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Journal Article

William Faulkner's “Speech Accepting the Nobel Prize in Literature”: A Language for Ameliorating Atomic Anxiety

Mark LaVoie
Rhetoric and Public Affairs
Vol. 17, No. 2 (Summer 2014), pp. 199-226
DOI: 10.14321/rhetpublaffa.17.2.0199
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.14321/rhetpublaffa.17.2.0199
Page Count: 28
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William Faulkner's “Speech Accepting the Nobel Prize in Literature”: A Language for Ameliorating Atomic Anxiety
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Abstract

In 1950, William Faulkner delivered his “Speech Accepting the Nobel Prize in Literature.” The historic moment was one of high atomic anxiety as the unfriendly relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union intensified and the possibility of nuclear war and the end of humanity increased. Faulkner recognized the anxiety and, through his address, offered a language to help cope with the anxieties of the atomic age. This study examines how through the rhetorical strategies of kairos, decorum, and enactment, Faulkner recast humanism in an atomic age and presented the world with a way of living through atomic fear.

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