Seminar Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez unabashedly claims William Faulkner as “my master,” says that “Faulkner is present in all the novels of Latin America,” and mischievously insists that “The Hamletis the best South American novel ever written.” Since the 1950s, other major writers from around the world have similarly trumpeted the crucial influence of Faulkner on their writing. Why? What about Faulkner excited their imagination and inspired their work, allowing them to achieve their own singularities? This course aims to elucidate not only Faulkner’s formal inventions and literary techniques but his social and moral concerns, so as to examine how they inform such writers as Juan Benet (Spain), Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Colombia), Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru), Antonio Lobo Antunes (Portugal), Kateb Yacine (Algeria) and Patrick Chamoiseau (Martinique).
Among the works we will read are: Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!; As I Lay Dying; The Hamlet; Light in August; Sanctuary; and The Sound and the Fury; and throughout our engagement with Faulkner Benet’s Return to Region, Garcia Marquez’s The Autumn of the Patriarch, Vargas Llosa’s The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta, Lobo Antunes’s What Can I Do When Everything’s on Fire?,Yacine’s Nedjma, and Chamoiseau’s Texaco. The course will conclude with a reading of Faulkner, Mississippi, meditations upon the writer by Martinican poet and critic Edouard Glissant.
The course requirements are: a short (3-5 pages) piece of literary criticism on a clearly defined topic to be determined in consultation with the instructor—which essay will be orally presented to the class—and a 12-15 page final exercise in imitation of any writer covered during the semester.