Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Hello, you few readers who are left. I know it's been a bad semester in terms of posting, but I'm now done with the bulk of my coursework and will (I hope) be posting more, especially now that I've begun reading in earnest for my comprehensive exams. Be ready for months of very tiresome posts on Existentialism.
In the meantime, here's the basic plot of the two papers I wrote this semester.
"'The Snake Was There Before Adam': Faulkner's Inversion of Augustinian Ponerology." I build off of my earlier post on Quentin Compson as a failed St. Augustine but recast it in much more theological terms. In brief, I argue that Faulkner's Sanctuary presents us with a ponerology that's the exact opposite of St. Augustine. Here, good is a privation of evil, and it is the male element that most clearly signifies nothingness. As femaleness is biologically a lack of maleness, so good is a lack of evil. This is a bleak worldview, especially since the mingling of female and male is necessary for the race's survival.
"More Art with Less Matter: Anxiety of Meaninglessness in 'Gertrude and Claudius.'" I examine Updike's much-neglected "prequel" to Hamlet and argue that, in its inversion of "good" and "bad" characters and its influx of religious and theological references--Claudius at one point or another represents just about every religion ever conceived--Updike turns Hamlet from a mere tragedy to something much, much darker: a negation of all meaning, be it interpersonal, religious, or philosophical.
I guess it's been a dark semester, you might say. More later.