As if the Wood of which it was built were Flesh: The House Motif in Faulkner

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Title: As if the Wood of which it was built were Flesh: The House Motif in Faulkner
Authors: Bork, Dirk
Thesis advisor: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Karrer
Thesis referee: apl.Prof. Dr. Sigrid Markmann
Abstract: Based on a joint qualitative and quantitative approach, this dissertation analyzes Faulkner´s use of the house motif and related imagery in all of his novels and short story collections. Chapter One recapitulates what has been published on this issue before, a definition of the term "literary motif" follows in Chapter Two. Chapter Three provides a brief outline of different architectural styles used in the American South. Chapter Four introduces the reader to Lévi-Strauss´ notion of a house-based society. Chapter Five offers information about the use of the house motif in American literature in general. Chapter Six, the main part of my dissertation, is divided into three sections. The first section analyzes the significance of private houses [plantation houses, mansions, town houses, and cabins], the second section discusses the nature of public houses [courthouse, jail, banks, barbershops, churches, brothels] and public open spaces, while the third section, by contrast, highlights the symbolic meaning of elementary co-occurrences [attics, windows, doors, porches, fences] in Faulkner´s body of work. In the conclusion in Chapter Seven, my dissertation presents inter alia the following results: 1. The house motif and elementary co-occurrences symbolize a segregated society. 2. Yoknapatawpha County is a house-based society as defined by Lévi-Strauss in which houses are key symbols to organize and structure Yoknapatawpha´s society. 3. Faulkner derived his use of the house-motif from the Gothic tradition. 4. House related imagery like windows, doors, and fences, for instance, are not only used as spatial metaphors of liminality; these elementary co-occurrences also have a prominent position the complex symbol system of the house motif. The appendix contains statistics to fifteen novels and four short story collections highlighting the most frequently occurring nouns in these literary works.
Subject Keywords: William Faulkner; class; race; gender; public and private houses; segragation; social exclusion
Issue Date: 4-Mar-2008
Type of publication: Dissertation oder Habilitation [doctoralThesis]
Appears in Collections:FB07 - E-Dissertationen

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