Faulkner’s Heroic Design
The Yoknapatawpha Novels

Lynn Gartrell Levins

In this discerning study of Faulkner's major novels from Sartoris to The Reivers, Lynn Levins answers the criticism that the fictional world of William Faulkner is not heroic enough. Her study analyzes his heroic design--his rendering of the events of his rural community of Yoknapatawpha against scenes from myth, classical drama, epic poetry, and chivalric and historical romance. In each case Faulkner is not parodying traditional literary modes to focus on the grotesque diminution of legend and myth in Yoknapatawpha County; rather he is writing in As I Lay Dying and Old Man and The Hamlet of the fulfillment of an ethical obligation. When that obligation is met in spite of temptations and difficulties, then the action of Anse Burden or the tall convict or the idiot Ike Snopes approaches heroic proportions. Behind the chivalric framework of the tall convict's epic journey or the identification of Thomas Sutpen as the old Greek tragic hero lies a heroic ideal. By employing such a design Faulkner affirms man's historical continuity and asserts his belief that in the twentieth century the heroic is still possible.
Page count: 216 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $25.95

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Lynn Gartrell Levins taught in the English department at St. Agnes School in Arlington, Virginia.