That Faulkner was a "liar" not just in his writing but also in his life has troubled many critics. They have explained his numerous "false stories," particularly those about military honors he actually never earned and war wounds he never sustained, with psychopathological imposture-theories. The drawback of this approach is that it reduces and oversimplifies the complex psychological and aesthetic phenomenon of Faulkner's role-playing.
Instead, this critical study by one of the most acclaimed international Faulkner scholars takes its cue from Nietzsche's concept of "truth as a mobile army of metaphors" and from Ricoeur's dynamic view of metaphor and treats the wearing of masks not as an ontological issue but as a matter of discourse.
Honnighausen examines Faulkner's interviews and photographs for the fictions they perpetuate. Such Faulknerian role-playing he interprets as a mode of organizing experience and relates it to the crafting of the artist's various personae in his works. Mining metaphor as well as modern theories on social role-playing, Honnighausen examines unexplored aspects of image creation and image reception in such major Faulkner novels as The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, A Fable, and Absalom, Absalom!