Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner: Faulkner, Light in August, Part II (Lecture 23 of 25) Yale | Fall 2011

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Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner (AMST 246)

Professor Wai Chee Dimock continues her discussion of Light in August by showing how the kindness of strangers turns into malice in the cases of social reformer Joanna Burden and Reverend Hightower. Whereas that malice assumes comedic tones in the depiction of Joanna's death, it has more complex valences in the case of Reverend Hightower, who is both ethically delicate towards his neighbors and insensitive to his adulterous wife. Professor Dimock concludes by observing the kinship between the dual narratives of Lena Grove and Joe Christmas as, respectively, the undramatic and dramatic strands of the novel. Drawing on her reading from last lecture, she shows how both Joe and Lena's consciousness is marked by the gerund form and a passivity of agency that makes them receptacles for the dramatic actions of others.

Warning: This lecture contains graphic content and/or adult language that some viewers may find disturbing

00:00 - Chapter 1. Christianity and Southern Hospitality
04:30 - Chapter 2. The Neighbor as Political Theology
07:06 - Chapter 3. The Resentment of Southerners for Northern Abolitionists
10:52 - Chapter 4. Tragedy as Comedy in the Death of Joanna Burden
19:07 - Chapter 5. The Reverend Hightower and the Malice of Strangers
24:07 - Chapter 6. The Ethical Challenge of Hightower
33:56 - Chapter 7. The Switchability of Joe Christmas and Lena Grove
38:41 - Chapter 8. Kinship Between Lena Grove and Joe Christmas
42:44 - Chapter 9. The Passivity of Lena Grove and Joe Christmas

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://oyc.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2011.

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