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History, Metaphors, FablesA Hans Blumenberg Reader$
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Hans Blumenberg

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501732829

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501732829.001.0001

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The Mythos and Ethos of America in the Work of William Faulkner

The Mythos and Ethos of America in the Work of William Faulkner


(p.476) 19 The Mythos and Ethos of America in the Work of William Faulkner
History, Metaphors, Fables

Hans Blumenberg

Cornell University Press

This chapter addresses Hans Blumenberg's “The Mythos and Ethos of America in the Work of William Faulkner” (1958). The manner in which the epic oeuvre of William Faulkner is read and understood is but a paradigm for such an obscured view of the freedom underlying history. Is his prose not full of descriptions of overwhelming and intractable fates, entangled and impenetrable, which make it all but inevitable to conclude freedom's meaninglessness from its futility? Is this America of Faulkner not altogether of the mythical kind, of the stuff of fate? The destinies of Faulkner's characters are tightly interwoven with the primal stirrings from which the American world emerges, with the cosmogony of the continent. But the national glory of the pioneer generations conceals the guilt inherent in their foundational achievements: taking land and carving out property, establishing legislation and ordering society.

Keywords:   Hans Blumenberg, mythos, ethos, America, William Faulkner, freedom, American world, pioneer generations

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