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Call for Papers     

William Faulkner Journal
Deadline: January 31, 2003

Etudes Faulkneriennes Volume 4: "Truth and Meconnaissance in Faulkner's Fiction." Guest Editor, Michael Zeitlin.

The Etudes Faulknriennes is a journal/monograph published annually by the William Faulkner Foundation (France), University of Rennes, Haute Bretagne, under the general editorship of Andre Bleikasten, Michel Gresset, and Nicole Moulinoux.

Essays are solicited for the fourth volume to be published in 2003. Please send 25-page papers, MLA style, to: Professor Michael Zeitlin, Department of English, University of British Columbia, 397-1873 East Mall, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z1, Canada.

Telephone: (604) 822-4018


Faulkner scholars continue to be fascinated by Faulkner's engagement with Southern history. This issue of the Etudes Faulkneriennes focuses special attention not so much on Faulkner's representation of that history as on the inability of his major characters to comprehend the truth of the South's social relations without telling distortions and evasions. Hence the term "meconnaissance," as Jacques Lacan defines it, meaning "a failure to recognize," a "misconstruction," "a concept central to Lacan's thinking, since, for him, knowledge (connaissance) is inextricably bound up with meconnaissance" (Alan Sheridan). In Freudian terms, meconnaissance belongs in that constellation of concepts including "repression," "negation," "denial," and "disavowal," modes of defense which consist in the subject's refusal to recognize the reality of an outrageous or traumatic perception. In staging the scene of personal and cultural "meconnaissance," Faulkner's novels point to truths escaping the awareness of any single figure, including, paradoxically, that of the author himself. Light In August, for instance, knows more about racism and misogyny, and Absalom, Absalom! tells us more about American history, than Faulkner himself ever articulated in his public statements as a citizen of the South. Perhaps this is because fiction is a unique medium, capable of exploring fields of reality which cannot be known and revealed otherwise, and also because, as Andre Bleikasten suggests, a writer, no matter how great, never fully masters what the writing process brings to the light (or half-light) of language. If Faulkner's fiction makes darkness visible, it has its blind spots too.

This special issue will trace the ways in which insight and blindness interrelate and interact in Faulkner's fiction, probing into the novelist's complex and elusive relationship to the question of truth and to the social and historical realities he sought to represent.