William Faulkner Additional Biography

Biography

Faulkner’s novels deal explicitly with such controversial topics as rape, incest, masturbation, castration, adultery, impotence, and racism. Despite the fact that such topics are always peripheral to his primary concerns, his novels have been attacked continuously as being shocking and immoral. None of his works was ever subject to direct governmental censorship, but they have often been subjected to cultural censorship.

Boni and Liveright, publishers of Faulkner’s second novel, Mosquitos (1927), insisted on deleting passages that they felt verged on perversion. When Faulkner submitted the manuscript for Sanctuary (1931), which in part deals with the brutal rape of a young college student and her subsequent descent into sexual and moral depravity, to his new publishers, Cape and Smith, in June of 1929, Hal Smith wrote back saying “I can’t publish this. We’d both be in jail.” However, Smith eventually decided to take a chance on the book, so Sanctuary, Faulkner’s fifth novel, was published in 1931. Reviews of the book expressed both horror at its subject matter and admiration for its power. In the public mind Faulkner became associated with sadism, violence, and decadence. His own father was outraged by Sanctuary and sought to have it suppressed and withdrawn from the market. Ironically, Sanctuary was a great financial and popular success, made Faulkner a more widely respected artist, and lead to...

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Biography

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

William Faulkner spent most of his life in Mississippi, although as a young man he went briefly to Paris and lived for a time in New Orleans, where he knew Sherwood Anderson. He trained for the Royal Air Force in Canada during World War I, but the war was over before he saw action. He attended the University of Mississippi in Oxford for a year, where he published poems and reviews in a campus periodical; and after dropping out, he worked for a time in the university post office. He married Estelle Oldham, and they had a daughter, Jill. Except for periodic and often unhappy stays in Hollywood to work on screenplays—in order to support a large number of dependents—Faulkner lived and wrote in Oxford, where he had available to him in the town and surrounding countryside the prototypes for the characters that inhabit his major works. In the late 1950’s, he accepted a position as a writer-in-residence at the University of Virginia and traveled to Japan on behalf of the Department of State. Although his literary reputation waned in the 1940’s, when virtually all of his earlier works were out of print, Faulkner’s stature as a writer grew after 1946, when The Portable Faulkner was published by Malcom Cowley and especially after 1950, when he accepted the Nobel Prize, when his collected stories were published, and when his novels began to be reprinted. Faulkner drove himself harder physically as he grew older, and he was troubled throughout his life with alcohol binges into which he would often fall after completing a book. These factors contributed to his death in 1962.

Biography

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

William Faulkner was born William Cuthbert Falkner in New Albany, Mississippi, on September 25, 1897. His ancestors had emigrated from Scotland in the eighteenth century. Faulkner’s great-grandfather, William Clark Falkner, was a colonel in the Civil War, wrote the popular romance The White Rose of Memphis (1881), and provided a model for the patriarch of the Sartoris clan in The Unvanquished. Faulkner’s family was very important to him. The eldest son of Maud and Murry Falkner, William Cuthbert later became the head of the family. He took this responsibility seriously, struggling most of his life to care for those whom, whether by blood or moral commitment, he considered members of his family. In 1924, he changed the spelling of his family name to Faulkner.

Faulkner discovered his storytelling gifts as a child, but his writing career did not really begin until after his brief training for the Royal Air Force in Canada, shortly before the World War I Armistice in 1918. He attended the University of Mississippi for one year, worked at odd jobs, and published a volume of poetry, The Marble Faun (1924). He took writing more seriously, with encouragement from Sherwood Anderson, while living in New Orleans in 1925. The influence of Anderson, especially his “The Book of the Grotesque” from Winesburg, Ohio (1919), seems to pervade Faulkner’s work. During his apprenticeship he spent several months traveling in Europe. Out of...

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Biography

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

William Cuthbert Falkner was born on September 25, 1897, in New Albany, Mississippi, the son of Murry C. Falkner and Maud Butler Falkner. The eldest of four brothers, William would eventually change the spelling of his family name to Faulkner, which he believed to be its original form. He moved with his family to Oxford, Mississippi, in 1902. There he grew up and was educated, until he left high school without receiving his diploma. He joined the Royal Air Force in Canada in 1918 and trained as a pilot but was never sent to Europe. From 1919 to 1920, Faulkner attended the University of Mississippi. From 1921 to 1924, he served without distinction as university postmaster; he may even have been discharged from the position (the evidence is inconclusive). During this period, Faulkner was primarily writing poetry, and in 1924 The Marble Faun, a book of verse, was privately published. Then he took up a six-month residence in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he became friendly with Sherwood Anderson and wrote sketches for the Times-Picayune and The Double Dealer. Anderson later helped him to publish his first novel, Soldiers’ Pay (1926).

After spending some time in Paris and in northern Italy, Switzerland, and England, Faulkner returned to Oxford, where he would live for most of the rest of his life. From 1926 onward, he was a full-time writer. He married Estelle Oldham Franklin in 1929, and they had one daughter. Having published five novels that were qualified critical successes but financial failures, he wrote Sanctuary (1931) expressly to make money. The book gave him a popular reputation for the first time and, because it was adapted as a motion picture, introduced him to Hollywood. He intermittently worked as a Hollywood screenwriter during three separate periods: from 1932 to 1933 for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, from 1935 to 1937 for Twentieth Century Fox, and from 1942 to 1945 for Warner Bros.

Although Faulkner’s books sold only modestly for many years, he accumulated a wealth of critical honors, including two O. Henry Awards, two National Book Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes, and the Nobel Prize in Literature. He was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1939 and was named writer-in-residence at the University of Virginia in 1957. By the end of his life, he was acknowledged to be, along with Ernest Hemingway, the foremost American novelist of his generation. He died at Byhalia, Mississippi, on July 6, 1962.

Biography

(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

A white Southerner ahead of his time in many respects, William Faulkner was a product of family and region. He was named for his great-grandfather, a Confederate colonel and railroad builder, on whom he later based the character of Colonel John Sartoris of Sartoris and The Unvanquished (1938). Although he never finished high school, the young Faulkner read obsessively: the Bible, William Shakespeare, and poets such as John Keats, Algernon Charles Swinburne, and the Imagists, who were introduced to him by his lifelong friend, Phil Stone.

After publishing The Marble Faun (1924), a small book of poems, Faulkner traveled to New Orleans, where his life changed when author Sherwood Anderson encouraged him to write stories about his “own little postage stamp of native soil.” For Faulkner, this place became his fictional Yoknapatawpha County. Jefferson, Yoknapatawpha’s county seat, is based loosely on Faulkner’s home town of Oxford, Mississippi. The need for money to support his wife and daughter led him through ten years of writing movie scripts, a job that he detested but that did not deter him from his real work in Oxford.

Faulkner identified with the old aristocracy, which he saw weakened by its inability to adapt to a changing South. His writing also reveals understanding of and compassion for African Americans and poor whites. In the late 1940’s, he began to speak out in favor of civil rights for African Americans, challenging traditional assumptions of the South. His novel Intruder in the Dust underscores this position.

In Faulkner’s South, the past is everywhere, brooding over the present, and the present is fleeting, becoming the past. He was steeped in the history and folklore of his region, from the terrible events of the Civil War to the bitter truths of racism. In 1949, William Faulkner became the fourth American to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. His Nobel Prize address is famous for its ringing defense of humanity: “I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail . . . because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.”

Biography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

William Cuthbert Faulkner (FAWK-nur), one of the greatest American novelists of the twentieth century, was born in New Albany, Mississippi, in 1897. He was heir to a family whose heritage embraced the history of the South, from antebellum riches to the hard times that followed the Civil War. The most notable influence on Faulkner was his grandfather, William Clark Falkner (the novelist changed the spelling of the family name). Known as the “Old Colonel,” William Clark Falkner was a towering figure whose achievements included service in the Mexican War and Civil War and authorship of a best-selling novel, The White Rose of Memphis (1881). Faulkner idolized his grandfather and considered him a true hero, a martyr; he was...

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Biography

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

William Faulkner was born William Cuthbert Falkner in New Albany, Mississippi, September 25, 1897, to Murry C. and Maud Butler Falkner. He was the oldest of four children, all boys. The family moved in 1898 to nearby Ripley and in 1902 to Oxford, Mississippi, the author’s primary home throughout his life. His father’s employment included being treasurer of a railroad, owner of businesses, and administrator of the University of Mississippi. Faulkner’s early loves included trains, horses, hunting, and reading. After years of truancy and low performance, he quit high school in his senior year. Friendship with the future lawyer Phil Stone and frequenting the university campus were positive influences.

In 1918,...

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Biography

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Faulkner wrote more than nineteen novels and dozens of stories. His best have established him as one of the great novelists and storytellers. Each work is complete in itself, yet his works also inform and relate to one another. His variety is vast: Settings range from the Civil War to the twentieth century, from Mississippi to war-torn France. He used the people and places of his own region to write on universal themes, creating not only characters but also entire families and communities. His reputation grew steadily, first in Europe and Japan, later in the United States and the rest of the world.

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Biography

William Faulkner Published by Gale Cengage

William Faulkner—store-clerk, carpenter, general construction-worker, coal shoveler, deck-hand, cadet-aviator, and ultimately a prime...

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Biography

William Faulkner Published by Gale Cengage

William Cuthbert Faulkner (family name originally Falkner) was born in New Albany, Mississippi, on September 25,1897. He was the oldest of...

(The entire section is 506 words.)

Biography

William Cuthbert Faulkner was born September 25, 1897, in New Albany, Mississippi. He grew up in the towns of New Albany and Oxford,...

(The entire section is 290 words.)

Biography

Born on September 25, 1897 William Faulkner belonged to a once-wealthy family of former plantation...

(The entire section is 490 words.)

Biography

William Faulkner was born on September 25, 1897, in Albany, Mississippi. His family had roots in Mississippi, and Faulkner remained in the...

(The entire section is 290 words.)

Biography

The oldest of four sons of Murry Cuthbert Falkner and Maud Butler Falkner, William Cuthbert Falkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi, on...

(The entire section is 534 words.)

Biography

William Faulkner was born on September 25, 1897, to a genteel southern family that had lost most of its money during the Civil War. Faulkner...

(The entire section is 512 words.)

Biography

William Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi, on September 25, 1897 to Murry Falkner, and Maud Butler Falkner. His father held...

(The entire section is 579 words.)

Biography

William Faulkner Published by Gale Cengage

William Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi, on September 25, 1897. His family moved to Oxford, Mississippi, just before he was...

(The entire section is 541 words.)

Biography

William Cuthbert Faulkner (changed from the original spelling, Falkner) was born on September 25, 1897, in New Albany, Mississippi. He was...

(The entire section is 516 words.)