At the turn of the millennium, the Martinican novelist Édouard Glissant offered the bold prediction that "Faulkner's oeuvre will be made complete when it is revisited and made vital by African Americans," a goal that "will be achieved by a radically 'other' reading." In the spirit of Glissant's prediction, this collection places William Faulkner's literary oeuvre in dialogue with a hemispheric canon of black writing from the United States and the Caribbean. The volume's seventeen essays and poetry selections chart lines of engagement, dialogue, and reciprocal resonance between Faulkner and his black precursors, contemporaries, and successors in the Americas.
Contributors place Faulkner's work in illuminating conversation with writings by Paul Laurence Dunbar, W. E. B. Du Bois, James Weldon Johnson, Jean Toomer, Nella Larsen, Claude McKay, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Ernest J. Gaines, Marie Vieux-Chauvet, Toni Morrison, Edwidge Danticat, Randall Kenan, Edward P. Jones, and Natasha Trethewey, along with the musical artistry of Mississippi bluesman Charley Patton.
In addition, five contemporary African American poets offer their own creative responses to Faulkner's writings, characters, verbal art, and historical example. In these ways, the volume develops a comparative approach to the Faulkner oeuvre that goes beyond the compelling but limiting question of influence--who read whom, whose works draw from whose--to explore the confluences between Faulkner and black writing in the hemisphere.
About the Author
Jay Watson, Oxford, Mississippi, is Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies and professor of English at the University of Mississippi. He is the editor of Conversations with Larry Brown and Faulkner and Whiteness (University Press of Mississippi).
James G. Thomas, Jr., Oxford, Mississippi, is associate director for publications at the University of Mississippi's Center for the Study of Southern Culture. He is editor of Conversations with Barry Hannah (University Press of Mississippi) and an editor for the twenty-four-volume New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.