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Approaches to Teaching Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying

Editor(s): Patrick O'Donnell, Lynda Zwinger

Pages: vi & 218 pp.
Published: 2011
ISBN: 9781603290852 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781603290845 (cloth)

"This volume of essays on As I Lay Dying will fill a longtime need for teachers and students of Faulkner. The editors have provided us with an aid that should help both new teachers and veterans to teach it more fully and effectively."
Gail L. Mortimer, professor emerita of English, University of Texas, El Paso



As I Lay Dying is considered by many both the most enigmatic and the most accessible of Faulkner’s major works. It is also the most dramatic; the journey of the Bundrens, a family of poor farmers in the South in the early twentieth century, unfolds like a one-act play, full of natural disaster and human madness. Taught in high school, college, and graduate courses, the novel lends itself to a wide range of interpretations, posing both challenges and opportunities for the instructor.

Part 1 of this Approaches volume, “Materials,” offers an extensive guide to reference materials helpful for both reading and teaching As I Lay Dying. In Part 2, “Approaches,” fourteen essays examine the historical, geographic, and cultural aspects of the novel; consider it as a modernist narrative; address such issues as gender, materiality, language, and family dynamics; and discuss the novel in comparative and intertextual terms. Teachers will find suggestions for course design, in-class exercises, and assignments to help students explore a variety of themes, including death and mourning, the role of the mother, work, and the relation between nature and culture.

Contributors
Cedric Gael Bryant
Deborah Clarke
Mark Frisch
Donald M. Kartiganer
Barbara Ladd
Cheryl Lester
John T. Matthews
E. L. McCallum
Sean McCann
Lisa K. Perdigao
Homer B. Pettey
Annette Wannamaker
Michael Zeitlin
Heide Ziegler

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