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Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! and Interpretability

The Inexplicable Unseen


Christine de Montauzon

All rich pieces of literature may elicit a great number of interpretations. The originality of Absalom, Absalom! lies in the nature of its «openness»: this novel responds to and ultimately defeats any and all critical efforts at interpretive closure. Using Piaget's cognitive operations of assimilation-accomodation, the critic applies them to mimetic illusion and verisimilitude, stylistic and linguistic analysis, mythical and archetypal decipherings, psychoanalytic orientations and diverse structural readings: The only meaning achievable is the sense of an impossibility of achieving meaning. Absalom marks the high point in Faulkner's career, when he let his writing power and obsession probe to the inner limits of the «prison house» of language: Absalom is a doomed work where the man cries out his failure or as M. Blanchet says beautifully «le ravissement d'une douleur».
Contents: The cognitive process of reading: assimilation-accommodation - The Reading Process: Recognizability and totalization - Style and Interpretation - Symbolism and Interpretability: the mythical dead end and the psychoanalytic reduction - Structure analyses: the central void - A disrupting openness and accommodation through Poetics.