Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
This project will analyze the photograph’s place within William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. I ground my argument on the basis that both writers have, at some point, demonstrated an interest in photography, whether through artistic collaborations with photographers, or, like Ellison, having practiced as an armature photographer. I begin by focusing on the syntactical (and subsequent) ideological restraints on the verb “to see.” Considering this limitation in both writers’ respective representational worlds, I then turn to the various photographs in the texts in order to understand their effect on the trajectory of the narrative, as well as the way they permit certain characters to see in a world where seeing is compromised. In the final chapter, I consider Baldwin’s definition of the Devil in his essay The Devil Finds Work as a means by which to analyze Faulkner and Ellison’s text, and rethink Walter Benjamin’s conception of the aura in art and photography.
Richards, Julia Beth, "From the "Aura" to James Baldwin's Devil: Reading the Photograph in William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! and Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man" (2017). Honors Theses. 192.