Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

Bruce Harvey

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Nathaniel Cadle

Third Advisor's Name

Michael P. Gillespie


William Faulkner, the sublime

Date of Defense



The purpose of this thesis is to explore William Faulkner’s paradoxical modernist aesthetic. While his writings evince primal, earthy, and post-Civil War angst-ridden qualities, Faulkner’s narratives are also found to be hyper-postmodern. Using Jacques Derrida’s theories on the absent-present trace, I will show how certain micromoments in three of Faulkner’s texts showcase the “trace” forming a pathway to the inaccessible and unattainable sublime. I will use “trace” and general theories of the “sublime” as methodological tools to explore Faulkner’s narrative of pastoral loss, the cultural institutionalization of racial differences, as well as structures of mourning/melancholia that lead to the disruption of the pathway between trace and sublime. The imagery/narrative palpability, manifested through Faulkner’s pictorial imagination, brings Derridean theory to earth, yet meanwhile transcends any theoretical or conceptual methodology. The three micromoments will reveal ruptures (irreconcilable meanings) at work in the margins of these texts.





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