A critical study of the ruses and roles with which Faulkner masked himself and his characters
that Faulkner was a "liar" not just
in his writing but also in his life has troubled many
critics. They have explained his numerous "false
stories," particularly those about military honors
he actually never earned and war wounds he never
sustained, with psychopathological imposture-theories.
The drawback of this approach is that it reduces and
oversimplifies the complex psychological and aesthetic
phenomenon of Faulkner's role-playing.
Instead, this critical study by one of the
most acclaimed international Faulkner scholars takes its
cue from Nietzsche's concept of "truth as a mobile
army of metaphors" and from Ricoeur's dynamic view
of metaphor and treats the wearing of masks not as an
ontological issue but as a matter of discourse.
Honnighausen examines Faulkner's interviews
and photographs for the fictions they perpetuate. Such
Faulknerian role-playing he interprets as a mode of
organizing experience and relates it to the crafting of
the artist's various personae in his works. Mining
metaphor as well as modern theories on social
role-playing, Honnighausen examines unexplored aspects of
image creation and image reception in such major Faulkner
novels as The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, A
Fable, and Absalom, Absalom!
Lothar Honnighausen is a professor of English and director of
the North American program at the University of Bonn. He
is general editor of Transatlantic Perspectives and
author of William Faulkner: The Art of Stylization in His
Early Graphic and Literary Work.