Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
American ObscurantismHistory and the Visual in U.S. Literature and Film$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Peter Lurie

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199797318

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199797318.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 July 2020

Seeing in the Dark Houses

Seeing in the Dark Houses

History and Obscurity in Light in August and Absalom, Absalom!

(p.27) 1 Seeing in the Dark Houses
American Obscurantism

Peter Lurie

Oxford University Press

This chapter uses historicist criticism of William Faulkner to suggest a limit to even the best approaches to this deeply historical writer. Attending to what his novels cannot say—or—see about history and racial understanding, I draw on Maurice Blanchot’s philosophy of language to show the category error that scholars make when assuming that Faulkner’s texts yield the historical secret lodged in the imagined structures and complicated texts Absalom, Absalom! and Light and August, each of which bore the title “Dark House” in manuscript form. The chapter shows the more meaningful aporias and lacunae surrounding race and racial meaning in each novel and the U.S. south—problems attendant on language and the effort to name. It offers a model for historical knowledge drawn from Blanchot and from film theory of fascination, a spellbound, rapt sense of wonder before traumatic events, one that elements of Absalom evoke in readers and posits in Quentin Compson.

Keywords:   William Faulkner, southern history, Rosa Coldfield, Thomas Sutpen, blackness, writing, opacity, Maurice Blanchot, fascination, film

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .