BACK COVER: This non-academic author exposes the poltergeist lurking in the cellar of Faulkner's uncanny and haunting novel Light in August as the ghost of Faulkner's first child Alabama. She was born prematurely and died tragically after only nine days, apparently in the clutches of fetal alcohol syndrome. Faulkner couldn't write anything substantial for 7 months and then started this disturbing novel.
The author demonstrates how Faulkner's own grief experience shaped the characters and the action and how he grounded part of his personal poltergeist in this novel. The resulting novel is full of tension and alienation. Strangers occupy Faulkner's fictional Jefferson, Mississippi against the background of the culturally reft South post-Civil War.
The author shows how Faulkner shrouded his intensely personal grief experience in a conceptual wardrobe borrowed from the philosopher and Nobel Prize winning Henri Bergson. Faulkner borrowed Bergsonian concepts of the life and death currents for the contrast in characters between those free in the present and those prisoners of the past. Lena Grove the young and pregnant country girl walking for weeks to find the father of her child bears the life current and Joe Christmas the orphan turned rapist and murderer the death current. The author demonstrates how Faulkner created the novel's other vivid characters using similar contrasts and how the plot strands tie together in a resonating whole.
The author's detailed textual analysis of important passages brings this difficult novel into focus. Like the author's other books on Joyce and Faulkner, use of this analysis either as literary foreplay or afterplay will enhance your reading experience of Faulkner's novel.