Professor Wai Chee Dimock concludes her discussion of Light in August and the semester by mapping Faulkner’s theology of Calvinist predestination onto race. Using Nella Larsen’s novel Passing as an intertext, she shows how Joe Christmas’s decision to self-blacken expresses his tragic sense of being predestined, of always “coming second.” Moving away from tragedy, Dimock reads Hightower’s delivery of Lena’s baby as inhabiting a liminal space between tragedy and comedy, as Faulkner gives Hightower a second chance at meaningful communal agency. She finishes by reading Lena Grove and Byron Bunch’s courtship as the comic end of Light in August.
Warning: This lecture contains graphic content and/or adult language that some users may find disturbing.
This course examines major works by Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner, exploring their interconnections on three analytic scales: the macro history of the United States and the world; the formal and stylistic innovations of modernism; and the small details of sensory input and psychic life.
Warning: Some of the lectures in this course contain graphic content and/or adult language that some users may find disturbing.