AuthorPettey, Homer Boyd.
AdvisorDryden, Edgar A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study compares fetishistic desires exhibited within Faulkner's fiction to the narrative strategies governing those texts. It surveys Faulkner's thematic and narrative experiments with fetishism from his first poems and sketches through his major novels. His early works, especially "Nympholepsy" and The Marble Faun, capture fetishistic moments of longing and lack of fulfillment, attraction and repulsion. Faulkner's novels, though, re-enact the dynamics of fetishism by means of their narrative strategies; thus, Faulkner achieves a correspondence between the fictional form and the fetish depicted. Because his texts engage us within their shifting temporality and symbolic repetitions, as readers we invariably fall prey to the fetishistic desires his narratives initiate and imitate. Interpretive problems necessarily arise concerning the reader's relationship to the text and desire for meaning. In As I Lay Dying, multiple points-of-view call our attention to the validity of interpretive perception; in Sanctuary, rape operates as Faulkner's master trope for both the characters' and reader's struggles for dominance; in Absalom, Absalom!, writing and reading history are obsessions shared by the narrators and the reader. My readings are informed by several interdisciplinary approaches to fetishism, such as: icon-worship and totemism from anthropology; object and linguistic substitutions from psychoanalysis; commodity exchange and reification from Marxist theories; and sign production and displacement from post-structuralism. Instead of imposing a general taxonomy for fetishism, I have allowed each text's narrative and thematic structures to guide my readings and, therefore, consciously matched my readings to the particular fetishes his narratives engender.