Faulkner and the Native South

Faulkner and the Native South

Jay Watson, Annette Trefzer, and James G., Jr. Thomas

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9781496818096

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi


With the rise of new scholarly paradigms in the study of Native American histories and cultures, and the emergence of the Native South as a key concept in US southern studies, the time is more than ripe for a critical reassessment of Native sites, characters, communities, customs, narratives, ways of knowing, and other indigenous elements in the writings of William Faulkner—and of Faulkner’s significance for Native American writers, artists, and intellectuals. From new insights into the Chickasaw sources and far-reaching implications of Faulkner’s fictional place-name “Yoknapatawpha,” to discussions that reveal the potential for indigenous land-, family-, and story-based worldviews to deepen understanding of Faulkner’s fiction (including but not limited to the novels and stories he devoted explicitly to Indian topics), the eleven essays of this volume take the critical analysis of Faulkner’s Native South and the Native South’s Faulkner beyond no-longer generative assessments of the historical accuracy of his Native representations or the colonial hybridity of his Indian characters, turning instead to indigenous intellectual culture for new models, problems, and questions to bring to Faulkner studies. Along the way, readers are treated to illuminating comparisons between Faulkner’s writings and the work of a number of Native American authors, filmmakers, tribal leaders, and historical figures. Faulkner and the Native South brings together Native and non-Native scholars in a stimulating and often surprising critical dialogue about the indigenous wellsprings of Faulkner’s creative energies and about Faulkner’s own complicated presence in Native American literary history.