Abstract: William Faulkner’s Reputation(s)

To my knowledge, no one has compiled and compared the various explanations for William Faulkner’s change in fortunes from his career’s nadir (circa 1942) to Nobel win in 1950. I will analyze the most prominent of these explanations sociologically, placing theories of Faulkner’s resurgence as positions within the literary field themselves. Finally, I will take a stab at a sociological account of the “right” answer to that question—that is, explore if it’s possible to arrive at a convincing narrative of Faulkner’s individual trajectory while also acknowledging that every account of said trajectory is itself a position re: literary value and history.

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