WILLIAM FAULKNER (1897-1962)
- At the beginning of the 20th century, the U.S started to change its relations with the world and ended its isolation from international conflicts.
- The U.S was the world’s richest and most powerful nation;
- The U.S got involved in WW I (1917) and WW II (1941). The involvement in WWII was a consequence of the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbour;
- The U.S dropped the first atomic bomb used in the war on Hiroshima and Nagasaki;
- After WWII the U.S took over the role of leader of the Western World, establishing the Marshall Aid plan and NATO.
ECONOMY AND SOCIETY:
The 1920s were called “the roaring twenties”. It was a period of excess and enjoyment.
1920-1933 ̵ the Prohibition: the ban on alcohol, clubs are illegal but they function underground and alcohol is trafficked;
1929 ̵ the prosperity comes to a sudden end because of The Great Depression ̵ millions of people lose jobs and the economy suffers an abrupt decline;
Despite the economic hardships of the 1930s, society evolved:
- Women of the jazz era embraced new roles; they had more freedom, danced, drank, went clubbing.
- Fashion changed radically.
After WWII (1945) the economy enjoys a boom;
The consumer society is born:
- The middle class prospers and has access to higher education.
IDEOLOGY AND CULTURE:
American Modernism is characterized by a sharp break from
- The past
- The traditions of the Western civilization
- American modernist writers rebel against all previous literature and Western models, they are angry and disillusioned with the savage war and its consequences.
- Writers have a godless worldview;
- Breakdown of traditional values;
- Modernism is a reaction against Realism and Naturalism, which aimed at representing reality as we see it;
- Modernism is influenced by:
- Einstein’s theory of relativity;
- Freud’s psychological studies;
- Marx’s political theories.
- The modernist novel:
- Non-chronological, it experiments with the representation of time (temporal juxtapositions, sudden jumps);
- The modernist narration moves from one level of narration to another without warning; thus, it breaks narrative frames.
- The modernist narration focuses on the inner world. The plot of events becomes less important than the character’s consciousness, unconsciousness, memory, and perception.
- Experiments with form and style.
THE AUTHOR AND HIS WORK
- Born in Mississippi;
- Wrote novels, short stories, screenplays, poetry, essays;
- Failed to graduate from high school;
- Supported his family through writing;
- Won the Nobel Prize for Literature (1949) and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1955, 1963).
- “The Sound and the Fury”
- “As I Lay Dying”
- “Light in August”
- Absalom, Absalom!”
- “A Rose for Emily”
- “The Bear”