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Faulkner and Formalism
Returns of the Text

Edited by Annette Trefzer
and Ann J. Abadie

240 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, introduction, index

978-1-61703-256-1 Printed casebinding $60.00S

978-1-62846-065-0 Paper $30.00D

Printed casebinding, $60.00

Paper, $30.00

Essays that explore current scholarship on the Nobel laureate's work

With essays by Ted Atkinson, Serena Haygood Blount, Martyn Bone, James B. Carothers, Thadious M. Davis, Taylor Hagood, James Harding, Arthur F. Kinney, Owen Robinson, Theresa M. Towner, and Ethel Young-Minor

Faulkner and Formalism: The Returns of the Text collects eleven essays in which contributors query the status of Faulkner's literary text in contemporary criticism and scholarship. How do scholars today approach Faulkner's texts? For some, including Arthur F. Kinney and James B. Carothers, "returns of the text" is a phrase that raises questions of aesthetics, poetics, and authority. For others, the phrase serves as an invitation to return to Faulkner's language, to writing and the letter itself. Serena Haygood Blount, Owen Robinson, James Harding, and Taylor Hagood interpret "returns of the text" in the sense in which Roland Barthes characterizes this shift in his seminal essay "From Work to Text." For Barthes, the text "is not to be thought of as an object . . . but as a methodological field," a notion quite different from the New Critical understanding of the work as a unified construct with intrinsic aesthetic value.

Faulkner's language itself is under close scrutiny in some of the readings that emphasize a deconstructive or a semiological approach to his writing. Historical and cultural contexts continue to play significant roles, however, in essays by Thadious M. Davis, Ted Atkinson, Martyn Bone, and Ethel Young-Minor. Instead of approaching the literary text as a reflection, a representation of that context, these readings stress the role of the text as a challenge to the power of external ideological systems. By retaining a bond with new historicist analysis and cultural studies, these essays are illustrative of analysis that carefully preserves attention to Faulkner's sociopolitical environment. Theresa M. Towner's concluding essay invites readers to return to Faulkner's less well-known short stories for critical exposure and the pleasure of reading.

Annette Trefzer, Water Valley, Mississippi, is associate professor of English at the University of Mississippi in Oxford and the author of Disturbing Indians: The Archaeology of Southern Fiction. Ann J. Abadie, Oxford, Mississippi, is the former associate director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi and is coeditor of many volumes in the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Series.

240 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, introduction, index