Absalom, Absalom

The Absalom in Absalom, Absalom! College

As a classic source of insight and wisdom in the Western heritage, the Bible has been studied, questioned, and alluded to for as long as it has captured the imagination of believers and novelists alike. As such, this perennial text lends itself easily to allusion, but we might well question the point of Biblical allusions, particularly when they are subtle and symbolic as in Faulkner; what extra meaning can be gained by a reference to an ancient tale that can not be said straight out? Part of the answer lies in how biblical themes are reworked in the novel; we must keep track of which Biblical details/themes/plots are brought into the novel, which are left out, and which are purposely drastically altered. Even the details that seem to correspond to some exact parallel in the Biblical text in a one-to-one mapping are meaningful when we consider just which substitution the novelist makes for its Biblical counterpart. Great writers will use all of these methods to comment on the Bible or have the Bible comment on the novel; either way a new masterpiece is created besides these two texts, produced by the interaction between them. The allusive power of the Bible allows for stories to comment on other stories, producing a rich,...

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