English 203

Graduate Readings: William Faulkner and the Historical Novel

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2019 Goble, Mark
TTh 9:30-11 104 Dwinelle


This course centers on William Faulkner, and will use his experiments in historical fiction to ask a series of questions about the representation of time, duration, change, and epoch in the twentieth century and after. We will discuss Faulkner’s place within American modernism, and examine how his depictions of race, politics, economics, and trauma compare to other writers in his own period (Willa Cather) and later (Toni Morrison, David Mitchell, Ruth Ozeki, William Gibson). Faulkner’s major texts (The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Absalom, Absalom!, Light in August) will let us test some of the novel’s limits as a literary form in American culture, and help us see why later writers turn to different modes—from gothic horror to science fiction—to register both the faster and slower dynamics of history that pattern our sense of the contemporary moment.

Readings will include novels by William Faulkner, and examples of contemporary historical fiction by Toni Morrison, David Mitchell, Ruth Ozeki, William Gibson, and Richard Powers.

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