SPECIAL ROUNDTABLE: ‘A House Divided’?: Reading Faulkner in the Post-Trump Era

deadline for submissions: 
December 18, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
The Fourth Faulkner Studies in the UK Colloquium

The Fourth Faulkner Studies in the UK Colloquium:

Faulkner, Transgressive Fiction, Postmodernism



‘A House Divided’?: Reading Faulkner in the Post-Trump Era


Saturday, January 30th, 2021

 The presidency of Donald J. Trump is nearing its end. The past four years have been a tumultuous period in United States history and politics. Nationalism, populism, and strict border controls have characterised the efforts of this administration, with its bold motto to “Make America Great Again.” Meanwhile, we have also witnessed an increase in nationalist values in places such as the United Kingdom, Brazil, and the Philippines. More than ever, the United States has become, in the words of President Lincoln, ‘a house divided against itself’ in the wake of Trump’s election.

The metaphor of the house divided has been a mainstay in Faulkner scholarship since the late twentieth-century, inaugurated by Eric J. Sundquist’s influential volume, Faulkner: A House Divided (1983). This roundtable interrogates the ways in which Faulkner’s fiction illuminates (and is illuminated by) the socio-political events in the United States of the past four years. From the tension between Darl Bundren and his siblings in As I Lay Dying to the corrosive influence of Thomas Sutpen over Yoknapatawpha County in Absalom, Absalom!, through to the ruthless populism of Clarence Snopes in Sanctuary and The Mansion, Faulkner’s works demand to be reread in light of the shadow that Trump and his policies have cast over the world.

We are interested in a maximum of six papers of up to fifteen minutes each on any topic that considers Faulkner in relation to the Trump administration, including but not limited to:

-   Faulkner’s representations of politics, political corruption, and/or populism;

-   Reading Faulkner’s work through the motto “Make America Great Again”;

-   Faulkner’s reflections upon the Confederacy and the Civil War, specifically in the context of the Alt-Right and events such as Charlottesville;

-   Faulkner’s representations of poverty in the rural, agrarian South in the context of Trump’s victory over the ‘rust belt’;

-   Faulkner and the Cold War;

-   The borders, tensions, and divisions between South and North, and the United States in relation to world politics;

-   Southern exceptionalism and “America First.”


Applicants are invited to submit EITHER individual paper abstracts OR fully formed roundtable proposals:

  • Individual paper abstracts must be no more than 250 words and accompanied by a short bio;
  • Roundtable proposals must consist of no more than six abstracts of 250 words each, and must include brief bios of each speaker.


Both individual abstracts and group proposals are due FRIDAY DECEMBER 18TH and should be sent to faulknerstudiesintheuk@gmail.com.