Since the Network was established in late November 2017, we have been fortunate enough to attract a wide array of scholars, doctoral reseachers, and students from across the globe. Please see below for biographical and contact information of a few members of our Network.

Dr Mary Kate Azcuy, Associate Professor at Monmouth University (

Bundren Death Brides: Faulkner’s Addie and Dewey Dell

My study investigates William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, relative to gender, theory, myth, and a close reading of the characters of Addie Bundren and her daughter, Dewey Dell. These women are constructs that antagonize theoretical conversation and analysis regarding gender, sex, subject/object relations, and the intertextual and mimetic purpose for these southern-gothic characterizations of women. These women are dual aspects of each other, and draw forward analysis of the text relative to tropes of women as corpses, “death brides,” and animals.

These connotations are derived from the novel’s title that Faulkner recalled as from a translation (perhaps Merry and Riddel) of “The Book of the Dead,” The Odyssey Book XI where Agamemnon retells the story of his murder, by his wife Clytemnestra: “As I lay dying, the woman with the dog’s eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades.” This correlation antagonizes conversations of woman as creatures, here a dog; for Faulkner’s Vardaman, Addie’s son, “My mother is a fish.” Dewey finds herself in “a tub full of [fish] guts” she interprets, as “God gave women a sign when something has happened bad” (5). A woman’s body, once “cut into jagged pieces, bleeds quietly in a pan” (59). These women, sometimes in comparatives to fish or dogs, also connote the Bible (Jesus, Mary, ‘the power of the dog,’ which is god) in the Dis and Underworld where Agamemnon warns Odysseus about the folly of death bride. These inversions of the divine, gods/dogs, are measured for use value, sex and birth, corrupt constructs that result in domestic oppression, violence, and death.

The bloody trail the family follows, taking the mother’s wedding-gowned and coffined corpse through the “red path” mimics the southern United States problematic history, a place haunted by the history of the Civil War, racism, and slavery in “The Christ-haunted South.” Here, women are representative of that history, as the corpses, one dead, the other, the doppelgänger daughter, Dewey, pregnant, in a corrupt cycle, in a corrupt place. Karl Marx in “Fetishism of Commodities and the value thereafter” (Capital, vol. 1, section 4) explained how such objects lose value and equal a spectral existence. These southern grotesques are a haunting from history and a continued haunting about the subjugation of women. Maggie Burns’ study “A Good Rose is Hard to Find: Southern Gothic as Signs of Social Dislocation in Faulkner & O’Connor” from Image and Ideology in Modern/Postmodern Discourse, explained such representations, where “southern gothic is a literary technique which both enacts and conceals the dehumanization of response in the south” (107), where the “South is an ideological Other for the nation as a whole” (107). This connects to Foucault’s “counter memory—a transformation of history into a totally different time” (Language, Counter-Memory, Practice 160), where Faulkner joins the mythic, metaphysical, and historic.


Dr Michał Choiński, Assistant Professor of American literature, Jagiellonian University (

The Southern Agṓn – the Study of the Rhetorical Conflict in Faulkner’s “Dry September

In his introduction to The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner declares, assuming the collective voice of the South: “We need to talk, to tell, since oratory is our heritage” (1973: 413). His insistence on the importance of rhetoric, and on the potent, emphatic use of language remains visible in the meta-linguistic character of Southern writings. As stipulated by Richard Gray (2007:3), Faulkner habitually used the “productive relation between voices: not just the possibility but the fact of genuine dialogue within communities and between generations” in the South. This paper aims to investigate one aspect of this rhetorical polyphony, namely the clash between two divergent modes of argumentation and predication used by the characters of Faulkner’s “Dry September”. The author of the paper will argue that the escalating argument between the characters of this short story can be construed as an agonistic conflict, in which the impossibility of resolution prefigures the lynching violence. In “Dry September”, in the public space of the barber show, against the background of a heatwave, Faulkner escalates and collides two incongruent rhetorics whose dialectic antagonism becomes emblematic of the social conflicts that remain perennial for his understanding of “Southerness”.

Michał Choiński is Assistant Professor of American literature in the Institute of English Studies at the Jagiellonian University, Kraków Poland. In the recent years, he delivered guest lectures at Yale University, University of South Carolina, Salem State University, Queens University (Belfast), Freie Universität (Berlin) and the University of Padua. Choiński’s monograph Rhetoric of the Revival came out in 2016 with V&R in an academic series of Jonathan Edwards Centre at Yale University. He has also co-edited a volume on cognitive linguistics for Mouton de Gruyter, and authored almost thirty articles that were published, among others, in Mississippi Quarterly, Amerikastudien, Jonathan Edwards Studies and Polish Journal of American Studies. Choiński is engaged in two research grant projects in which, which his colleagues, he studies American literature with the help of Digital Humanities. As part of this research, stylometry was applied to compare and contrast the authorship signals of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman. His next book, Southern Hyperboles, will be published with the Southern Studies Series of Louisiana State University Press in 2020. Choiński also writes poetry – his latest volume is entitled Gifts Without Wrapping (Hedgehog Press, 2019).


Elena Dobre, doctoral candidate, Universidad Jaume I, Spain

Unsacred Sanctuary: Temple Drake’s Traumatic Confinement

William Faulkner’s infamous Sanctuary (1931) is a work whose title anticipates the novel’s complex portrayal of place which this paper wants to showcase. Its protagonist, Temple Drake, has been one of Faulkner’s canonically vilified figure, holding up until recently an anti-heroic status. However, turn of the century interpretations (Freedman 2013; Hinrichsen, 2015) have read in the character’s portrayal significant signs of trauma stemming from her debilitating rape experience framed by her belonging to a Southern moralizing aristocracy. This paper aims to expand Temple’ s characterization as a rape trauma victim by underscoring her dimension as (sex) captivity victim (Herman, 1992). Thus, by spending a significant portion of the novel trapped – in the ruins of a decaying plantation house and in a brothel–, I want to advance the claim that Temple’s trauma cannot be understood without her protracted confinement and, more importantly, without her particular affiliation to place. Offering a customarily overlooked vantage point into the response of a sex abuse victim to her lived environment, I am interested in exploring the way Faulkner dramatizes Temple’s interaction with the different scenarios of her ongoing victimization. Thus, by relying on insights from psychological trauma and the phenomenology of space (Trigg, 2015) I will bring to the fore the way in which, for the fragmented body following sexual abuse, spatiality becomes affectively and psychologically charged in negative terms. Specifically, I will attempt to show the role sensory deprivation and emotional abuse play in the particular conceptualization of the protagonist’s sense of fragmented place congealed time. In this vein, I will discuss whether notions such as depersonalization, derealization and dissociation are relevant to our understanding of the protagonist relation with her immediate spatial corporeality. My conclusion will emphasize the relevance a focus on space has for furthering a redemptive understanding of the protagonist.

Elena Dobre is a PhD candidate at Universidad Jaume I, in Spain where she is currently carrying her research under a pre-doctoral contract. For the past three years she has been teaching ESP and North-American literature at the same institution, where she obtained a BA in English studies, and an MA in English and foreign languages teaching. She has presented her work in different national and international conferences. Her research is devoted to the analysis of the multiple inflections of trauma in William Faulkner’s work; the intersection of liminality studies and trauma; medical humanities and literature; and the use of literature as a language teaching tool. She is a member of the medical humanities institute López-Piñero (IILP), as well as forming part of the Spanish Association of American Studies Young Scholars (SAAS-YS) network.


Solveig Dunkel, doctoral reseacher, Université de Picardie Jules Verne (

“SKIN KNOWS”—Black, White, Paper, Nothing

Skin is undoubtedly a challenging organ for Faulkner’s characters. The description of Clytie washing Charles Etienne, “scrubbing at him with repressed fury as if she were trying to wash the smooth faint tinge from his skin as you might watch a child scrubbing at a wall long after the epithet, the chalked insult, has been obliterated” (AA 161) illustrates this point well. The barely perceptible “faint tinge” of the child’s skin is directly associated with an insult written on a wall: the insult, it seems, is his mixed race, and the wall symbolically replaces the surface of his body, his skin. Skin appears here as a text to be read and interpreted
Faulkner’s fiction features numerous characters who are marked by racial ambiguity. These characters are marked by the uncertainty of their racial origins or the hybridity of their ancestry, which turn their skins into unclear canvases, on which the usual markers of race challenge ideological and social forms of body containment. Moreover, characters who are presented as canonically white are still racially-coded in terms of blackness, as it is the case for Popeye in Sanctuary. Therefore, I will not focus exclusively on characters presenting racial ambiguity, but rather characters displaying epidermic ambiguity. Skin then appears as a projection screen, on which the different narrators can cast or reflect their own fetish, phobia and interpretations—a text to be read and (mis)interpreted, to some extent.
Although the malleability of skin is a recurring motif through Faulkner’s work, I will pay particular attention to three characters: Joe Christmas (LIA), Popeye (S), Clytemnestra and Charles Bon (AA). This sample of characters, although not exhaustive, manages to capture a variety of functions and representational questions associated with skin, as they all display very different relations to their skins. We will see that skin is at the center of Faulkner’s modernist rethinking of received epistemologies, through the unintelligibility of racial inscription in Christmas, the projective hallucinations of race in Absalom, Absalom!, the inability to find a name for racial indeterminacy in Clytie faces off against the indeterminacy of metaphor in Popeye.

Solveig Dunkel is a doctoral candidate under a joint supervision between Université de Picardie–Jules Verne, France, and Boston University, USA. After having completed a Master of Research at the University of Paris, she passed the agrégation of English language, a French competitive state examination. Her doctoral thesis is entitled “William Faulkner’s Poetics of the Body.” Her work has been published in the Faulkner Journal and The Mississippi Quarterly. While completing her PhD, she teaches American literature and history at Université de Picardie–Jules Verne.


Siân Round, doctoral researcher, University of Cambridge (

Assembling the County from its Scattered Pieces’: The Chronotope as Model for Reading Faulkner From Cowley to the Digital

Malcolm Cowley’s The Portable Faulkner (1946) orders Faulkner’s stories in a chronological sequence centred on the topological unity of Yoknapatawpha. By mapping the works into patterns of time and space, Cowley provided a concrete form to a holistic reading of Faulkner, crafting a ‘legend of the South’ which helped to solidify Faulkner’s place in the American canon. The methodology of presenting the texts according to their location and chronological sequence – or, in Bakhtinian terms, the chronotope – which was granted authority by Faulkner’s own additions to the Portable, has become the predominant way of reading Faulkner. In this paper, I will examine Cowley’s influence over readings of Faulkner’s work, comparing its methodology to those of digital editions (the University of Saskatchewan’s 2004 edition of The Sound and the Fury and the Digital Yoknapatawpha project). Reading across these widely different editions, I will argue that the shared structure of mapping the text onto time and space seeks to assert Faulkner’s relation to the real world, making him an author who represents the voice of the nation rather than the stories of individuals. By reading across from Cowley to the digital, this paper will examine how spatio-temporal readings of Faulkner seek to elide the distinction between the fictional world created by Faulkner and the real South in which he was writing. In centring the texts on the chronotope, Yoknapatawpha County does not just become more accessible for readers but morphs into the real Lafayette County, leading critics to speculate on the real places and events behind the stories. The blurring of these distinctions between the world inside and outside the text serves to limit the possible chronotopes and thereby convert Faulkner into a Southern historian and cartographer.

Siân Round is currently studying for a master’s degree in English and American Studies at the University of Oxford. She studied for her undergraduate degree at Durham University where she wrote a dissertation on Faulkner’s British reception, a version of which she presented at the 1st Faulkner Studies in the UK Conference in 2018. In Autumn 2019, she hopes to start a PhD on transatlantic networks of the Southern Renaissance.


Liza Tishchenko, postgraduate student, Durham University (

‘Smoldering hiatus’: Silences and Hysterias in Faulkner’s Flags in the Dust

Silence figures centrally in nearly all of William Faulkner’s work, and encompasses silences of various types. The Sound and the Fury features a prominent character who is incessantly spoken about, but who never gets to speak herself; in As I Lay Dying, a character is given just one chapter to speak and spends much of it remarking on the inadequacy of language; failures of communication are peppered throughout the Collected Stories. Accordingly, a significant amount of scholarship has been devoted to considerations of these silences, the greater part of which has come from feminist criticism’s attention to the processes of women’s silencing or the ways in which female voices are erased and/or appropriated by male characters and dominant patriarchal structures. Comparatively, there is limited scholarship focusing on readings of silence as it regards the mechanisms – and effects – of male characters being rendered silent, particularly as a result of traumatic experience. Flags in the Dust provides a model landscape for such study, as much for its focus on a PTSD-affected male protagonist as for its concomitant treatments of experiences of war, fraternal bonding, and conflict with the feminine as contender for intimacy. What little has been written about male trauma and its incommunicability has focused primarily on an aggressive unwillingness of male characters to speak and their consequent displays of violence. In contrast, this paper explores the mechanisms by which traumatised men are made incapable of speaking, with subsequent attention to fraternal, homoerotic, and potentially incestuous loves. The breakdown of self-narrativity and the opposition of male bonds to an external and threatening female contender are also examined as kinds of defence mechanisms rather than expressions of misogynistic aggression, and with a questioning view toward Faulkner’s familial and social dynamics as echoes of the South’s conflicted feelings about its own historical past.

I hold a BA in English from Johns Hopkins University and am currently completing a postgraduate degree at Durham University, studying for the MA in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literary Studies. My dissertation is entitled ‘“All foul, until the clean and naked bone”: Trauma, Transgression, and Faulkner’s Troublesome Bodies’ and focuses on male characters behaving “badly”, with a view toward the performative, aesthetic, and paradoxically self-comforting aspects of the propensity of Faulkner’s male characters toward self-destructive behaviour. More broadly, my research interests include modernist treatments of self-narrativity, physiology, constructions of the social self, intersections of modernist writing with the visual arts, and modernist considerations of the grotesque, the taboo, and the “dirty.”


Professor Kay Walter, University of Arkansas at Monticello (

Faulkner and the Moral Influence of Aunts

Throughout his fiction, William Faulkner makes use of cultural traditions of the American South and their symbolic implications. One tradition he employs is the tradition of aunts. To Southerners, the sister of one’s mother holds a sacred relationship with a child akin to the mother-child relationship in much the same way as in Arthurian tradition the son of a king’s sister is in a privileged kinship. The Southern aunt, particularly a maternal aunt, serves as a second mama throughout childhood and often become a surrogate mother and primary caregiver in the mother’s absence or inaction.

This tradition is most clearly evident in Faulkner’s short story “Barn Burning,” in which the mysterious goodness of young Colonel Sartoris Snopes is explainable through no other influence. Sarty is sprung from bad seed. His father and brother are clearly wicked men. His mother is either incapable of determining good from evil or, at best, cowed and beaten into submission to her husband’s cruelty. Sarty’s twin sisters are unattractive entities who seem to have no personality whatsoever. Where, readers wonder, does young Sarty get his moral integrity? What inspires him to find within himself a conscience which can speak loudly enough to guide his actions and his decisions?

The answer lies in the person of his aunt, Aunt Lizzie, who speaks once and only briefly through the entire story. She reveals through a single sentence the nature of her character and its influence on Sarty. She is a woman who provides a moral compass for the boy and, though she is incapable of acting, she is willing to sacrifice herself for what is right. In the tradition of the Southern aunt, she is the inspiration for Sarty’s choices and the justification for his character.

Kay J. Walter, PhD is a Professor of English at University of Arkansas at Monticello where she serves as the British literature generalist and also teaches world literatures, composition, American literature, non-musical drama, and a variety of other courses. She is a Companion of the Guild of St George and a lifemember of Friends of Ruskin’s Brantwood, Royal Oak Foundation, Arkansas Library Association, Arkansas Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts, Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club, Hostelling International USA, and the Carson McCullers Society. For ACTELA, the Arkansas affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English, she edits the award-winning newsletter, The English Pub. Her recent writings appear or are forthcoming in The Companion, Arkansas Libraries, Arkansas English Journal, FoRB Newsletter, Minnesota English Journal, Moveable Type, Lifewriting Annual, and CEAMAG Journal. She has made recent presentations for Story Forge, South Arkansas Literary Festival, Arkansas Philological Association, Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association, East Texas English Language and Literature Conference, and Friends of Ruskin’s Brantwood AGM. Presentations planned for fall 2019 include papers for the North American Victorian Studies Association, the Arkansas Library Association, and Roycroft’s John Ruskin and the Origin of the Arts and Crafts Movement. She loves collaborating, mentoring first-generation students and early-career teachers, and designing courses which include travel to Europe.


James Wills, doctoral researcher, Warwick University (

“Justice as he sees it”: Faulkner’s emerging lawyer of the post-war U.S. South

This paper argues that William Faulkner’s Intruder in the Dust (1948), and specifically through its representation of the lawyer Gavin Stevens, is amongst the first post-war novels to anticipate and formulate the legal transformations of the Civil Rights struggle. While the lawyers of pre-war Southern fiction reliably upheld paternalistic legal philosophies and white consensus attitudes towards race and region, I will argue that, after the Second World War, they begin to embody the contradictory and incommensurate strains of a nascent socio-legal transformation, featuring as narrative figures straining under the contested definitions of ‘law’ and ‘justice’ in a region poised on, but still awaiting, the changes wrought by the 1950s and 60s.

Through a sustained focus on how the spaces of law and justice in Faulkner’s novel cast the attorney as an ‘emerging figure,’ I contend that Stevens’s position as ‘lawyer-citizen’ ensures he is caught amid change at a local and federal level, leading to profound misunderstandings of his character – both critically and historically. Focus too is placed on Gavin’s much-maligned speeches in the second half of the novel. While Elizabeth Hardwick labels them “absurd, strident lectures,” this paper instead considers the lawyer’s rhetoric flourishes as a means to begin properly assessing the complicated legacies brought about by a regional history fraught with racial violence and legal animosity.

What is more, Faulkner’s ‘emerging figure’ of the post-war U.S. South enables significant dialogue with later iterations of the region’s literary lawyers, who I distinctively argue become – individually and as something of a ‘fictional group’ – the earliest example of a growing and developing scepticism towards the dominant claim that American law progressed beyond the racial prejudices and injustices of its history in the post-war era.

James is currently a third year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. His Masters dissertation – supervised by Professor Daniel Katz and completed in 2016 – was titled “‘Which Tale is the Idiot’s?’: ‘April Seventh 1928’ and the Sound and Fury of Interpretation,” examining the countless readings purporting to attribute meaning to Benjy Compson’s opening narrative in William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, considering the relationship between text and critical debate through the distinctive lens of psychoanalysis. His research interests have since developed to concern the legal cultures of the American South between 1930 and 1970; particularly, how Southern fiction portrays problematic dilemmas inherent to law and justice in the region. He has given papers on Faulkner’s ‘emerging’ legal figure, Gavin Stevens, at several locations in the United Kingdom, presenting research that forms part of the first chapter of his thesis. More broadly, his Ph.D. research – supervised by Dr Mark Storey – considers how fictional lawyers appearing in literature of the post-war U.S. South between 1946 and 1966 uniquely focus and embody emerging narratives of race and law that characterise regional and national conflicts of the Civil Rights struggle.


Dr Laura Wilson, (

“There’s something in that house”: Building the Closet of Absalom, Absalom!

In the Introduction to Epistemology of the Closet, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick describes Allan Bloom’s work, The Closing of the American Mind. Bloom, she criticizes, is:

unapologetically protective of the sanctity of the closet, that curious space that is both internal and marginal to the culture: centrally representative of its motivating passions and contradictions, even while marginalized by its orthodoxies […] The fragile, precious representational compact by which a small, shadowily identified group both represented the hidden, perhaps dangerous truths about a culture to itself, and depended on its exiguous toleration (56).

Sedgwick’s definition of the closet here provides an analytic tool with which to approach Absalom, Absalom! Her description of the space “both internal and marginal,” coupled with the suggestive notion that the closet enables cultures to hide “dangerous truths,” while depending on their “toleration,” reads as an accurately close depiction of Sutpen’s Hundred – an antebellum mansion built twelve miles outside of Jefferson by an upstart outsider who initially outrages the town, yet wholeheartedly buys in to their ideologies. What I would thus like to examine is the way in which the plantation of Absalom, Absalom! can be read as a theoretical closet writ large, and how – via his descriptions of the materiality of Sutpen’s Hundred itself – Faulkner comes to reveal the secret sexual knowledges trapped within the patriarch’s design. Mr. Compson theorizes that “houses actually possess a sentience, a personality and character acquired, not so much from the people who breathe or have breathed in them inherent in the wood and brick or begotten upon the wood and brick by the man or men who conceived and built them” (85). How then, does this quotation bolster a sense of the plantation as a repository for such secrets?

Dr. Laura Wilson is a Council on Library Information and Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellow for Data Curation in African American Studies at Fisk University. She received her PhD in English Literature from the University of Mississippi in May 2020, with a dissertation entitled On Southern Soil: The Art and Ecology of Racial Uplift, 1895-1950. Her article “‘Giving voice to the tireless relish of life’: Listening for the Plantation in Eudora Welty’s Delta Wedding and Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park” was published in Mississippi Quarterly Vol. 70/71, No.1. An essay on the methodology of Zora Neale Hurston’s Mules and Men is forthcoming in the Journal of Ethnic American Literature. This will be Laura’s fourth presentation at Faulkner in the UK, for which she also serves on the advisory board. 


Tatiana Vepkhvadze, director of Educational Center Meridiani (

Spatio-Temporal Conceptual Models and Narrative Temporality in “The Sound and The Fury”: From temporal-spatial ambiguity to clarity through linguistic analysis

This research deals with William Faulkner’s representation of time and space in “The Sound and The Fury” from cognitive-linguistic perspective. Time and space have always played an important role in Faulkner’s fiction and are very often the subject of criticism due to the temporal-spatial ambiguity the author applies. The most complicated text in this sense is considered “The Sound and The Fury.” Our research suggests that temporal-spatial analysis of “The Sound and The Fury” is the key milestone for understanding the fiction. In spite of the vast body of scholarship associated with William Faulkner’s work, few studies suggest detailed evaluation of Faulkner’s view of time. It’s worth mentioning that studies regarding thematic relevance of time in Faulkner’s fiction are more common than from the perspectives of linguistics. The analysis leads to the conclusion that temporal and spatial relationships are essential to our understanding of Faulkner’s narrative as it goes beyond the specification of a date and a location. Our method of analysis involves the exploration of time and space in “The Sound and The Fury” based on Genette’s temporal models “order”, “duration”, and “frequency.” (1) The first relates to the order of events; (2) the second concerns how long events or scenes last; (3) and the third concerns how often an event occurs. The above mentioned temporal patterns enable us to have an access to the actions and emotions of the characters, foreground certain events and reduce the status of others. Moreover, they bring new evidence and insight to received wisdom.

A researcher in Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University on The Faculty of Humanities, English Philology. Currently, she is investigating William Faulkner’s Narrative Mode; Time and Path Image Schema in Faulkner’s Fiction from cognitive-linguistic perspective, to be particular, she analyzes grief in Faulkner’s texts in terms of the source-path-goal image schema looking at how this underlying schema changes across his novels. She has participated in several conferences and programs in Europe and the United States. In 2016, she won a scholarship in Groningen University (graduated at level A) and attended a series of lectures on the topic of New Developments in Narrative Theory, Uses of Narrative. Knowledge gained in Groningen helped Tatiana to draft the outline for the dissertation that was approved by the distinguished narratologists.

She holds the post of a lecturer for Professional English at the International Black Sea University teaching professional English to Law students, also delivering lectures to the students of International Relations, Public Administration and Business Management. She is a teachers’ trainer in the Ministry of Education, Teacher Professional Development Centre.

She was honored to receive a bursary award by the prestigious British Association for American Studies (BAAS) and the US Embassy for a clear contribution to Faulkner Studies in Royal Holloway University of London (London, 2018). She was a PhD Scholar in University of Groningen (Netherlands, 2016), a researcher in University of Mississippi (US, 2013), a scholar in Indiana University (US, 2011). She is an owner of an International Certificate in Teaching English to Speaker’s of Other Languages. She has awards for excellence in teaching from American Councils for International Education.