Writing Race: Faulkner and His Progeny

William Faulkner

Professor's Welcome


Mark Danner, Professor Class of 1961 Endowed Chair in Journalism and EnglishThe English Department welcomes you to “Writing Race:  Faulkner and his Progeny,” and I look forward to meeting you via Zoom on the first Wednesday of the month.

Mark Danner

Course Description

“The past is never dead,” Faulkner famously said. “It is not even past.” In our time of racial turmoil, few High Modernist writers feel more contemporary. Faulkner managed to construct in Yoknapatawpha County a second reality where the country’s racial present and past are enacted and re-enacted in painful and often brutal detail. His intricate portrait of a land bound together and ripped apart by the fallen inheritance of race has never seemed more startlingly present. We will explore this foundational American writer, seeking to understand what makes his work so vibrant, then consider his influence on Flannery O’Connor.

Go here to see the course-description page on our website.

Monthly Readings



October 6th at 6 p.m.

Discussion Questions:
  1. In “That Evening Sun,” whose point of view are we seeing through and why is this important? How does it both limit and deepen the reader’s understanding?
  2. In “Dry September,” what role does Hawk the barber play in the proceedings and what is he doing in the story? Is he right to cast doubt on what actually took place?
  3. In “Red Leaves,” what does the title mean? What is Faulkner telling us about declining and rising cultures?



November 3rd at 6 p.m.

Discussion Questions:
  1. How does the point of view from which the story is told play into the novel, particularly in the early chapters?
  2. How would you characterize the relationship between the blacks and the whites in the novel?
  3. What is the significance of the title, particularly given the final chapter?



December 1st at 6 p.m.