Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Faulkner, Race, and American Modernism

ENGL 381.401
instructor(s):
fulfills requirements:
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major

In a career that spanned forty years, William Faulkner emerged as one of the major novelists of the twentieth century and, arguably, as the premiere American modernist writer.  This seminar will examine Faulkner’s representations of race in following Ezra Pound’s modernist dictum, “Make it new,” and in contributing to a distinctly American literary modernism. We will read five of his major novels (The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom!, and Go Down, Moses) in our exploration of his constructions of race (including “whiteness”), his innovations in genre, and his attention to gender. Several films made from scripts Faulkner wrote while in Hollywood and a selection of film adaptations of Faulkner’s own novels will be screened.

This course counts as a Cultural Diversity in the U. S. requirement in the College.