Sartre on William Faulkner's metaphysics of time in the sound and the fury

Sartre Studies International 7 (2):15-43 (2001)
Jean Paul Sartre in his essay, "On 'The Sound and the Fury': Time in the work of Faulkner," states that the technique of the fiction writer always relates back to his metaphysics (OSF 79). Faulkner's clock-based or chronological metaphysics of time found in The Sound and the Fury is the focal point of Sartre's criticism of this work. His main criticism that the novel's metaphysics of time leaves its characters with only pasts and no futures led some Faulkner scholars to seek the future in it while providing their own interpretation of time in Faulkner's work. However, although many of these works were inspired by Sartre's original contribution, none of them have attempted to provide an expanded Sartrean interpretation of the novel's metaphysics of time in light of some of his more elaborate remarks on time and temporality found in Being and Nothingness. The primary purpose of this study is to provide this expanded interpretation by first elucidating Sartre's criticisms of Faulkner's chronological metaphysics found in his original essay, and then analyzing each of the novel's four main sections under Sartre's theory of temporality and emotions.
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DOI 10.3167/135715501780886555
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