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Nature and Predestination in William Faulkner’s “Dry September”

Ginevra Paparoni    Università degli Studi di Milano, Italia    



William Faulkner’s Protestant culture, as well as his will to revitalize the Christian message, has a strong influence on his literary production. His work is not simply rich in images and motives related to the Protestant religious tradition: it expresses a vision of the world which is deeply influenced by philosophical concepts belonging to that tradition. These concepts, defined for the first time by Protestant reformers, have been repeatedly reformulated through history by different thinkers and artists in the language of their age. Faulkner’s view of the particular notions of damnation and predestination, underlying many of his works, plays a central role in the short story “Dry September”, where it is illustrated both in symbolical and realistic terms. Faulkner’s conception of predestination and damnation is very close to the one expressed by the tweentieth-century theologian Paul Tillich in his Systematic Theology. The affinity between Faulkner’s and Tillich’s view is not surprising. Indeed, the German theologian faced the themes which the American writer inherited from his Protestant ancestors in the light of the spirit of his same age, an age which experienced historical and cultural upheavals, such as the World War and the rise of psychoanalysis.

Sept. 30, 2016
July 5, 2016
April 8, 2016

Keywords: Dry SeptemberNatureFaulknerPredestination

Copyright: © 2016 Ginevra Paparoni. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.