Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury as Anti-Entropic Novel

  • Jerre CollinsEmail author
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 109)


This paper examines Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury to show how the narrative performs a dynamic synthesis of various times—especially subjective (personal) and objective (cosmic, historical)—focusing particularly on the levels of intentionality of the final section’s narrator and of the whole novel’s implied author. Time in the world of the fourth section is “public,” a seamless continuum, everywhere the same, and “objective,” or at least transcending the idiosyncratic temporalities of individual characters, while serving as their ground, but contributing little to subjective meaning. On the level of the novel as a whole, however, which encompasses all four sections of the novel, temporal configurations are considerably more complex, and grow more complex, but also more meaningful and more “readable,” as the novel progresses. This movement is anti-entropic. Also, the wealth of cues to read this story as a repetition of a variety of earlier stories (for example, of the failure and decline of the South, or of death, burial, and resurrection) suggests a freedom that runs deeper than fate. In reading such a text, readers practice a dynamic synthesis of temporal configurations that they can then enact in their own lives.


Fourth Section Cosmic Time Calendar Time Objective Time Public Time 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Languages and LiteraturesUniversity of Wisconsin-WhitewaterWhitewaterUSA

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