Julia Stern: As I Lay Dying
Classics in Context
Click play to listen. Recorded on May 22, 2010.
Sometimes all it takes to change your mind is confrontation with a new perspective. Classics in Context is a seminar sequence for teachers led by renowned humanities scholars. The series takes a fresh look at both established and contemporary literary classics. Giving teachers a chance to renew professionally and personally, the Chicago Humanities Festival supports teachers in their pursuit to revive seasoned and contemporary classic texts through study and conversation alongside their colleagues.
Julia Stern, professor of English and American Studies at Northwestern University, leads a discussion of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Considered among the best novels of the twentieth century As I Lay Dying is the story of the death and burial of Addie Bundren, matriarch of a poor southern family, as told from the perspective of fifteen different narrators. Comic and tragic, dark and satirical As I Lay Dying delves deeply into the psychological impact of Addie’s death on the remaining Bundrens. The Bundrens’ harrowing journey to deliver Addie to her place of rest takes them through flood and fire and questions of identity and existence, birth and death, heroism and selfishness.
Above: Detail from photograph of William Faulkner's home at Rowan Oak by Gary Bridgman.
Julia Stern is Associate Professor of English & American Studies and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of English at Northwestern University. She teaches eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American and African-American literature, narrative and psychoanalytic theory, and critical race studies. In 2008, she was named Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence. She earned her doctorate in English & Comparative Literature at Columbia University.
Leaders And Thinkers
- Peter Coviello
- Associate Professor of English, Bowdoin College
- Eric J. Sundquist
- UCLA Foundation Professor of Literature
- Eric Lott
- Professor of American Studies at the Unversity of Virginia