From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Faulkner in 1954, photograph by Carl
||William Cuthbert Falkner
September 25, 1897
New Albany, Mississippi, USA
||July 6, 1962 (aged 64)
Byhalia, Mississippi, USA
||Novelist, short story writer
Nobel Prize in Literature, 1949
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
Robert Penn Warren, Flannery
Truman Capote, Eudora
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
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.
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
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." 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,