Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.669371
Title: The influence and subversion of the Southern folk tradition in the novels of William Faulkner
Author: Stannard, James
ISNI:       0000 0004 5368 8945
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access through EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access through Institution:
Abstract:
I argue that the Southern folk tradition is William Faulkner’s strongest influence. Faulkner experienced both a black and white folk culture in childhood through his Aunt Alabama and his nurse, Caroline Barr. I cover many of Faulkner’s ‘Modernist’ novels but examine their folk and vernacular elements, such as Jason Compson’s vernacular consciousness, the storytelling in Absalom, Absalom! or the trickster figure in the Snopes novels. I will be using Ed Piacentino’s The Enduring Legacy of Old Southwest Humor for secondary research and Mikhail Bakhtin’s The Dialogic Imagination and Rabelais and his World to provide a theoretical framework regarding the text as an interaction of competing discourses, and the ‘grotesque.’ I examine several writers to provide a folk ‘context.’ Augustus Baldwin Longstreet’s ‘The Horse-Swap’ uses vernacular traders, but a refined observer passes judgment on their actions. George Washington Harris brings vernacular culture to the forefront. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an entire novel written in folk speech which invests the folk narrator with a conscience. I argue Faulkner also bestows his writing with folk morality, such as V.K. Ratliff’s stand against the rapacity of Flem Snopes. I also examine the conjure tales of Charles Chesnutt. Uncle Julius exemplifies black folk wisdom being used to outsmart the white northerners, demonstrating how many use folk culture to further their own ends. The third chapter examines the grotesque, through an examination of Harris, Chesnutt and Erskine Caldwell, along with Faulkner, and Bakhtin and Rabelais’ discussion of the ‘physical’ and ‘psychological’ grotesque, the damage caused by mental illness or obsession with the past. I examine how the psychological state manifests in the physical in Faulkner’s writing, and how he humanises those society deems ‘grotesque’ through psychological insight, emphasising the cruelty in simply regarding such beings as ‘spectacle.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.669371  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN Literature (General) ; PS American literature
Share: