Tao Jie, ed.,
Faulkner: Achievement and Endurance
Selected Papers, International Conference on William Faulkner

Beijing: Peking University Press, 1998. 388pp.


     This is a collection of twenty papers presented in the International Faulkner Symposium at Peking University, November, 1997. Since two of them, one by M. Thomas Inge and another by Zhu Shida, were accepted by our editors and published in the previous issue of this online journal, I would like to comment on other papers.
     Jin Hengshan, in his "The Otherness in As I Lay Dying--An Interpretation of As I Lay Dying through Bakhtinian Dialogism," argues that Faulkner's self-contradiction is detectable. The novel's central theme is openly claimed by Faulkner to be courage and endurance, and such heroic scenes are found in the family journey to Jefferson. Contrary to the theme, however, family members do not necessarily agree with each other, and some of them even contradict themselves. Jin argues that such contradictory elements are what Bakhtin calls "the otherness," which is manifested in the novel by the centrifugal forces of language itself against Faulkner's intention.
     Alex Kuo, novelist, points to the fact in "The Writer as Private Eye: Interpreting Evidence in The Sound and the Fury and Absalom, Absalom!" that Faulkner very carefully and skillfully selected minute details in his quest for the truth of life and history.
     In his "Revenge and Dialogue in Absalom, Absalom!," Liu Jianhua claims that the novel was Faulkner's message to the contemporary society where constructive dialogues such as the one between Quentin and Shreve are needed instead of revenges.
     Sarah Liu's "The Forlorn Echo of the Dead: Addie Bundren and the Paradox of Language," argues that the central theme of As I Lay Dying is the tension between metonymic fluidity and phallic fixity which Addie was aware of.
     Eleanor Porter, in her "Faulkner and the American Nature Tradition," evaluates Faulkner highly in American tradition of nature writing on the basis that Faulkner's language carries the dilemma of the relationship between nature and human beings.
     "Growing up in the South: Faulkner's Intruder in the Dust" is written by the editor himself, Tao Jie. Reading the work as an initiation story, Tao claims that the notorious flaws such as Lucas's obscurity and Stevens's conservative moralization are not flaws but necessary parts of the organic whole. Tao assumes that Faulkner was conscious of the difficulty for Chick to criticize such people as Gavin Stevens properly.
     Kiyoko Toyama's "A Huge Parable on Peace--Faulkner's War and Peace" is an English version of her paper published in 1995.
     Wei Yujie asserts in his "W. Faulkner's Two Worlds" that Faulkner's literary space is made up of two contrastive worlds: the real world in which Faulkner finds hatred, treason, greed, failures, and such characters as Sutpen, Popeye, Christmas, and Addie; and the new ideal world which Faulkner creates for Dilsey, Lena, and Stevens to live a natural life in faith of God and order.
     The other papers are: "Faulkner and Modernism: History and Subjectivity in Absalom, Absalom!" (Esther M.K. Cheung); "Truth of Life Can Hardly Be Reached--The Hidden Philosophy in As I Lay Dying" (Hu Hong); "Sutpen's Honor: William Faulkner and the Historians" (Charles Joyner); "On the Polyphonic Features in The Sound and the Fury" (Liu Jianbo); "He Was Talking About a Girl . . . He Had to Talk About Something: William Faulkner on the Subject and the Object of Literature" (William Moss); "Landscape of the Heart: The City and the Feminine in William Faulkner's 'Artist at Home' and 'Idyll in the Desert'"(Linda Pui-ling Wong); "Soldiers' Pay as a Germ of Faulkner's Great Literary Career" (Wu Bing); "Dialogism and Plurality in Absalom, Absalom!" (Xiao Minghan); "Verbal Forms and Narrative Effects in Go Down, Moses" (Suying Yang); and "Faulkner's Soldiers' Pay: A Southerner's Romance and Modern Warfare" (Yao, Naiqiang).

Copyright (c)2000  Yoshizaki Yasuhiro