from the shedding of other traditions which oppose such progress. This logic may continue to exert an insidious power over our contemporary efforts to think about the relationship between past and present, discussions which often suggest that there is no relationship to the past that is not traumatized, in the pathological sense of the termoverwhelmed, determined, debilitated.
In other words, contemporary identity politics may be shaped no more by the way in which the nation configures its contemporary state-through the image of juridical protection and redress in the present-than by the way in which the nation has distributed its past. On the contrary, it seems vital that the discussion and recognition of traumatic events not be restricted to persons affiliated, through their own or through hegemonic pronouncements of identity, with the victims in those events, a construction which suggests that the larger culture or nation had no relation to the trauma.
Further, mid-century celebrations of the ways in which Faulkner represented the presence of the past in contemporary consciousness understated the degree to which his novels explore the obstacles encountered by characters who wish to reposition themselves in relation to that past, and reconsider the role it plays not only in their consciousness, but also in social space.
In many cases, these characters are opposed in their attempts by some concept of white Southern identity-the belief that all white Southerners share their symptoms and that no other persons could understand; worst of all is the belief that the Confederacy must be upheld as an ideal. As demonstrated by the papers in this volume, however, twenty-first century readings of these novels promise to increase our awareness of the relationship between the scenes of violence and dehumanization represented in Yoknapatawpha and those that have occurred in regional, national, and transnational history, and seek to create the kind of dialogue that can maintain critical analysis of both the historical events surrounding a trauma and the pain it has produced.
And it may be that such discourse can help the inhabitants of the twenty-first century imagine new ways of positioning themselves in relation to the past. Philip Rahv, review ofAbsalom, Absalom! Charles Shapiro , rpt. Frederick J. Vickery, np: Michigan State University Press, , Gerald W. Johnson, ed. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, , Cowley, Lewis, 3. Malcolm Cowley New York: Viking, [ig46] , See, for example, Rahv, review, 21; Howe, William Faulkner, William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!
Bessel A. I, trans. James Strachey London: Hogarth Press, ig55 ,, Janet, Breuer, and Freud each agree that, during this time period, they agreed to a significant extent concerning the functioning of traumatic memories and the treatment of subsequent hysteria Uanet, ; Breuer and Freud , ; each also cites the investigations of several psychologists proceeding along similar lines. XII, trans. James Strachey London: Hogarth Press, James Joyce, Ulysses ,ed.
Joseph Blotner, Faulkner: A Biography , v. Leys, Breuer and Freud, 7. Brooks concludes that the trauma underlying the text must be the Civil War, as if that answers the question.
John Rajchman New York: Routledge, iggs , Louis D. Rubin did not, at mid-century, suggest that Southern African American identity is similar to Southern white identity in this way, but C. Discourses of African American identity have often focused on the U. South as an important site; for a brief history of such discourse, see J. To say that Gail Hightower experiences trauma because he cannot communicate with his traumatized parents is not to say that he takes on their trauma. This novel was originally published in abridged form as Sartoris in Gaines M. Lewis A. LaCapra, This individualized sense of attachment to an identity-formation should be distinguished from any essentialist or constructivist account of what traits might be associated with such identities, as correlated, for example, through culture, gender, sexuality, race, or ethnicity.
As Judith Butler argues, the sense of an attachment to such an identity-formation may, at the individual level, occur through the acceptance of an address that may, or may not, be directed toward the subject, and that, analogous to the Lacanian mirror-stage or Althusserian interpellation, is probably exerted before the individual is capable of comprehending the stakes of such an address or of the response to it. I believe that this relation significantly constitutes our conception of Faulkner as a modernist author bearing a distinct profile and signature who partakes fully of an epochal fascination with the experience and destruction of time.
It is the latter-the sense of the future, and its relation to historicity, or the manner in which the experience of history is both represented and unrepresentable-that I wish to consider in this essay. Perhaps this is because it is generally perceived that his body of fiction is so thoroughly dystopic, so driven by an obsession with a fragmented and inscrutable past, that any representation of futurity is necessarily bound to be merely virtual, merely a repetition, a faint echo of a monumental history that never came to p a s 2 Certainly, this is how Mr.
They are there, yet something is missing; they are like a chemical formula exhumed along with the letters from that forgotten chest. In such a formulation, the present appears as the incremental wreckage of the past, and the future-as suggested in the endings of many of the novels-either offers sheer repetition of an unending present viewed as the accumulation of the ruins of the past, or an apocalypse that transforms the past into a manifestation of the future imperfect: an anti-climax, a flawed continuity.
In his vision of the future, Ike is horrified at the twin specters of racial mixing and the weird economic egalitarianism which allows both blacks and whites to own mansions and become millionaires as long as they are segregated by city and mode of transportation. But, rhetorically speaking, this past-the one described in the ledgers, the past of failed rituals, partial genealogies, and empty, inverted objects such as the urn-is invented entirely in the terms of the future to which this past serves as a referent.
In short, the passage recapitulates, rather than resolves, the problem that has haunted Christmas throughout-whether racial identity is literal or metaphorical, a matter of blood or social construction-and projects its irresolvability at the moment of the death of identity as the future of public memory, or what has and will constitute our consciousness of historical process. This is a construction of the future that reverses the one provided by Ike McCaslin, but it is a reversal that repeats the same mathematics of the relation between past, present, and future that we found in his secular vision.
For Faulkner, it is an aspect of the condition of modernity that this historical desire, or desire for history that is, for a match between our experience of temporality and the expropriation of experience is everywhere promulgated and nowhere satisfied. So we invent substitutes, as we always do when it comes to the satisfaction of desire. All subsequent references will be noted parenthetically in the text. Hannah Arendt. New York: Schocken, Liz Heron New York: Verso, igg3 , 42, Where in the one instance we see a young man engaged in an agonizing struggle for self-affirmation, in the other we see a Faulknerian tall tale, replete with shrewd blacks, gullible whites, and an orchard salted with silver dollars.
This tension can be stated paradigmatically. But in this new alignment as well, the tension between heroic individualism and communal service asserts itself, for in the encounter in the bedroom, Lucas does not act from communal motives alone. But for Lucas, the struggle with Zack has ceased to have only practical implications. Let him come to my house and ask me for his son!
When Zack fails to play his appointed part in this selfconceived drama of reconciliation, Lucas chooses to confront Zack in the bedroom, even though doing so risks his life and hence his continued membership in the community he believes he is defending. This near-embrace expresses the furious separation of Lucas from any tie to wife and family. In the encounter over the bedthe bed which in a sense he is fighting for-Lucas abandons a connubial embrace for an heroic one, with the consequence that we are made vividly aware of how his self-affirmation threatens the community it ostensibly serves.
As with the flashback scene, so with the main comic action. By the good fortune of the misfire, Lucas survives his youthful journey into heroic individualism. The sixty-seven-year-old Lucas of the main action clearly has his genesis in the confrontation in the plantation bedroom. For more than forty years, Lucas balances the imperatives of his heroic self-conception against the realities of his status as a black tenant farmer in the South, evolving in the process his oblique strategies of self-assertion.
It is the agency through w h c h he is allowed once again to engage in heroic action.
Old Carothers. I needed him and he come and spoke for me77 57; italics omitted. In various ways, the critics voice the same objection. To identify a position from which to advance an alternative to that consensus, I need to speak personally for a bit. Weinstein begins What Else But h u e? I read this account with sympathy and with appreciation for its courage and its candor, but also with some degree of bemusement.
- De Ziener (Een verhaal over liefde, hoop en geloof, tweede deel: hoop. Book 2) (Dutch Edition);
- Spider On Her Thigh.
The reason for the bemusement is that my mother performed the same sort of work as did Van Price. Living seven miles outside town, our family owning one car, herself never having learned how to drive, my mother traveled to and from work by bus. I can remember her complaining over having been assigned a split shift at the drugstore. Working from oo a. Working outside the home in this fashion continued a pattern that had begun long before my birth, for my mother left school and began full-time work at the age of twelve.
I mention these facts somewhat reluctantly, both because I have been acculturated to discretion on issues of economic and class status and because I fear implying a false equivalence. White male privilege is white male privilege, and I know that opportunities came my way by virtue of my being white and male that were unavailable to blacks and to a considerable extent to women in the American society of my youth. I do not include myself-how could I? But I note that he does not include class in this comment, and that he mentions class only infrequently in his book as a whole.
When I read his account of feeling silently virtuous whenever he and his brother would drive Van Price an extra two miles to a more distant bus stop 4 4 , I read as it were from the other end of the bus line. Although I scarcely knew it at the time, I left southern Ohio not only to escape a culture but to acquire one. That effort-for me, and, I imagine, for others of similar backgroundhas had variable consequences. One of its less attractive features is a jealous sense of proprietorship. Viewing the Western literary tradition not as an inheritance but as an acquisition, I for a long while found it difficult not to personalize critiques of Eurocentrism and of the maleI have worked my dominated canon.
Although I believe-hope-that way past that reaction, for a considerable time the critiques felt very much like theft, as if something I had acquired at considerable expense were being taken away unjustly. And I find it tempting as well to overgeneralize the virtue of self-reliance, to view the impediments to advancement by the underclass in American society less as systemic than as individual. Without these cookies, we can't provide services to you.
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A Study Guide for William William Faulkner's Sanctuary The experience of time and Culture, Community, and Jenkins Author CliffsNotes on Faulkner's Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved Retrieved March 29, William Faulkner, His Life and Work.
Retrieved September 26, Toronto Star. William Faulkner: Self-Presentation and Performance. Austin: University of Texas Press. Retrieved September 27, The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature. The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature: e-reference edition. Retrieved August 13, One matchless time: a life of William Faulkner 1 ed. Gwynn, eds. The University of Mississippi. Retrieved May 9, A William Faulkner encyclopedia. Retrieved August 11, William Faulkner: Frequently Asked Questions. Ole Miss. Archived from the original on August 5, Retrieved August 31, New York Times.
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With acceptance speech by Faulkner and essays by Neil Baldwin and Harold Augenbraum from the Awards and year anniversary publications. Oregon Literary Review. Archived from the original on February 21, September 30, Malcolm Cowley Viking Press, Faulkner: A Biography. New York : Random House , Blotner, Joseph. Fowler, Doreen, Abadie, Ann. Faulkner and Popular Culture: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha.
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