Thursday, April 3, 2014

URSP Student Liana Glew Studies the Works of William Faulkner

I became interested in studying the works of William Faulkner after returning from studying abroad at Oxford University. In one of my tutorials there, I studied British fantasy literature. Upon my return, I was interested in rounding out my studies by focusing on American literature. I found an excellent parallel to the fantasy authors from Oxford, UK in the southern gothic from Faulkner’s hometown of Oxford Mississippi. Though my concentration is Modern British Literature, I feel that broadening my lens to include American literature will contribute to my abilities as a future high school teacher. Not only does the unique format of the URSP offer a fresh pedagogical experience, but the subject matter and its relation to my previous research also provides first-hand experience in comparing disparate literature.

On a weekly basis, I follow a progression that will ultimately lead to a thesis paper on the workings of flesh, blood, and bone in relation to socioeconomic, gendered, and racial systems of disempowerment in the text. So far, I have read and annotated six of Faulkner’s novels and chosen to work with four. I’ve examined a number of critical texts and analyzed them with relevance to my thesis in a literature review. Now, I am spending two weeks sifting through the critical texts and the novels to assess the language (in the critical texts, I am looking at the workings of “abject” and “grotesque;” in the novels, I am studying the ways in which “flesh,” “blood,” and “bone” are presented). This week, I’ve come to the decision to eschew the word “grotesque” in my writing altogether. I’ve observed in my reading that throughout the history of southern gothic studies, the term has become mangled and convoluted. I’ve decided to solely work with the “abject,” especially in relation to the physical bodies in the novels. Ideally, my final project will serve as an innovative contribution to the scholarly conversation surrounding Faulkner’s work.