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Waging War on WarPeacefighting in American Literature$
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Giorgio Mariani

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039751

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039751.001.0001

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Waging War on the Sacred

Waging War on the Sacred

William Faulkner’s A Fable

Chapter:
(p.146) Chapter 7 Waging War on the Sacred
Source:
Waging War on War
Author(s):

Giorgio Mariani

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252039751.003.0007

This chapter examines William Faulkner's war novel A Fable, which, by rethinking the story of the Passion of Christ as a World War I tale, criticizes both the ideology of war and those readings of the Scriptures that sustain the theory and the practice of war. Notwithstanding the implausibility of the story, in which a figura Christi leads the mutiny of a French battalion, the allegory implies an ethical and political moral that, in the eyes of many critics, makes the text cheaply didactic. Joseph Urgo argues that with A Fable Faulkner tries to renovate our faith in the Scriptures “by supplanting Christ as a figure of authoritarian control and by replacing the martyr with the rebel.” This chapter discusses the themes of Christianity, pacifism, and sacrifice in A Fable and argues that Faulkner's fiction underscores the equivalence between violence and the sacred by juxtaposing to a sacrificial reading of the Gospels an antisacrificial interpretation.

Keywords:   violence, William Faulkner, A Fable, World War I, Scriptures, Passion of Christ, Christianity, pacifism, sacrifice, sacred

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