Tracing the influence of Faulkner’s screenwriting on his literary craft and depictions of women

William Faulkner’s time as a Hollywood screenwriter has often been dismissed as little more than an intriguing interlude in the career of one of America’s greatest novelists. Consequently, it has not received the wide-ranging critical examination it deserves. In Faulkner’s Hollywood Novels, Ben Robbins provides an overdue thematic analysis by systematically tracing a dialogue of influence between Faulkner’s literary fiction and screenwriting over a period of two decades. Among numerous insights, Robbins’s work sheds valuable new light on Faulkner’s treatment of female characters, both in his novels and in the films to which he contributed.

Drawing on extensive archival research, Robbins finds that Hollywood genre conventions and archetypes significantly influenced and reshaped Faulkner’s craft after his involvement in the studio system. His work in the film industry also produced a deep exploration of the gendered dynamics of collaborative labor, genre formulae, and cultural hierarchies that materialized in both his Hollywood screenplays and his experimental fiction.
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