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Faulkner's Media Romance

Julian Murphet

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ISBN 10: 019066424X / ISBN 13: 9780190664244
Published by OUP USA 2017-09-14, 2017
New Condition: New
From Chiron Media (Wallingford, United Kingdom)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Faulkner's Media Romance

Publisher: OUP USA 2017-09-14

Publication Date: 2017

Book Condition: New

About this title


This book treats William Faulkner's major fiction―from Flags in the Dust through to Absalom, Absalom!―to a searching reappraisal under the spotlight of a media-historical inquiry. It proposes that Faulkner's inveterate attraction to the paradigms of romance was disciplined and masked by the recurrent use of metaphorical figures borrowed from the new media ecology. Faulkner dressed up his romance materials in the technological garb of radio, gramophony, photography, and cinema, along with the transportational networks of road and air that were being installed in the 1920s. His modernism emerges from a fraght but productive interplay between his anachronistic predilection for chivalric chichés and his extraordinarily knowledgeable interest in the most up-to-date media institutions and forms. Rather than see Faulkner as a divided author, who worked for money in the magazines and studios while producing his serious fiction in despite of their symbolic economies, this study demonstrates how profoundly his mature art was shot through with the figures and dynamics of the materials he publicly repudiated. The result is a richer and more nuanced understanding of the dialectics of his art.


From our leading theorist of multimedia modernism, by previous title and by any other name, and under the command again of Murphet's dialectical zest as well as virtuoso prose, this book is a gripping revisionary look at Faulkner's means for deflecting his inveterate gothic melodrama with such technomodernist evocations as those associated with the culture industry, from radio and phonography to photoessayism and film, all as a sheltering interface for the novelist's romance atavism. Marxist literary history, formalist narratology, and nuanced genre theory converge on these issues in a monumentally incisive demonstration-and a thrilling critical narrative all its own. (Garrett Stewart, author of Transmedium: Conceptualism 2.0 and the New Object Art)

Faulkner's Media Romance is an extraordinary book. With breathtaking originality, Julian Murphet transforms our conceptualizations of Faulkner's motivating thematic concerns, anxieties about genre, and stylistic ambitions. He reimagines the terms of Faulkner's confrontation with modernity and modernism by locating Faulkner's writing within its modern media environment. This book brilliantly demonstrates how Faulkner's engagement with the new forms of mechanical (and later electric) reproduction of voice and visual field constituted both a massive claim on Faulkner's project as a writer, by posing a threat to the very status and purpose of literature, but also provided an unlooked for opportunity to crack open the social mentalities and generic traditions that constrained him. This is criticism of superior intelligence, and its enormous richness will occupy Faulkner scholarship and modernist studies for a good while. (John T. Matthews, Boston University)

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