A New Historicist Reading of Absalom, Absalom! and the Sound and the Fury

Abstract: William Faulkner's two masterpieces Absalom, Absalom! (1936) and The Sound and the Fury (1929) contain profound historical connotations, yet the connection between these two novels and New Historicism has remained for the most part unexplored. Consequently, based on the previous studies, the present thesis, with the method of close reading, attempts to reinterpret Faulkner's historical consciousness in Absalom, Absalom! and The Sound and the Fury from the perspective of New Historicism, which will add a significant understanding to the text/history relationship in these two novels.Through an in-depth analysis of Faulkner's historical consciousness of reconstructing the South in these two novels, the study initially expounds Faulkner's agreement with New Historicist assumptions of literature:Absalom, Absalom! and The Sound and the Fury are functional components of historical formations by reliving the hidden and lost histories. Then, the exploration of the representational form of this historical consciousness reveals Faulkner's tendency to resolve the monistic History into plural histories. Finally, by examining the narrative strategies Faulkner has used in these two novels to practice his historical consciousness, the thesis illustrates Faulkner's assertion of New Historicist focus on the marginalized historical narratives.On the basis of the above analysis, the thesis concludes that Absalom, Absalom! and The Sound and the Fury demonstrate clearly Faulkner's historical consciousness of reconstructing the South's history. However, his version of reconstruction does not represent the authority in the narrative, since he only intends to offer another way of writing history in order to dispel any blind trust in the master narrative…
Key words: Absalom; Absalom!; The Sound and the Fury; New Historicism; Historical Consciousness

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