Essays by Charles S. Aiken, Katherine R. Henninger, T. J. Jackson Lears, Miles Orvell, Kevin Railey, D. Matthew Ramsey, Joseph R. Urgo, Jay Watson, and Patricia Yaeger
Photographs, lumber, airplanes, hand-hewn coffins--in every William Faulkner novel and short story worldly material abounds. The essays in Faulkner and Material Culture provide a fresh understanding of the things Faulkner brought from the world around him to the one he created.
Charles S. Aiken surveys Faulkner's representation of terrain and concludes, contrary to established criticism, that to Faulkner, Yoknapatawpha was not a microcosm of the South but a very particular and quite specifically located place. Jay Watson works with literary theory, philosophy, the history of woodworking and furniture-making, and social and intellectual history to explore how Light in August is tied intimately to the region's logging and woodworking industries.
Other essays in the volume include Kevin Railey's on the consumer goods that appear in Flags in the Dust. Miles Orvell discusses the Confederate Soldier monuments installed in small towns throughout the South and how such monuments enter Faulkner's work. Katherine Henninger analyzes Faulkner's fictional representation of photographs and the function of photography within his fiction, particularly in The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, and Absalom, Absalom!
Joseph R. Urgo is dean of the faculty at Hamilton College. Ann J. Abadie is associate director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.