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Recollection and Discovery

The Rhetoric of Character in William Faulkner's Novels


Cathy Wägner

For over half a century readers trying to make sense of Faulkner's characters have found themselves misled, conned, shocked, and left in the lurch. Faulkner's «tricks» continue to meet all too often with critical misunderstanding or disapproval. A new mode of inquiry casts light on the way the characters assume meaning in the novels. Taking on the roles of recollecting insider and discovering outsider, the reader can describe a rhetoric of character which links reader, work, and author. This study recreates strands of the reading process in Light in August, Absalom, Absalom¿, The Hamlet, Go Down, Moses, and «Knight's Gambit.»
Contents: Rhetoric as interrelation of reader, text, and repertoire - Reader's reconstruction of character in five Faulkner works - Strategies of recollection and discovery in Faulkner's canon - Other authors and the rhetoric of character.