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Dead Letters SentQueer Literary Transmission$
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Kevin Ohi

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816694778

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816694778.001.0001

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“My Spirit’s Posthumeity” and the Sleeper’s Outflung Hand

“My Spirit’s Posthumeity” and the Sleeper’s Outflung Hand

Queer Transmission in Absalom, Absalom!

(p.177) 9 “My Spirit’s Posthumeity” and the Sleeper’s Outflung Hand
Dead Letters Sent

Kevin Ohi

University of Minnesota Press

William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom presents two seemingly opposed understandings of the relation to telling to history. In one, marking an irremediable alienation from experience, telling dooms those in a defeated South to relive lives they can never authentically inhabit, while, in the other, telling acquires an exorbitant power to call back to life vanished moments and lives. The complex narrative structure of the text, and the various scenarios of transmission, suggest that these two alternatives come together in a merger-through-division and a transmission-through-loss. The vanished past made visible in its vanishing bodies forth an interval that traverses consciousness from within, and in that interval is to be found the queer erotics of the text.

Keywords:   Literary tradition, Literary and cultural transmission, Queer literary criticism, Queer theory, Initiation and Development, Close Reading, Potentiality, Temporality of Consciousness

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