Myths, Hierophanies, and Sacraments in William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha Fiction

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Critical reactions to the religious experiences contained in William Faulkner's fiction have tended to fall within the context of traditional Christian belief systems. In most instances, the characters' beliefs have been judged by the tenets of belief systems or religions that are not necessarily those on which the characters base their lives. There has been no effort to understand the characters' spirituality as the basis of an independent religious belief system. Mircea Eliade's methods and models in the study of comparative religion, in particular his explanation of the interaction of the sacred and the profane during a hierophany (the manifestation ... continued below

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261 leaves

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Zimmermann, David H. (David Howard) May 1995.

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  • Zimmermann, David H. (David Howard)

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Critical reactions to the religious experiences contained in William Faulkner's fiction have tended to fall within the context of traditional Christian belief systems. In most instances, the characters' beliefs have been judged by the tenets of belief systems or religions that are not necessarily those on which the characters base their lives. There has been no effort to understand the characters' spirituality as the basis of an independent religious belief system. Mircea Eliade's methods and models in the study of comparative religion, in particular his explanation of the interaction of the sacred and the profane during a hierophany (the manifestation of the sacred), can be applied to the belief systems of Faulkner's characters to reveal the theologies of the characters' religions, the nature of the belief systems on which they base their lives. Identification of those stories associated with hierophanies in Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha fiction enables the isolation and analysis of the sacred stories and sacraments of Yoknapatawpha County's civil religion. The storytellings examined appear in Flags in the Dust, "A Justice," and Absalom, Absalom!. The storytellers and the audiences are all a part of the Yoknapatawpha community, and the stories are drawn from a common history. The sacralization and use of particular stories to explain certain events reflects the faith life of the community as a whole, as well as that of the individual participating in the ritual. The explication of the profane experiences the myths are meant to sanctify will reveal that the individuals, and consequently, the community, are in the process of discarding their old, civil religion. As a result, they have lost the ability to adapt their ancestral myths to fit the existential crises they presently face. Unable to infuse the present with the sacred, Yoknapatawpha1s younger generation is overwhelmed by the chaos that surrounds it.

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261 leaves

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  • May 1995

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  • March 24, 2014, 8:07 p.m.

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  • April 23, 2015, 9:18 a.m.

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Zimmermann, David H. (David Howard). Myths, Hierophanies, and Sacraments in William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha Fiction, dissertation, May 1995; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277821/: accessed August 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .