English 5188-02  Faulkner
Spring 2006
TR 12:30-1:45  Hum 208

Dr. Randy Hendricks
TLC 2-223, 678-839-4876
Office Hours:  TR 9:00-12:00
Available by appointment at other times.

Learning Outcomes
These pertain to all sections of ENGL 5188:

• Students will become familiar with the career of a major figure in literature.
• Students will understand how that writer's work both embodies the literary tradition that precedes it and influences the literature that follows it.
• Students will appreciate the ways in which a writer's career and reputation are influenced by social, political, historical, and cultural forces.
• Students will gain an enhanced knowledge of how criticism shapes literary history.
• Students will demonstrate in both oral and written work a discipline-specific critical facility through convincing and well supported analysis of course-related material.
• Students will be capable of conducting independent and meaningful course-related research and of synthesizing it in the form of a correctly documented research paper prepared according to current professional standards.

Course Description:
Though the terms shift periodically (“overvalued” in one decade, damned in another), William Faulkner continues to be the focus of much critical inquiry and debate.  As part of this work, this course undertakes to ascertain the significance of Faulkner's fiction in terms of its aesthetic value, its relation to a cluster of American and modern themes, and its value as a cultural/historical seismograph. We will approach Faulkner through close readings of individual texts, through intertextual connections that define the fascinating body of his work.  We will give some consideration as well to the extent of his influence on later writers.  This course concentrates on revealing Faulkner's value as an artist whose aesthetic accomplishment is more fully discernible in the larger and sometimes complementary and sometimes contradictory contexts of American, modernist, and regionalist literary interests.  Consideration of the history of Faulkner criticism will ground students in their own reading.

Relation to Program Goals:
This course directly supports the learning outcomes for the M.A. in English, specifically outcomes A, B, and D as listed on the department webpage at

1. two analytical papers, 3-4 typed pages (40%)
2. midterm (10%)
3. annotated bibliography (10%)
4. research paper (40%)

Some Policies, Expectations, and Other Important Information


The professional relation between an instructor and a student is not that of vendor and consumer.  One does not buy learning the way one buys a car, a sound system, or a hamburger.  Tuition buys thorough direction to your own study in the discipline provided by a professional with knowledge of and devotion to the field.  It does not buy you the right to decide not to attend class, do assigned work, or practice a radical individualism that proves a distraction to the instructor and classmates. By agreeing to teach the class, I agree to certain obligations.  By enrolling in the class, you have created obligations for yourself.  If you do not meet them, you will not succeed.

My basic expectation is that students be adults seriously preparing to be professionals.  They should understand that the way they conduct business has a direct influence on their success in the class and other tangible if longer-term results (For example, you are not only completing the requirements for the courses you are currently taking, you are developing professional relationships with your instructors, who will in due course serve as your primary references as you seek admission to graduate schools, employment, or other professional opportunities).

To be more specific, I expect students to come to each class meeting on time, prepared and ready to concentrate on the tasks at hand.  I further expect students to prepare all assignments with scrupulous attention to detail and directions.  And I tolerate no unprofessional distractions such as gum chewing, sleeping in class, using beepers or cell phones (either for incoming or outgoing calls).  Students who create such distractions will leave the class.

Deadline for Withdrawal:  The deadline for withdrawing from any class with a grade of W is March 2.  Students may withdraw from a class after that date only in the case of hardship.  Hardship withdrawals are determined in the office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, not by instructors or department chairs.  Students who are granted hardship withdrawals must withdraw from all their classes.
Department of English and Philosophy Plagiarism Policy
The Department of English and Philosophy defines plagiarism as taking personal credit for the words and ideas of others as they are presented in electronic, print, and verbal sources.  The Department expects that students will accurately credit sources in all assignments.  Plagiarism is grounds for failing the course.

Jan    10     Course Overview
         12     Lecture:  Faulkner:  A Brief Biography and History of Criticism
         17   The Unvanquished I-IV
         19   The Unvanquished V-VII
         24   The Sound and the Fury Part One
         26   The Sound and the Fury Part Two
         31   The Sound and the Fury Part Three
Feb     2     The Sound and the Fury Part Four
           7  The Sound and the Fury Paper one due.
           9   As I Lay Dying through page 127
         14   As I Lay Dying through end
         16   As I Lay Dying
         21     Taking Stock of where we have been
         23    Mid-term
         28   Light in August Chapters 1-7
Mar    2    Light in August Chapters 8-14
          7   Light in August Chapters 15-21
          9   Light in August
        14    Absalom, Absalom! I-II
        16    Absalom, Absalom! III-IV
        21    Spring Break
        23    Sping Break
        28    Absalom, Absalom! V-VI
        30    Absalom, Absalom! VII-IX
Apr.   4    The Hamlet Books I and II; Paper two due
          6 The Hamlet Books III and IV
        11    The Hamlet
        13    Go Down, Moses through page 180
        18    Go Down, Moses through end
        20    Collected Stories ("Barn Burning," "Shingles for the Lord," "The Tall Men," "Two Soldiers," "A Rose for Emily")
        25    Collected Stories ("Dry September," "Mule in the Yard," "That Evening Sun," "Red Leaves)
May   4    Research Papers Due

Research Paper Options (Suggestions only)

1.  An interpretation of a novel by Faulkner not read in class, grounded in the criticism:
Soldier’s Pay
• Mosquitos
• Sartoris
• Sanctuary
• Requium for a Nun
• The Town
• The Mansion
• The Wild Palms
• A Fable
• The Reviers

2. A reading of a text we’ve read from the perspective of a particular critical  approach:  formalistm historicist, structuralist, deconstructionist, feminist, etc.
3. An argument against a particular interpretation of a text we’ve studied in the class.
4. A comparison of Faulkner with another author.
5. Tracing the development of a motif or a theme through Faulkner’s work over his career.
6. Roll your own, after thorough discussion with me, of course.Aug. 20 Course Overview