For years William Faulkner had friend and foe believing he was an artless spinner of tangled yarns; his works made veiled references to myth and Scripture, but many dismissed these as mere literary make-weight. Virginia V.James Hlavsa's book tackles parallels between "Light in August" and the Bible and looks to place Faulkner's work into a mainstream modernist context. Using Sigmund Freud's insights into the unconscious, this work discusses Faulkner's ironic use of word games to establish external structures. Hlavsa argues that the 21 chapters of "Light in August" parallel the 21 chapters of the Gospel of St John, and that each chapter-theme from John is further enriched with material from James Frazer's complete "Golden Bough". Examining the interplay of Biblical tale, mythic figure, and primitive practice resolves many of the book's anomalies (which bore the brunt of early criticism) and offers insights into Faulkner's attitudes toward the central issues of race, women, and religion, and toward the creative process itself. Like Stuart Gilbert's analysis of "Ulysses", Hlavsa'a detailed, chapter-by-chapter examination of "Light in August" unmasks Faulkner's skill in making multiple themes operate on multiple levels. She uncovers new facets - serious or sly - to all the characters and argues that the sheer brilliance of Faulkner's gamesmanship places him among the great literary craftsmen such as Milton, Dante, and Joyce.