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Durham University

School of Modern Languages & Cultures

Events in Modern Languages & Cultures

Durham's Centre for Modern Conflicts and Cultures: Professor Deborah Cohn [Indiana University, Bloomington] 'In between propaganda and escapism: William Faulkner as Cold War Cultural Ambassador'

19th May 2016, 17:30, ER141, Elvet Riverside I, Durham University

Between 1954 and 1961, the U.S. Department of State sent Nobel Prize-winning author
William Faulkner on several goodwill missions to Latin America, Asia, and Europe. This
lecture examines how the nationalist priorities and racial politics of U.S. foreign relations
during the cold war permeated these trips. It further analyses how the writer, who generally
shied from public engagements, became a pro-active and ardent spokesperson for democracy while abroad, and how he exercised an unusual amount of freedom to criticize the colour line in the U.S. The story that emerges from studying Faulkner’s travels ultimately reveals the complexity of the writer’s execution of his role as cultural ambassador, as well as his own doubts about the democratic system. See flyer here.

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