On Called Bluff in Capote, Deadlock in Twain, and Bully in Faulkner

  • Michael Wainwright


If the friction emanating from chaffing sequestration undermines cooperation between two ideologically opposed governments, and if the implementation of superpower remains a viable strategic option for each administration, then nuclear confrontation beckons. Despite the erection of the Berlin Wall, which had dispelled the game of international Chicken first named by Bertrand Russell in Common Sense and Nuclear Warfare, prospective Armageddon still articulated West–East relations, and William Faulkner disarmingly acknowledged this frightening outlook when he visited the Military Academy at West Point, New York State, from April 19 to 20, 1962. Asked how writing about “perversion and corruption in men” contributes to the promotion of “courage and honor,” Faulkner replied, “that one must show man [ … ] in all his phases, his conditions”. That notwithstanding “his base attitudes,” man “continues, he has outlived the dinosaur, he will outlive the atom bomb, and I’m convinced in time he will even outlive the wheel” (52). The twentieth century has witnessed two world wars, but man “has outlasted his own disasters, and I think that he will continue”. For Faulkner, humankind was a consequence of theistic evolution, and “the species which has created the fine pictures, the music, the statues, the books, is too valuable for omnipotence, God whoever he is, to let perish” (110).


Game Theory Coordination Problem Social Dilemma Emphasis Original Iron Curtain 
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© Michael Wainwright 2016

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  • Michael Wainwright

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