Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction

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pp. ix-xxii

Few readers might dispute the claim that Faulkner’s fiction is filled with mystery. Even after turning the last page of his novels, there is something that stubbornly remains unexplained. This puzzling “something” needs clarification, demands explanation, and calls for interpretation...

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Note on the Conference

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pp. xxiii-2

The thirty-sixth Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference sponsored by the University of Mississippi in Oxford took place 19–23 July 2009, with more than two hundred of the author’s admirers in attendance. Twelve presentations on the theme “Faulkner and Mystery” are collected as...

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And you are ——?”: Faulkner’s Mysteries of Race and Identity

Philip Weinstein

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pp. 3-18

What is mystery? Long before detective fiction, long before fiction itself, the term was operative, deriving apparently from Latin mysterium, which comes from Greek mysterion, meaning “secret rite or doctrine.” Someone participating in such a “Mystery” was a mystes, “one who has...

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The Blackness of Absalom, Absalom!

Donald M. Kartiganer

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pp. 19-48

The great mystery of Absalom, Absalom! is not why Thomas Sutpen rejected Charles Bon as a husband for his daughter Judith, but why it takes the four internal narrators of the story—these extraordinarily gifted prose artists and analysts of character—so incredibly long to...

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Reading " Red Leaves": Mouths, Labor Power, and Revolutions

Richard Godden

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pp. 49-66

Not knowing where to begin, I shall begin in a mysterious place: in a barn loft contemplating a lactating breast. As Issetibbeha’s body servant, hidden, waits for the death of his master (his waiting itself a mystery), he hears drumming from the creek bottom near the slave quarters: ...

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"Nice Believing": Mystery and Mysteries Light in August

Sean McCann

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pp. 67-89

Midway through Light in August, in one of his conversations with Byron Bunch, the Reverend Gail Hightower delivers a passing remark about the distance between his home and the area surrounding Joanna Burden’s now destroyed mansion. “I used to walk it myself now and then,”...

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"To Survive What Looked Out": The Forensic Trail and William Faulkner's Intruder in the Dust

Rachel Watson

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pp. 90-106

Describing the role of DNA evidence in the O. J. Simpson case, science historians Anne Joseph and Alison Winter write:
The various mechanical techniques which transformed the forensic traces in the Simpson case to the positive match had no social agendas or prejudices of their own. The fact that here, at least, one could imagine the evidence being...

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The Mysterious Case of the Cold War Imaginary: Faulkner’s Intruder in the Dust and Paul Bowles’s The Sheltering Sky

Hosam Aboul-Ela

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pp. 107-122

Literary critics have often made the connection between detective fiction and the desire for social order. In such stories, regimes of policing are valorized as institutions that preserve and protect against threats of violence and anomie.1 Recently, this observation has allowed us to see an...

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Critical Intruders: Unraveling Race and Mystery in Intruder in the Dust

Esther Sánchez-Pardo

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pp. 123-138

William Faulkner opens Intruder in the Dust (1948)1 by immediately undermining the certainty of the white racial knowledge that has just landed Lucas Beauchamp, his black protagonist, in jail: “It was just noon that Saturday morning when the sheriff reached the jail with Lucas...

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Reimagining the Femme Fatale: Requiem for a Nun and the Lessons of Film Noir

Susan V. Donaldson

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pp. 139-161

When Requiem for a Nun was published in 1951, a year after William Faulkner had been awarded the Nobel Prize for 1949, critics and readers were hard-pressed to make sense of this curious half-novel, half-detective film screenplay that Faulkner himself described as “an interesting...

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Open Spaces, Open Secrets: Sanctuary’s Mysterious “Something”

Lisa Hinrichsen

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pp. 162-177

Faulkner’s work frequently articulates trauma through the rhetorical performance of its displacement. Temple Drake’s rape, the central moment of sexual violence at the core of Sanctuary, is not directly represented; rather, it is spoken about repeatedly, urgently reemerging in dislocated...

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Unvanquished Uncertainty

Sarah Mahurin

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pp. 178-191

In “Skirmish at Sartoris,” the second-to-last chapter of The Unvanquished, Bayard Sartoris’s Aunt Louisa sends an anxious, unwieldy letter to Mrs. Compson, seeking her aid and—more crucially—her understanding, since “Mrs. Compson was a woman too, Aunt Louisa...

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Faulkner's Plots

Michael Gorra

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pp. 192-205

“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.” These are the opening words of Graham Greene’s 1951 The End of the Affair: one of the few books for which William Faulkner ever provided a blurb...

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"It Just Doesn't Explain": "The Leg," "Mistral," Evelyn Nesbit, and the Unreadable World

Noel Polk

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pp. 206-224

Edgar Allan Poe begins “The Man of the Crowd” this way:
It was well said of a certain German book that . . . it does not permit itself to be read. There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told. Men die nightly in their beds, wringing the hands of ghostly confessors, and looking...

Contributors

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pp. 225-228

Index

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pp. 229-234