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The Dixie LimitedWriters on William Faulkner and His Influence$
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M. Thomas Inge

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496803382

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2017

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496803382.001.0001

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“Dark Laughter in the Towers”

“Dark Laughter in the Towers”

(p.121) “Dark Laughter in the Towers”
The Dixie Limited

Terry Southern

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter reviews William Faulkner's 1929 novel As I Lay Dying, the story of the death of Addie Bundren and her family's journey to a cemetery in Jefferson, Mississippi. Addie's husband and five children, carrying her body in a coffin in a wagon, encounter various difficulties along the way. The chapter first discusses humor in existentialist literature before focusing on the absurd in As I Lay Dying. It also considers protagonists in English fiction who all possess candor and a sense of the absurd, including Jimmy Porter, Sebastian Dangerfield, Charles Lumley, Billy Liar, and Larry Vincent. It argues that the “grotesque” in Faulkner is not ordinarily read as humorous because the highly personalized style tends to obscure it.

Keywords:   humor, William Faulkner, novel, As I Lay Dying, existentialist literature, absurd, fiction, candor, grotesque

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