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Title: Building Yoknapatawpha : reading space and the plantation in William Faulkner
Author: Clough, Edward
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 8645
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis is about the Southern plantation in Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha fiction: how it is represented and constructed, how it is narratively articulated and experienced as both space and symbol. But as its full title suggests, Building Yoknapatawpha is equally about narrative structures and spaces too: about how Yoknapatawpha textually fits together; about how this spreading oeuvre was constructed by Faulkner and how it may equally be reconstructed by the reader. It is about both the reading of space and the space of reading – about how the architectural spaces and social order of the Southern plantation and the narrative structures of the novel inform, complement, and challenge one another, and how their affinity may ultimately be used to generate a new “spatialized” model of literary reading. Foregrounding tensions between narrative “details” and “design” and conceptions of “ruin” and “restoration”, this thesis explores how Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha novels function simultaneously as “open” and “closed”. It considers how Absalom, Absalom! (1936) attempts to recuperate the repressed historical connections present in Flags in the Dust (1929), only to erase them once more through death, destruction, and narrative closure. It considers how Go Down, Moses (1942) offers models of black domesticity that resist the oppressions of segregation and lynching – but which are dispersed through black diaspora and narrative exclusion. It considers how The Mansion (1959) revises and integrates details from earlier Yoknapatawpha texts to create a richly layered textual space – but which is in constant tension with the process of the historical “whitening” of the Southern post-plantation landscape which it ultimately depicts. Building Yoknapatawpha concludes by attempting to resolve these tensions into a new model of literary reading: deconstructing Yoknapatawpha to reassemble it as a layered “mapping” of multiple parallel narrative paths and connective links, which resist the mastery – and erasure – imposed by linearity and closure.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available