Andrew Wyeth, That Gentleman

William Faulkner: Absalom, Absalom!

Instructor: Kristen Renzi
Myrtle’s Punch House
2733 Woodburn Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45206

Nobel Prize winner William Faulkner is rightfully lauded as one of the great modernist writers of Southern Literature. His work—steeped in vivid, experimental engagements with language—chronicles the peculiar effects of slavery’s legacy within the pre-Civil Rights era South. One of the most moving, and troubling, of his novels is his 1936 classic Absalom, Absalom!, which tells the story of the Sutpen family, whose rise to social prominence in 19th-century Jefferson, Mississippi, is eventually undone by family secrets, incestuous desires, and human abuses. Reading closely the whole of Faulkner’s beguiling narrative, as well as an alternative story of the post-Reconstruction South (Charles Chesnutt’s Conjure Tales), we’ll ask: in what ways does the story of the Sutpen clan serve as an exploration of the American lineage—particularly the country’s abusive, parasitical, and inextricable relationship to the institution of slavery? What are the links between private familial memory and our continued national struggle with racism and racial violence? What types of hope might emerge from confronting the long shadow of slavery?

Course Schedule

Tuesday, 6:15-9:15pm
October 24 — November 14, 2017
4 weeks


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