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William Faulkner and the Civil War

Evening Program

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, September 10, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0525
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
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The long shadow of the Civil War hangs over the series of great novels that William Faulkner wrote about a largely un-Reconstructed South. Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949, he is still considered one of the greatest American writers of all time. In Yoknapatawpha County—the sprawling, deeply imagined world at the center of his art—Faulkner created perhaps the richest gallery of characters in American fiction.

Drawing on his book The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War, author Michael Gorra sheds light on the inner and outer forces that shaped Faulkner’s literary imagination and discusses how the Civil War is an inescapable point of reference in his characters. He explains how the Civil War can be used to understand Faulkner, and how Faulkner can be used to understand the war. Gorra examines how Faulkner can be appreciated in the 21st century through works that masterfully chronicle one of the most abhorrent periods in our nation’s history—the aftershocks of which are still being felt.

Gorra is a professor of English and literature at Smith College.

The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War is available for sale.

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