Faulkner's Subject: A Cosmos No One Owns

Overview

Faulkner has, for forty years, been canonized as a master of modern literature. Contemporary critical theory, however, calls into question the very terms of this claim--canon, mastery, literature. Faulkner's Subject: A Cosmos No One Owns seeks to offer a reading of William Faulkner for our time, and does so by rethinking his masterpieces through the lenses of current critical theory. The book attends equally to the power of his work and to the current theoretical issues that would call that power into question. ...
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Overview

Faulkner has, for forty years, been canonized as a master of modern literature. Contemporary critical theory, however, calls into question the very terms of this claim--canon, mastery, literature. Faulkner's Subject: A Cosmos No One Owns seeks to offer a reading of William Faulkner for our time, and does so by rethinking his masterpieces through the lenses of current critical theory. The book attends equally to the power of his work and to the current theoretical issues that would call that power into question. Drawing on poststructuralist, psychoanalytic, ideological, and gender theory, Weinstein examines the harrowing process of "becoming oneself" at the heart of these novels. This self is always male, and it achieves subjective focus only through strategically mystifying or marginalizing women and blacks. The cosmos he called his own--the textual world he produced, of which he would be "sole owner and proprietor"--emerges as a cosmos no one owns, a verbal territory also generated (and biased) by the larger culture's discourses of gender and race. Like subjectivity itself, it is a cosmos no one owns.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...splendid in the range of questions it raises and the number of illuminating readings it offers....Faulkner's Subject is a work of considerable scholarship....[Weinstein's] study will be indispensable for further ideological analyses." John N. Duvall, Mississippi Quarterly

"Weinstein's readings of all four novels are sensitive, subtle, and at times even impassioned." Susan V. Donaldson, Journal of American History

"Philip Weinstein has written a brilliant, candid, timely book, not just about Faulkner as a writer but also about Faulkner as a changing institution of reading and teaching." Richard C. Moreland, Modern Fiction Stories

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations
Map
Introduction 1
1 Gender 11
Meditations on the Other: Faulkner's Rendering of Women 12
"If I could say Mother": Construing the Unsayable about Faulknerian Maternity 29
2 Race 42
Marginalia: Faulkner's Black Lives 43
"He come and spoke for me": Scripting Lucas Beauchamp's Three Lives 64
3 Subjectivity 82
"Thinking I was I was not who was not was not who": The Vertigo of Faulknerian Identity 83
Becoming Joe Christmas and Ike McCaslin 99
4 Culture: A Cosmos No One Owns 110
Conclusion 154
Bibliography 167
Index 177
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