New Article: Faulkner’s Quixotic Picaresque: Carnival, Tricksters, and Rhizomatic Intertextuality in The Reivers

Quixote Winery. Stags Leap Ranch. Architect - Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Napa Valley, California, USA, February 24, 2011 | © Courtesy of Sarah_Ackerman.
Quixote Winery. Stags Leap Ranch. Architect - Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Napa Valley, California, USA, February 24, 2011 | © Courtesy of Sarah_Ackerman.

David E. S. Beek

Published Online: 2017-11-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0024.

Abstract

Faulkner’s The Reivers exemplifies the Quixotic Picaresque-a conflation of the narrative modes exhibited in Lazarillo de Tormes and Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote. This essay explores the correlation between Spain’s transition from feudalism to a modern mercantile society and the United States’ transition from an agrarian society based on slavery to a modern industrial nation within the cultural contexts of these novels. In each of these works, a series of trickster figures undertake performative acts of deception, particularly the masking tradition of Carnival, in order to endure the hardships of modernity. However, whereas most tricksters tend to be solely focused on pragmatic individual objectives, quixotic pícaros maintain a sense of idealism that leads them to consider the Other and thus act in the name of communal prosperity. These selfless tricksters meta-theatrically parody the generic social conventions in which they reside in order to subvert the hegemony that seeks to oppress and marginalise them and fellow members of their communities. In performing an array of identities and social roles, these quixotic pícaros contribute to the opacity of modern multicultural nation-states, and thus, disrupt all social hierarchies leading to the regeneration of the public body, mobility, and a more utopian world.

Keywords: Masking; Otherness; Modernity; Dialogism; Signifyin(g).


Featured Image Credits: Quixote Winery. Stags Leap Ranch. Architect – Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Napa Valley, California, USA, February 24, 2011 |  © Courtesy of Sarah_Ackerman.


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