Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

John R. May

Second Advisor

John W. Lowe, III


The present study discusses a theological motif in the works of three Southern writers, Faulkner, Percy, and Toole, with The Unvanquished, The Moviegoer, and A Confederacy of Dunces being the works chosen for examination. The particular nature of religion in a Southern novel is established early. The Southern novelist is concerned not with sin in the abstract but with the existential angst resulting from it and with the hope of redemption. Also, in the Southern novel, there is humor undergirding even the study of existential angst. God's comedy is the focus of this study of the movement toward redemption in the works of these three authors. The frame of the study is Ralph C. Wood's book The Comedy of Redemption. Wood is a Barthian, and the present study is written out of a Barthian world view. Communion is at the heart of each chapter, and even the wine of the ancient beginnings of comedy turns out to be Communion wine, with the real comedy being God's comedy.