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Designing Sutpen: Narrative and Its Relationship to Historical Consciousness in Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!

Designing Sutpen: Narrative and Its Relationship to Historical Consciousness in Faulkner’s... Designing Sutpen: in Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! By Eric Casero William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! throws the literary process of narration into serious question; the four main narrators of the story, as well as the "nested" narrators who narrate from within the narratives of the primary narrators, present accounts of Thomas Sutpen's life that often include contradictory sets of detail and contrasting descriptive styles. Consequently, it becomes impossible for a reader to know precisely what happens in Sutpen's story or why and how it has attained any significance. This uncertainty can be read as a commentary on or a demonstration of the very process of creating and disseminating narratives. Joseph W. Reed, Jr. writes that "to begin to understand Absalom, Absalom! is to accept the book's process, to move beyond what may seem to be the centers of the book -- a hero, a story, a dream, a myth, a tragedy -- into the process of narrative itself by which these apparent centers are revealed" (146). Much critical work on the novel, particularly later criticism, similarly emphasizes this process of narrative over the content of the narrative. For critics like Joseph Reed, Absalom, Absalom! does not constitute a narrative (in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Designing Sutpen: Narrative and Its Relationship to Historical Consciousness in Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 44 (1) – Feb 17, 2011

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English .
ISSN
1534-1461
Publisher site
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Abstract

Designing Sutpen: in Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! By Eric Casero William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! throws the literary process of narration into serious question; the four main narrators of the story, as well as the "nested" narrators who narrate from within the narratives of the primary narrators, present accounts of Thomas Sutpen's life that often include contradictory sets of detail and contrasting descriptive styles. Consequently, it becomes impossible for a reader to know precisely what happens in Sutpen's story or why and how it has attained any significance. This uncertainty can be read as a commentary on or a demonstration of the very process of creating and disseminating narratives. Joseph W. Reed, Jr. writes that "to begin to understand Absalom, Absalom! is to accept the book's process, to move beyond what may seem to be the centers of the book -- a hero, a story, a dream, a myth, a tragedy -- into the process of narrative itself by which these apparent centers are revealed" (146). Much critical work on the novel, particularly later criticism, similarly emphasizes this process of narrative over the content of the narrative. For critics like Joseph Reed, Absalom, Absalom! does not constitute a narrative (in

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Feb 17, 2011

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