Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis


English Language and Literatures



First Advisor

Meili Steele


My work explores the intricacies of Richard Rorty's theory of the self as it arises out his philosophy of language and then puts that theory into dialogue with the subject as imagined William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!. More specifically, after giving a detailed account of Rorty's theory of the self, I will illuminate shortcomings in his conception of the relationship between the self and community by engaging with the work of John Brenkman. I will then complicate both Rorty's theory, and my Brenkmanian critique of Rorty through a reading of Absalom, Absalom!. My reading seeks to illuminate the imaginative intricacies of the relationship I propose between the subject and community. Lastly, I move to show how this imagined relationship carves out a space for the role genuine agency plays in self creation in ways not accounted for in either Brenkman's or Rorty's work.