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Fade to Black: The Failure of Sacrifice in Faulkner's Light in August
Critical Sense (2002)
  • Peter J Goodwin
Faulkner's Light in August examines the vexed and volatile relationship between religion, justice, and personal and national violence. Drawing on the work of Girard, Bataille, and Mauss, I unearth the symbolic and cultural roots of sacrifice in the novel, concluding that Faulkner was deeply critical of any admixture of church and state. Faulkner depicts racial lynching as the sin of a society thirsty for vengeance, recklessly appropriating scraps of both religious sacrifice and secular justice, and hence unable to realize the peace-restoring aims of either tradition.
  • William Faulkner,
  • religion,
  • Christianity,
  • sacrifice,
  • mauss,
  • levi-strauss,
  • bataille,
  • light in august
Publication Date
Fall 2002
Publisher Statement
This is the author's post-print of an article originally published in Critical Sense, volume 11.1 (Fall 2002).
Citation Information
Peter J Goodwin. "Fade to Black: The Failure of Sacrifice in Faulkner's Light in August" Critical Sense Vol. 11 Iss. 1 (2002)
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