William Faulkner: Wikis

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William Faulkner

Faulkner in 1954, photograph by Carl Van Vechten
Born William Cuthbert Falkner
September 25, 1897(1897-09-25)
New Albany, Mississippi, USA
Died July 6, 1962 (aged 64)
Byhalia, Mississippi, USA
Occupation Novelist, short story writer
Genres Southern Gothic
Literary movement Modernism, Stream of consciousness
Notable award(s) Nobel Prize in Literature, 1949
Spouse(s) Estelle Oldham

William Faulkner (September 25, 1897 – July 6, 1962) was a Nobel Prize-winning American author. One of the most influential writers of the 20th century, his reputation is based on his novels, novellas and short stories. He was also a published poet and an occasional screenwriter.

Most of Faulkner's works are set in his native state of Mississippi. He is considered one of the most important Southern writers along with Mark Twain, Robert Penn Warren, Flannery O'Connor, Truman Capote, Eudora Welty, and Tennessee Williams.

While his work was published regularly starting in the mid 1920s, Faulkner was relatively unknown before receiving the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature. Since then, he has often been cited as one of the most important writers in the history of American literature.[1]

Contents

Biography

Born William Cuthbert Falkner in New Albany, Mississippi, he was the oldest son of Murry Cuthbert Falkner (August 17, 1870 – August 7, 1932) and Maud Butler (November 27, 1871 – October 19,1960). He later changed the spelling of his name to Faulkner. His brothers were Murry Charles "Jack" Falkner (June 26, 1899 – December 24, 1975), author John Falkner (later Faulkner) (September 24, 1901 – March 28, 1963) and Dean Swift Falkner (August 15, 1907 – November 10, 1935).

Faulkner was raised in and heavily influenced by the state of Mississippi, as well as by the history and culture of the South as a whole. When he was four years old, his entire family moved to the nearby town of Oxford, where he lived on and off for the rest of his life.

Faulkner attended the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in Oxford where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon social fraternity. He enrolled at Ole Miss in 1919, and attended three semesters before dropping out in November 1920.[2]

Oxford is the model for the town of "Jefferson" in his fiction, and Lafayette County, which contains the town of Oxford, is the model for his fictional Yoknapatawpha County. Faulkner's great-grandfather, William Clark Falkner, was an important figure in northern Mississippi who served as a colonel in the Confederate Army, founded a railroad, and gave his name to the town of Falkner in nearby Tippah County. He also wrote several novels and other works, establishing a literary tradition in the family. Colonel Falkner served as the model for Colonel John Sartoris in his great-grandson's writing.

The elder Falkner was greatly influenced by the history of his family and the region in which they lived. Mississippi marked his sense of humor, his sense of the tragic position of blacks and whites, his characterization of Southern characters and timeless themes, including fiercely intelligent people dwelling behind the façades of good old boys and simpletons. Unable to join the United States Army because of his height, (he was 5' 5½"), Faulkner first joined the Canadian and then the British Royal Air Force, yet did not see any World War I wartime action.

Faulkner himself made the change to his last name in 1918 upon joining the Air Force. But according to one story, a careless typesetter simply made an error. When the misprint appeared on the title page of Faulkner's first book and the author was asked about it, he supposedly replied, "Either way suits me."[3] Although Faulkner is heavily identified with Mississippi, he was living in New Orleans in 1925 when he wrote his first novel, Soldiers' Pay, after being influenced by Sherwood Anderson to try fiction. The small house at 624 Pirate's Alley, just around the corner from St. Louis Cathedral, is now the premises of Faulkner House Books, and also serves as the headquarters of the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society.

Faulkner served as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Virginia from 1957 until his death. In 1959 he suffered serious injuries in a horse-riding accident. Faulkner died of a heart attack at the age of 64 on July 6, 1962, at Wright's Sanitorium in Byhalia, Mississippi.

In California

William Faulkner's Underwood Universal Portable typewriter in his office at Rowan Oak, which is now maintained by the University of Mississippi in Oxford as a museum

In the early 1940s, Howard Hawks invited Faulkner to come to Hollywood to become a screenwriter for the films Hawks was directing. Faulkner happily accepted because he badly needed the money, and Hollywood paid well. Thus Faulkner contributed to the scripts for the films Hawks made from Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep and Ernest Hemingway's To Have and Have Not. Faulkner became good friends with Hawks, the screenwriter A. I. Bezzerides, and the actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

An apocryphal story regarding Faulkner during his Hollywood years found him with a case of writer's block at the studio. He told Hawks he was having a hard time concentrating and would like to write at home. Hawks was agreeable, and Faulkner left. Several days passed, with no word from the writer. Hawks telephoned Faulkner's hotel and found that Faulkner had checked out several days earlier. It seems Faulkner had spoken quite literally, and had returned home to Mississippi to finish the screenplay.

Personal life

As a teenager in Oxford, Faulkner dated Estelle Oldham, the popular daughter of Major Lemuel and Lida Oldham, and believed he would someday marry her.[4] However, Estelle dated other boys during their romance, and one of them, Cornell Franklin, ended up proposing marriage to her before Faulkner did, in 1918. Estelle's parents insisted she marry Cornell, as he was an Ole Miss law graduate, had recently been commissioned as a major in the Hawaiian Territorial Forces, and came from a respectable family with which they were old friends.[5] Fortunately for Faulkner, Estelle's marriage to Franklin fell apart ten years later, and she was divorced in April of 1929.[6] Faulkner married Estelle in June 1929 at College Hill Presbyterian Church just outside of Oxford, Mississippi.[7] They honeymooned on the Mississippi Gulf Coast at Pascagoula, then returned to Oxford, first living with relatives while they searched for a home of their own to purchase. In 1930 Faulkner purchased the antebellum home Rowan Oak, known at that time as "The Bailey Place". He and his family lived there until his daughter Jill, after her mother's death, sold the property to the University of Mississippi in 1972. The house and furnishings are maintained much as they were in Faulkner's day. Faulkner's scribblings are still preserved on the wall there, including the day-by-day outline covering an entire week that he wrote out on the walls of his small study to help him keep track of the plot twists in the novel A Fable.

Faulkner accomplished what he did despite a lifelong drinking problem. As he stated on several occasions, and as was witnessed by members of his family, the press, and friends at various periods over the course of his career, he often drank while writing, and he believed that alcohol helped to fuel the creative process. However, many believe that Faulkner used alcohol to escape from the day-to-day pressures of his regular life, including his financial straits, rather than the more romantic vision of a brilliant writer who needed alcohol to pursue his art.

Faulkner is known to have had several extramarital affairs. One was with Howard Hawks's secretary and script girl, Meta Carpenter.[8] The other, lasting from 1949 to 1953, was with a young writer, Joan Williams, who considered him her mentor. She made her relationship with Faulkner the subject of her 1971 novel The Wintering.[9]

When Faulkner visited Stockholm in December 1950 to receive the Nobel Prize, he met Else Jonsson (1912-1996) and they had an affair that lasted until the end of 1953. Else was the widow of journalist Thorsten Jonsson (1910-1950), reporter for Dagens Nyheter in New York 1943-1946, who had interviewed Faulkner in 1946 and introduced his works to the Swedish readers. At the banquet in 1950 where they met, publisher Tor Bonnier referred to Else as widow of the man responsible for Faulkner being awarded the Prize.[10]

Faulkner also had a romance with Jean Stein, an editor, author, and daughter of movie mogul Jules Stein.[citation needed]

Writing

From the early 1920s to the outbreak of WWII, when Faulkner left for California, he published 13 novels and numerous short stories, the body of work that grounds his reputation and for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize at the age of 52. This prodigious output, mainly driven by an obscure writer's need for money, includes his most celebrated novels such as The Sound and the Fury (1929), As I Lay Dying (1930), Light in August (1932), and Absalom, Absalom! (1936). Faulkner was also a prolific writer of short stories. His first short story collection, These 13 (1931), includes many of his most acclaimed (and most frequently anthologized) stories, including "A Rose for Emily", "Red Leaves", "That Evening Sun", and "Dry September".

Faulkner set many of his short stories and novels in Yoknapatawpha County—based on, and nearly geographically identical to, Lafayette County, of which his hometown of Oxford, Mississippi is the county seat. Yoknapatawpha was Faulkner's "postage stamp", and the bulk of work that it represents is widely considered by critics to amount to one of the most monumental fictional creations in the history of literature.[citation needed] Three novels, The Hamlet, The Town and The Mansion, known collectively as the Snopes Trilogy, document the town of Jefferson and its environs as an extended family headed by Flem Snopes insinuates itself into the lives and psyches of the general populace. It is a stage wherein rapaciousness and decay come to the fore in a world where such realities were always present, but never so compartmentalized and well defined; their sources never so easily identifiable.

Additional works include Sanctuary (1931), a sensationalist "pulp fiction"-styled novel, characterized by André Malraux as "the intrusion of Greek tragedy into the detective story." Its themes of evil and corruption, bearing Southern Gothic tones, resonate to this day. Requiem for a Nun (1951), a play/novel sequel to Sanctuary, is the only play that Faulkner published, except for his The Marionettes, which he essentially self-published -- in a few hand-written copies -- as a young man.

Faulkner is known for an experimental style with meticulous attention to diction and cadence. In contrast to the minimalist understatement of his contemporary Ernest Hemingway, Faulkner made frequent use of "stream of consciousness" in his writing, and wrote often highly emotional, subtle, cerebral, complex, and sometimes Gothic or grotesque stories of a wide variety of characters—ranging from former slaves or descendents of slaves, to poor white, agrarian, or working-class Southerners, to Southern aristocrats.

In an interview with The Paris Review in 1956, Faulkner remarked, "Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him." Another esteemed Southern writer, Flannery O'Connor, stated that, "The presence alone of Faulkner in our midst makes a great difference in what the writer can and cannot permit himself to do. Nobody wants his mule and wagon stalled on the same track the Dixie Limited is roaring down."

Faulkner also wrote two volumes of poetry which were published in small printings, The Marble Faun (1924) [11] and A Green Bough (1933), and a collection of crime-fiction short stories, Knight's Gambit (1949).

Awards

In 1946, Faulkner was one of three finalists for the first Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Award. He came in second to Manly Wade Wellman.[12] Faulkner received the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature for "his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel."[13] Though he won the Nobel prize for 1949, it was not awarded until the 1950 awards banquet, when Faulkner was awarded the 1949 prize and Bertrand Russell the 1950 prize.[14] He donated a portion of his Nobel winnings "to establish a fund to support and encourage new fiction writers," eventually resulting in the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He donated another portion to a local Oxford bank to establish an account to provide scholarship funds to help educate African-American education majors at nearby Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Faulkner won two Pulitzer Prizes for what are considered as his "minor" novels: his 1954 novel A Fable, which took the Pulitzer in 1955, and the 1962 novel, The Reivers, which was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer in 1963. He also won two National Book Awards, first for his Collected Stories in 1951 and once again for his novel A Fable in 1955. On August 3, 1987, the United States Postal Service issued a 22-cent postage stamp in his honor.[15]

Selected writings

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Novels

Short stories

  • "Landing in Luck" (1919)
  • "The Hill" (1922)
  • "New Orleans"
  • "Mirrors of Chartres Street" (1925)
  • "Damon and Pythias Unlimited" (1925)
  • "Jealousy" (1925)
  • "Cheest" (1925)
  • "Out of Nazareth" (1925)
  • "The Kingdom of God" (1925)
  • "The Rosary" (1925)
  • "The Cobbler" (1925)
  • "Chance" (1925)
  • "Sunset" (1925)
  • "The Kid Learns" (1925)
  • "The Liar" (1925)
  • "Home" (1925)
  • "Episode" (1925)
  • "Country Mice" (1925)
  • "Yo Ho and Two Bottles of Rum" (1925)
  • "Music - Sweeter than the Angels Sing"
  • "A Rose for Emily" (1930)
  • "Honor" (1930)
  • "Thrift" (1930)
  • "Red Leaves" (1930)
  • "Ad Astra" (1931)
  • "Dry September" (1931)
  • "That Evening Sun" (1931)
  • "Hair" (1931)
  • "Spotted Horses" (1931)
  • "The Hound" (1931)
  • "Fox Hunt" (1931)
  • "Carcassonne" (1931)
  • "Divorce in Naples" (1931)
  • "Victory" (1931)
  • "All the Dead Pilots" (1931)
  • "Crevasse" (1931)
  • "Mistral" (1931)
  • "A Justice" (1931)
  • "Dr. Martino" (1931)
  • "Idyll in the Desert" (1931)
  • "Miss Zilphia Gant" (1932)
  • "Death Drag" (1932)
  • "Centaur in Brass" (1932)
  • "Once Aboard the Lugger (I)" (1932)
  • "Lizards in Jamshyd's Courtyard" (1932)
  • "Turnabout" (1932)
  • "Smoke" (1932)
  • "Mountain Victory" (1932)
  • "There Was a Queen" (1933)
  • "Artist at Home" (1933)
  • "Beyond" (1933)
  • "Elly" (1934)
  • "Pennsylvania Station" (1934)
  • "Wash" (1934)
  • "A Bear Hunt" (1934)
  • "The Leg" (1934)
  • "Black Music" (1934)
  • "Mule in the Yard" (1934)
  • "Ambuscade" (1934)
  • "Retreat" (1934)
  • "Lo!" (1934)
  • "Raid" (1934)
  • "Skirmish at Sartoris" (1935)
  • "Golden Land" (1935)
  • "That Will Be Fine" (1935)
  • "Uncle Willy" (1935)
  • "Lion" (1935)
  • "The Brooch" (1936)
  • "Two Dollar Wife" (1936)
  • "Fool About a Horse" (1936)
  • "Vendee" (1936)
  • "Monk" (1937)
  • "Barn Burning" (1939)
  • "Hand Upon the Waters" (1939)
  • "A Point of Law" (1940)
  • "The Old People" (1940)
  • "Pantaloon in Black" (1940)
  • "Gold Is Not Always" (1940)
  • "Tomorrow" (1940),
    adapted to film in 1972
  • "The Tall Men" (1941)
  • "Two Soldiers" (1942),
    adapted to film in 2003
  • "Delta Autumn" (1942)
  • "The Bear" (novella) (1942)
  • "Afternoon of a Cow" (1943)
  • "Shingles for the Lord" (1943)
  • "My Grandmother Millard and General Bedford Forrest and the Battle of Harrykin Creek" (1943)
  • "Shall Not Perish" (1943)
  • "Appendix, Compson, 1699-1945" (1946)
  • "An Error in Chemistry" (1946)
  • "A Courtship" (1948)
  • "Knight's Gambit" (1949)
  • "Nobel Prize Award Speech" (1949)
  • "A Name for the City" (1950)
  • "Notes on a Horsethief" (1951)
  • "Mississippi" (1954)
  • "Sepulture South: Gaslight" (1954)
  • "Race at Morning" (1955)
  • "By the People" (1955)
  • "Hell Creek Crossing" (1962)
  • "Mr. Acarius" (1965)
  • "The Wishing Tree" (1967)
  • "Al Jackson" (1971)
  • "And Now What's To Do" (1973)
  • "Nympholepsy" (1973)
  • "The Priest" (1976)
  • "Mayday" (1977)
  • "Frankie and Johnny" (1978)
  • "Don Giovanni" (1979)
  • "Peter" (1979)
  • "A Portrait of Elmer" (1979)
  • "Adolescence" (1979)
  • "Snow" (1979)
  • "Moonlight" (1979)
  • "With Caution and Dispatch" (1979)
  • "Hog Pawn" (1979)
  • "A Dangerous Man" (1979)
  • "A Return" (1979)
  • "The Big Shot" (1979)
  • "Once Aboard the Lugger (II)" (1979)
  • "Dull Tale" (1979)
  • "Evangeline" (1979)
  • "Love" (1988)
  • "Christmas Tree" (1995)
  • "Rose of Lebanon" (1995)
  • "Lucas Beauchamp" (1999)

Poetry

  • Vision in Spring (1921)
  • The Marble Faun (1924)
  • A Green Bough (1933)
  • This Earth, a Poem (1932)
  • Mississippi Poems (1979)
  • Helen, a Courtship and Mississippi Poems (1981).

Audio recordings

  • The William Faulkner Audio Collection. Caedmon, 2003. Five hours on five discs includes Faulkner reading his 1949 Nobel Prize acceptance speech and excerpts from As I Lay Dying, The Old Man and A Fable, plus readings by Debra Winger ("A Rose for Emily", "Barn Burning"), Keith Carradine ("Spotted Horses") and Arliss Howard ("That Evening Sun", "Wash"). Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award.
  • William Faulkner Reads: The Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, Selections from As I Lay Dying, A Fable, The Old Man. Caedmon/Harper Audio, 1992. Cassette. ISBN 1-55994-572-9
  • William Faulkner Reads from His Work. Arcady Series, MGM E3617 ARC, 1957. Faulkner reads from The Sound and The Fury (side one) and Light in August (side two). Produced by Jean Stein, who also did the liner notes with Edward Cole. Cover photograph by Robert Capa (Magnum).

Notes

  1. ^ New York Times, October 12, 2006:
  2. ^ University of Mississippi: William Faulkner
  3. ^ Nelson, Randy F. The Almanac of American Letters. Los Altos, California: William Kaufmann, Inc., 1981: 63–64. ISBN 086576008X
  4. ^ Parini, Jay (2004). One Matchless Time: A Life of William Faulkner. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 22–29. ISBN 0066210720. 
  5. ^ Parini, Jay (2004). One Matchless Time: A Life of William Faulkner. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 36–37. ISBN 0066210720. 
  6. ^ Padgett, John (2008-11-11). "Mississippi Writers' Page: William Faulkner". The University of Mississippi. http://www.olemiss.edu/mwp/dir/faulkner_william/index.html. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  7. ^ Parini, Jay (2004). One Matchless Time: A Life of William Faulkner. New York: HarperCollins. p. 139. ISBN 0066210720. 
  8. ^ Parini, Jay (2004). One Matchless Time: A Life of William Faulkner. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 198–199. ISBN 0066210720. 
  9. ^ Parini, Jay (2004). One Matchless Time: A Life of William Faulkner. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 309–310. ISBN 0066210720. 
  10. ^ En kärlekshistoria i Nobelprisklass, Dagens Nyheter, Januari 9, 2010.
  11. ^ This book shares a title with The Marble Faun (1860), one of the novels of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
  12. ^ "Oregon Lit Rev website". Oregonlitrev.org. http://www.oregonlitrev.org/v2n2/OLR-rickert.htm#faulkner. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  13. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Literature 1949". Nobelprize.org. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1949/. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  14. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Literature 1949: Documentary". Nobelprize.org. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1949/award-docu.html. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  15. ^ Scott catalog # 2350.

References

  • William Faulkner: Novels 1930-1935 (Joseph Blotner and Noel Polk, ed.) (Library of America, 1985) ISBN 978-0-94045026-4
  • William Faulkner: Novels 1936-1940 (Joseph Blotner and Noel Polk, eds.) (Library of America, 1990) ISBN 978-0-94045055-4
  • William Faulkner: Novels 1942-1954 (Joseph Blotner and Noel Polk, eds.) (Library of America, 1994) ISBN 978-0-94045085-1
  • William Faulkner: Novels 1957-1962 (Noel Polk, ed., with notes by Joseph Blotner) (Library of America, 1999) ISBN 978-1-88301169-7
  • William Faulkner: Novels 1926-1929 (Joseph Blotner and Noel Polk, eds.) (Library of America, 2006) ISBN 978-1-93108289-1
  • Malcolm Cowley, editor The Portable Faulkner, The Viking Press, 1946. ISBN 978-0142437285
  • Sensibar, Judith L. The Origins of Faulkner's Art. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982. ISBN 0-292-79020-1
  • Sensibar, Judith L. Faulkner and Love: The Women Who Shaped His Art. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-300-11503-1
  • Sensibar, Judith L. Vision in Spring. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984. ISBN 0-292-78712-X.
  • Blotner, Joseph. Faulkner: A Biography. New York: Random House, 1974. 2 vols.
  • Blotner, Joseph. Faulkner: A Biography. New York: Random House, 1984.
  • Margaret Kerr, Elizabeth, and Kerr, Michael M. William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha: A Kind of Keystone in the Universe. Fordham Univ Press, 1985 ISBN 0823211355, 9780823211357
  • Fowler, Doreen, Abadie, Ann. Faulkner and Popular Culture: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha. Univ. Press of Mississippi, 1990 ISBN 0878054340, 9780878054343

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things.

William Cuthbert Faulkner (September 25, 1897July 6, 1962) was an American novelist and poet whose works feature his native state of Mississippi. He was regarded as one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century and was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Contents

Sourced

Between grief and nothing I will take grief.
It is my ambition to be, as a private individual, abolished and voided from history, leaving it markless...
For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863...
The young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again.
I decline to accept the end of man.
The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.
  • Man knows so little about his fellows. In his eyes all men or women act upon what he believes would motivate him if he were mad enough to do what the other man or women is doing.
  • Poor man. Poor mankind.
    • Light in August (1932), Ch. 4
  • Even a liar can be scared into telling the truth, same as an honest man can be tortured into telling a lie.
    • Light in August (1932), Ch. 4
  • Between grief and nothing I will take grief.
    • The Wild Palms (1939)
  • Be scared. You can’t help that. But don’t be afraid. Ain’t nothing in the woods going to hurt you unless you corner it, or it smells that you are afraid. A bear or a deer, too, has got to be scared of a coward the same as a brave man has got to be.
    • “The Bear” in The Saturday Evening Post (9 May 1942)
  • It is my ambition to be, as a private individual, abolished and voided from history, leaving it markless, no refuse save the printed books; I wish I had enough sense to see ahead thirty years ago, and like some of the Elizabethans, not signed them. It is my aim, and every effort bent, that the sum and history of my life, which in the same sentence is my obit and epitaph too, shall be them both: He made the books and he died.
    • Letter to Malcolm Cowley (11 February 1949), quoted in William Faulkner : A Critical Essay (1970) by Martin Jarrett-Kerr, p. 46; also published in Selected Letters of William Faulkner (1978) by Joseph Blotner, p. 285
  • It's all now you see. Yesterday won't be over until tomorrow and tomorrow began ten thousand years ago. For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it's all in the balance, it hasn't happened yet, it hasn't even begun yet, it not only hasn't begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armistead and Wilcox look grave yet it's going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn't need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose than all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago; or to anyone who ever sailed a skiff under a quilt sail, the moment in 1492 when somebody thought This is it: the absolute edge of no return, to turn back now and make home or sail irrevocably on and either find land or plunge over the world's roaring rim.
  • Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed — love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.
    • Speech at the Nobel Prize Banquet after receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature (10 December 1950)
  • I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.
    • Speech at the Nobel Prize Banquet after receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature (10 December 1950)
  • Mr. Khrushchev says that Communism, the police state, will bury the free ones. He is a smart gentleman, he knows that this is nonsense since freedom, man's dim concept of and belief in the human spirit is the cause of all his troubles in his own country. But if he means that Communism will bury capitalism, he is correct. That funeral will occur about ten minutes after the police bury gambling. Because simple man, the human race, will bury both of them. That will be when we have expended the last grain, dram, and iota of our natural resources. But man himself will not be in that grave. The last sound on the worthless earth will be two human beings trying to launch a homemade spaceship and already quarreling about where they are going next.
    • Speech to the UNESCO Commission, as quoted in The New York Times (3 October 1959)
  • There is something about jumping a horse over a fence, something that makes you feel good. Perhaps it's the risk, the gamble. In any event it's a thing I need.
    • As quoted in "Visit to Two-Finger Typist" by Elliot Chaze in LIFE magazine (14 July 1961)
  • When grown people speak of the innocence of children, they dont really know what they mean. Pressed, they will go a step further and say, Well, ignorance then. The child is neither. There is no crime which a boy of eleven had not envisaged long ago. His only innocence is, he may not be old enough to desire the fruits of it, which is not innocence but appetite; his ignorance is, he does not know how to commit it, which is not ignorance but size. But Boon didn't know this. He must seduce me. And he had so little time: only from the time the train left until dark.
  • A gentleman can live through anything.
  • Why that’s a hundred miles away. That’s a long way to go just to eat.
    • On declining invitation to White House dinner honoring Nobel laureates, as quoted in Life magazine (20 January 1962)
  • Some folks wouldn't even speak when they passed me on the street. Then MGM came to town to film Intruder in the Dust, and that made some difference because I'd brought money into Oxford. But it wasn’t until the Nobel Prize that they really thawed out. They couldn’t understand my books, but they could understand thirty thousand dollars.
    • On the opinion of his neighbors of his writing profession, as quoted in "Faulkner Without Fanfare" in Esquire (July 1963), later publised in Conversations with William Faulkner (1999) by M. Thomas Inge, p. 102
  • Well, between Scotch and nothin', I suppose I’d take Scotch. It’s the nearest thing to good moonshine I can find.
    • As quoted in National Observer (3 February 1964)

The Sound and the Fury (1929)

Clocks slay time. Time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.
  • Then Ben wailed again, hopeless and prolonged. It was nothing. Just sound. It might have been all time and injustice and sorrow become vocal for an instant by a conjunction of planets.
  • Dilsey stroked Ben's head, slowly and steadily, smoothing the bang upon his brow. He wailed quietly, unhurriedly. "Hush," Dilsey said. "Hush, now. We be gone in a minute. Hush, now." He wailed quietly and steadily.
  • Because no battle is ever won, he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.
  • A man is the sum of his misfortunes. One day you'd think misfortune would get tired, but then time is your misfortune.
  • Clocks slay time. Time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.
  • Women do have an affinity for evil, for believing that no woman is to be trusted, but that some men are too innocent to protect themselves.

As I Lay Dying (1930)

Sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words.
  • He had a word, too. Love, he called it. But I had been used to words for a long time. I knew that that word was like the others: just a shape to fill a lack; that when the right time came, you wouldn't need a word for that anymore than for pride or fear.
  • Sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words.
  • I can remember how when I was young I believed death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind — and that of the minds who suffer the bereavement. The nihilists say it is the end; the fundamentalists, the beginning; when in reality it is no more than a single tenant or family moving out of a tenement or a town.
  • My mother is a fish.
  • People to whom sin is just a matter of words, to them salvation is just words too.
  • Life was created in the valleys. It blew up onto the hills on the old terrors, the old lusts, the old despairs. That's why you must walk up the hills so you can ride down.
  • Sometimes I think it aint none of us pure crazy and aint none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-way. It's like it aint so much what a fellow does, but it's the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it.

Mistral (1931)

Short story found in Collected Stories (1950)
Who is he who will affirm that there must be a web of flesh and bone to hold the shape of love?
  • For the holy are susceptible to to evil, even as you and I, signori; they too are helpless before sin without God's aid… and the holy can be fooled by sin as quickly as you or I, signori. Quicker, because they are holy.

Beyond (1933)

Short story later published in Collected Stories (1950)
  • Proof is but a fallacy invented by man to justify to himself and his fellows his own crass lust and folly.
  • Who is he who will affirm that there must be a web of flesh and bone to hold the shape of love?

Requiem for a Nun (1951)

  • The past is never dead. It's not even past.
  • So vast, so limitless in capacity is man's imagination to disperse and burn away the rubble-dross of fact and probability, leaving only truth and dream.
  • Maybe the only thing worse than having to give gratitude constantly is having to accept it.
    • Act 2, sc. 1

Go Down, Moses (1940)

Poets are almost always wrong about facts. That's because they are not really interested in facts: only in truth...
  • This delta, he thought: This Delta. This land which man has deswamped and denuded and derivered in two generations so that white men can own plantations and commute every night to Memphis and black men own plantations and ride in jim crow cars to Chicago to live in millionaires’ mansions on Lakeshore Drive, where white men rent farms and live like niggers and niggers crop on shares and live like animals, where cotton is planted and grows man-tall in the very cracks of the sidewalks, and ursury and mortgage and bankcruptcy and measureless wealth, Chinese and African and Aryan and Jew, all breed and spawn together until no man has time to say which is which nor cares…. No wonder the ruined woods I used to know don’t cry for retribution! He thought: The people who have destroyed it will accomplish its revenge.

The Town (1957)

  • The poets are wrong of course. … But then poets are almost always wrong about facts. That's because they are not really interested in facts: only in truth: which is why the truth they speak is so true that even those who hate poets by simple and natural instinct are exalted and terrified by it.

Paris Review interview (1958)

The Paris Review interview (1956) with Jean Stein; later published in Writers at Work : The Paris Review Interviews (1958), First Series, edited by Malcolm Cowley
All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.
If I were reincarnated, I’d want to come back a buzzard. Nothing hates him or envies him or wants him or needs him. He is never bothered or in danger, and he can eat anything.
No one is without Christianity, if we agree on what we mean by that word...
Don Quixote — I read that every year, as some do the Bible.
Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move. This is the artist's way of scribbling "Kilroy was here" on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion through which he must someday pass.
  • If I had not existed, someone else would have written me, Hemingway, Dostoevsky, all of us. Proof of that is that there are about three candidates for the authorship of Shakespeare's plays. But what is important is Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream, not who wrote them, but that somebody did. The artist is of no importance. Only what he creates is important, since there is nothing new to be said. Shakespeare, Balzac, Homer have all written about the same things, and if they had lived one thousand or two thousand years longer, the publishers wouldn’t have needed anyone since.
  • All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.
    • On himself and his contemporaries.
  • I’m a failed poet. Maybe every novelist wants to write poetry first, finds he can’t, and then tries the short story, which is the most demanding form after poetry. And, failing at that, only then does he take up novel writing.
  • Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. An artist is a creature driven by demons. He don’t know why they choose him and he’s usually too busy to wonder why. He is completely amoral in that he will rob, borrow, beg, or steal from anybody and everybody to get the work done.
  • The writer's only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one. He has a dream. It anguishes him so much that he can't get rid of it. He has no peace until then. Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the book written. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is worth any number of old ladies.
  • Art is not concerned with environment either; it doesn't care where it is … the best job that was ever offered to me was to become a landlord in a brothel. In my opinion it’s the perfect milieu for an artist to work in.
  • My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whisky.
  • If I were reincarnated, I’d want to come back a buzzard. Nothing hates him or envies him or wants him or needs him. He is never bothered or in danger, and he can eat anything.
  • Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him.
  • No one is without Christianity, if we agree on what we mean by that word. It is every individual’s individual code of behavior by means of which he makes himself a better human being than his nature wants to be, if he followed his nature only. Whatever its symbol — cross or crescent or whatever — that symbol is man’s reminder of his duty inside the human race. Its various allegories are the charts against which he measures himself and learns to know what he is. It cannot teach a man to be good as the textbook teaches him mathematics. It shows him how to discover himself, evolve for himself a moral codes and standard within his capacities and aspirations, by giving him a matchless example of suffering and sacrifice and the promise of hope.
  • There were many things I could do for two or three days and earn enough money to live on for the rest of the month. By temperament I’m a vagabond and a tramp. I don’t want money badly enough to work for it. In my opinion it’s a shame that there is so much work in the world. One of the saddest things is that the only thing that a man can do for eight hours a day, day after day, is work. You can’t eat eight hours a day nor drink for eight hours a day nor make love for eight hours — all you can do for eight hours is work. Which is the reason why man makes himself and everybody else so miserable and unhappy.
  • The two great men in my time were Mann and Joyce. You should approach Joyce's Ulysses as the illiterate Baptist preacher approaches the Old Testament: with faith.
  • Don Quixote — I read that every year, as some do the Bible.
  • The artist doesn't have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don't have the time to read reviews.
  • Life is motion, and motion is concerned with what makes man move — which is ambition, power, pleasure. What time a man can devote to morality, he must take by force from the motion of which he is a part. He is compelled to make choices between good and evil sooner or later, because moral conscience demands that from him in order that he can live with himself tomorrow. His moral conscience is the curse he had to accept from the gods in order to gain from them the right to dream.
  • The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life. Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move. This is the artist's way of scribbling "Kilroy was here" on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion through which he must someday pass.
  • People between twenty and forty are not sympathetic. The child has the capacity to do but it can’t know. It only knows when it is no longer able to do — after forty. Between twenty and forty the will of the child to do gets stronger, more dangerous, but it has not begun to learn to know yet. Since his capacity to do is forced into channels of evil through environment and pressures, man is strong before he is moral. The world’s anguish is caused by people between twenty and forty.
  • If we Americans are to survive it will have to be because we choose and elect and defend to be first of all Americans; to present to the world one homogeneous and unbroken front, whether of white Americans or black ones or purple or blue or green. Maybe the purpose of this sorry and tragic error committed in my native Mississippi by two white adults on an afflicted Negro child is to prove to us whether or not we deserve to survive. Because if we in America have reached that point in our desperate culture when we must murder children, no matter for what reason or what color, we don’t deserve to survive, and probably won’t.
  • Time is a fluid condition which has no existence except in the momentary avatars of individual people. There is no such thing as was — only is. If was existed, there would be no grief or sorrow. I like to think of the world I created as being a kind of keystone in the universe; that, small as that keystone is, if it were ever taken away the universe itself would collapse.

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Simple English

William Faulkner
File:William Faulkner 01
Faulkner in 1954, photograph by Carl Van Vechten
Born William Cuthbert Falkner
September 25, 1897
New Albany, Mississippi
Died July 6, 1962 (aged 64)
Byhalia, Mississippi
Occupation novelist, short story writer
Genres Southern Gothic
Literary movement Modernism, Stream of consciousness
Notable award(s) Nobel Prize in Literature 1949

William Faulkner (born William Cuthbert Falkner), (September 25, 1897July 6, 1962) was an American author. One of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, he was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature. His reputation is based on his novels, novellas, and short stories. However, he was also a published poet and also was a screenwriter. He is now deemed among the greatest American writers of all time.[1]

Contents

Awards

Faulkner received the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature for "his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel." He donated a portion of his Nobel winnings "to establish a fund to support and encourage new fiction writers," eventually resulting in the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He donated another portion to a local Oxford bank to establish an account to provide scholarship funds to help educate African-American education majors at nearby Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi.

Faulkner won two Pulitzer Prizes for what are considered as his "minor" novels: his 1954 novel A Fable, which took the Pulitzer in 1955, and the 1962 novel, The Reivers, which was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer in 1963. He also won two National Book Awards, first for his Collected Stories in 1951 and once again for his novel A Fable in 1955.

In 1946, Faulkner was one of three finalists for the first Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Award. He came in second to Manly Wade Wellman.[2]

On August 3, 1987, the United States Postal Service issued a 22 cent postage stamp in his honor.[3]

Selected writings

Novels

  • Soldiers' Pay (1926)
  • Mosquitoes (1927)
  • Sartoris/Flags in the Dust (1929/1973)
  • The Sound and the Fury (1929)
  • As I Lay Dying (1930)
  • Sanctuary (1931)
  • Light in August (1932)
  • Pylon (1935)
  • Absalom, Absalom! (1936)
  • The Unvanquished (1938)
  • If I Forget Thee Jerusalem (The Wild Palms/Old Man) (1939)
  • The Hamlet (1940)
  • Go Down, Moses (1942). Episodic novel made up of rewritten previous published short stories.
  • Intruder in the Dust (1948)
  • Requiem for a Nun (1951)
  • A Fable (1954)
  • The Town (1957)
  • The Mansion (1959)
  • The Reivers (1962)

Short stories

  • "Landing in Luck" (1919)
  • "The Hill" (1922)
  • "New Orleans"
  • "Mirrors of Chartres Street" (1925)
  • "Damon and Pythias Unlimited" (1925)
  • "Jealousy" (1925)
  • "Cheest" (1925)
  • "Out of Nazareth" (1925)
  • "The Kingdom of God" (1925)
  • "The Rosary" (1925)
  • "The Cobbler" (1925)
  • "Chance" (1925)
  • "Sunset" (1925)
  • "The Kid Learns" (1925)
  • "The Liar" (1925)
  • "Home" (1925)
  • "Episode" (1925)
  • "Country Mice" (1925)
  • "Yo Ho and Two Bottles of Rum" (1925)
  • "Music - Sweeter than the Angels Sing"
  • "A Rose for Emily" (1930)
  • "Honor" (1930)
  • "Thrift" (1930)
  • "Red Leaves" (1930)
  • "Ad Astra" (1931)
  • "Dry September" (1931)
  • "That Evening Sun" (1931)
  • "Hair" (1931)
  • "Spotted Horses" (1931)
  • "The Hound" (1931)
  • "Fox Hunt" (1931)
  • "Carcassonne" (1931)
  • "Divorce in Naples" (1931)
  • "Victory" (1931)
  • "All the Dead Pilots" (1931)
  • "Crevasse" (1931)
  • "Mistral" (1931)
  • "A Justice" (1931)
  • "Dr. Martino" (1931)
  • "Idyll in the Desert" (1931)

  • "Miss Zilphia Grant" (1932)
  • "Death Drag" (1932)
  • "Centaur in Brass" (1932)
  • "Once Aboard the Lugger (I)" (1932)
  • "Lizards in Jamshyd's Courtyard" (1932)
  • "Turnabout" (1932)
  • "Smoke" (1932)
  • "Mountain Victory" (1932)
  • "There Was a Queen" (1933)
  • "Artist at Home" (1933)
  • "Beyond" (1933)
  • "Elly" (1934)
  • "Pennsylvania Station" (1934)
  • "Wash" (1934)
  • "A Bear Hunt" (1934)
  • "The Leg" (1934)
  • "Black Music" (1934)
  • "Mule in the Yard" (1934)
  • "Ambuscade" (1934)
  • "Retreat" (1934)
  • "Lo!" (1934)
  • "Raid" (1934)
  • "Skirmish at Sartoris" (1935)
  • "Golden Land" (1935)
  • "That Will Be Fine" (1935)
  • "Uncle Willy" (1935)
  • "Lion" (1935)
  • "The Brooch" (1936)
  • "Two Dollar Wife" (1936)
  • "Fool About a Horse" (1936)
  • "Vendee" (1936)
  • "Monk" (1937)
  • "Barn Burning" (1939)
  • "Hand Upon the Waters" (1939)
  • "A Point of Law" (1940)
  • "The Old People" (1940)
  • "Pantaloon in Black" (1940)
  • "Gold Is Not Always" (1940)
  • "Tomorrow" (1940). Filmed in 1972, starring Robert Duvall.
  • "The Tall Men" (1941)
  • "Two Soldiers" (1942)
  • "Delta Autumn" (1942)
  • "The Bear" (1942)

  • "Afternoon of a Cow" (1943)
  • "Shingles for the Lord" (1943)
  • "My Grandmother Millard and General Bedford Forrest and the Battle of Harrykin Creek" (1943)
  • "Shall Not Perish" (1943)
  • "Appendix, Compson, 1699-1945" (1946)
  • "An Error in Chemistry" (1946)
  • "A Courtship" (1948)
  • "Knight's Gambit" (1949)
  • "Nobel Prize Award Speech" (1949)
  • "A Name for the City" (1950)
  • "Notes on a Horsethief" (1951)
  • "Mississippi" (1954)
  • "Sepulture South: Gaslight" (1954)
  • "Race at Morning" (1955)
  • "By the People" (1955)
  • "Hell Creek Crossing" (1962)
  • "Mr. Acarius" (1965)
  • "The Wishing Tree" (1967)
  • "Al Jackson" (1971)
  • "And Now What's To Do" (1973)
  • "Nympholepsy" (1973)
  • "The Priest" (1976)
  • "Mayday" (1977)
  • "Frankie and Johnny" (1978)
  • "Don Giovanni" (1979)
  • "Peter" (1979)
  • "A Portrait of Elmer" (1979)
  • "Adolescence" (1979)
  • "Snow" (1979)
  • "Moonlight" (1979)
  • "With Caution and Dispatch" (1979)
  • "Hog Pawn" (1979)
  • "A Dangerous Man" (1979)
  • "A Return" (1979)
  • "The Big Shot" (1979)
  • "Once Aboard the Lugger (II)" (1979)
  • "Dull Tale" (1979)
  • "Evangeline" (1979)
  • "Love" (1988)
  • "Christmas Tree" (1995)
  • "Rose of Lebanon" (1995)
  • "Lucas Beauchamp" (1999)

Poetry

  • Vision in Spring (1921)
  • The Marble Faun (1924)
  • A Green Bough (1933)
  • This Earth, a Poem (1932)
  • Mississippi Poems (1979)
  • Helen, a Courtship and Mississippi Poems (1981).

References

  1. New York Times, October 12, 2006:
  2. Oregon Lit Rev website
  3. Scott catalog # 2350.
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