English, Department of


First Advisor

Roland Végső

Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professor Roland Végső. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2020

Copyright 2020 Jason Luke Folk


Much of scholarship regarding the presence of war in literary modernism has foregrounded psychic trauma endured by veterans of World War I. The returning soldier is often figured as representative of the war’s infiltration of the homefront. The common argument claims that the erosion of the distinction between war and peace (as well as private and public) is a mirror image of the veteran’s wounded psyche. This thesis, however, argues that peace and war in the West have always been indistinct. The body politic is, in actuality, constituted by a perpetual civil war. Furthermore, the novels of William Faulkner, because of their concern with the long history of war, provide a significant entry point into a discussion of literary modernism that adequately recognizes the constitutive violence of perpetual civil war.

Advisor: Roland Végső