Darwin and Faulkner’s Novels: Evolution and Southern Fiction

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9780230604629: Darwin and Faulkner’s Novels: Evolution and Southern Fiction

Displaying a wide range of knowledge and interpretive skill, Darwin and Faulkner's Novels reexamines the fiction of the great twentieth century American author from the interdisciplinary perspective of sociobiology. Challenging the assumption that Faulkner's South was nothing other than a reactionary wilderness and charting the manner in which Faulkner learned and applied his evolutionary concepts, this book unsettles staid interpretations of the Falknerian canon and overturns habitual judgments as to the value of his later novels.

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About the Author:

MICHAEL WAINWRIGHT is Lecturer in American Literature and Modernism at University of Lancaster, UK.

Review:

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"An important contribution to Faulkner studies and Southern studies by complicating the standard political view of the South as a reactionary, antimodernist, and fundamentalist region in the nation." - Modern Fiction Studies

"Wainwright's groundbreaking study moves from a careful reading of Faulkner in the context of the South's reception of Darwinian ideas to a fully-worked interpretation of his work in terms of a philosophically elaborated, evolutionary aesthetic. Whether dealing with the thematics of 'blood' and race, natural selection, environmentalism, or the ethics of the 'Prisoner's Dilemma', he offers a challenging interpretation of an oeuvre which he inhabits with both passion and mastery." - Tim Armstrong, Professor of Modern English and American Literature, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

"Faulkner's intuitive naturalism articulated itself in the evolutionary ideas available in his culture. Wainwright gives an intelligent and densely documented account of Faulkner's engagements with these ideas. By adopting 'an evolutionary hermeneutic,' Wainwright gains new angles of access into Faulkner's figurations of inheritance, sexual politics, racial consciousness, and ecological awareness. His interpretive reflections culminate in a meditative dialogue with Faulkner on the themes of human rapacity and moral aspiration." - Joseph Carroll, author of Evolution and Literary Theory and Literary Darwinism: Evolution, Human Nature, and Literature

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