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Faulkner and Welty and the Southern Literary Tradition$
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Noel Polk

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781934110843

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781934110843.001.0001

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Faulkner and the Commies

Faulkner and the Commies

(p.82) Faulkner and the Commies
Faulkner and Welty and the Southern Literary Tradition

Noel Polk

University Press of Mississippi

In William Faulkner’s novel The Unvanquished, four self-proclaimed “reformers”—Buck, Buddy, Granny, and John Sartoris—speak a common language, the language of their dream of community among the poor, the displaced and dispossessed black and white workers of the South. This chapter examines the new ideas about land ownership and social relations in The Unvanquished that are reminiscent of Communism. It argues that the novel is Faulkner’s reaction to American intellectuals’ dalliance with the Communist Party in the 1920s and 1930s, and that he explores the social and political consequences of a single-minded commitment to ideological purity by highlighting similarities between the American Civil War and the Russian Revolution. In The Unvanquished, Faulkner re-writes Reconstruction, and his Southern revolutionaries are the slaves inspired by the language of freedom and equality.

Keywords:   land ownership, William Faulkner, Unvanquished, Communism, Communist Party, Reconstruction, revolutionaries, slaves, freedom, equality

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