Abstract

It is tempting to write about William Faulkner’s fiction making use of post-structural claims, seeing language as an obstacle—not a vehicle—to understanding. This paper responds to such claims, arguing against the common belief that Faulkner’s writing is made up of an inscrutable verbal style. Instead, Faulkner’s unique prose style is an attempt to evoke the metaphorical lost landscapes of the past. I use Martin Heidegger’s work here: he claims the language of poetry has the potential to bring meaning into existence. I also rely on Maurice Merleau-Ponty, who argues that language is not merely a signifier, but that it brings meaning and creates a new dimension to human existence. Applying these theories to Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, I argue that language is not inadequate, but rather a regenerative illusion; that Faulkner uses language to create a spiraling, looping narrative string, entwining past and present in the language of poetry.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 95-111
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-02
Open Access
No
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