Bleikasten, Andre. The Ink of Melancholy: Faulkner’s Novels from “The Sound and the Fury” to “Light in August.” Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990. Concentrating on four of William Faulkner’s finest novels, Bleikensten offers a wide-ranging study of the writer and the limits of authorship. For a review of this work see Magill’s Literary Annual review.
Blotner, Joseph. Faulkner: A Biography. New York: Random House, 1964. This extensive but readable two-volume biography is the major source for details about Faulkner’s life. It contains many photographs and a useful index.
Brooks, Cleanth. William Faulkner: The Yoknapatawpha County. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1963. Brooks has written several excellent books on Faulkner, but this venerable classic of Faulkner criticism is one of the best introductions, treating Faulkner’s characteristic themes, historical and social background, and offering detailed readings of the major novels and stories. His carefully prepared notes, appendices, and character index can be immensely helpful to beginning readers trying to make sense of mysterious events and complex family relations.
Broughton, Panthea. William Faulkner: The Abstract and the Actual. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1974. Of several fine critical studies that attempt to see Faulkner whole and understand his worldview, this is one of the best, especially for readers just beginning to know Faulkner. Broughton sees the tension between the ideal and the actual as central to understanding the internal and external conflicts about which Faulkner most often writes.
Carothers, James. William Faulkner’s Short Stories. Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1985. This study gives special attention to interrelations among the short stories and between the stories and the novels. Carothers offers balanced and careful readings of the stories and a useful bibliography.
Fargnoli, A. Nicholas, and Michael Golay. William Faulkner A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts on File, 2001.
Ferguson, James. Faulkner’s Short Fiction. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1991. An attempt to redress the critical neglect of Faulkner’s short fiction. Discusses Faulkner’s poetic and narrative impulses, his themes of loss of innocence, failure to love, loneliness, and isolation; comments on his manipulation of time and point of view and how his stories relate to his novels.
Ford, Marilyn Claire. “Narrative Legerdemain: Evoking Sarty’s Future in ‘Barn Burning.’” The Mississippi Quarterly 51 (Summer, 1998): 527-540. In this special issue on Faulkner, Ford argues that Faulkner experiments with the doubling of perspective in “Barn Burning” in which the omniscient narrator fuses with the protagonist to create a story with multiple narrative layers.
Gray, Richard. The Life of William Faulkner: A Critical Biography. Oxford, England: Blackwell, 1994. A noted Faulkner scholar, Gray closely integrates the life and work. Part 1 suggests a method of approaching Faulkner’s life; part 2 concentrates on his apprentice years; part 3 explains his discovery of Yoknapatawpha and the transformation of his region into his fiction; part 4 deals with his treatment of past and present; part 5 addresses his exploration of place; and part 6 analyzes his final novels, reflecting on his creation of Yoknapatawpha. Includes family trees, chronology, notes, and a bibliography.
Hoffman, Frederick, and Olga W. Vickery, eds. William Faulkner: Three Decades of Criticism. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1960. Though there are more recent collections of critical essays on Faulkner, this volume remains one of the most useful. It contains the important The Paris Review interview of 1956, the Nobel Prize address, and twenty-two essays, many of them seminal, on Faulkner’s work and life.
Inge, M. Thomas, ed. Conversations with William Faulkner. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1999. Part of the Literary Conversations series, this volume gives insight into Faulkner the person. Includes bibliographical references and index.
Jones, Diane Brown. A Reader’s Guide to the Short Stories of William Faulkner. New York: G. K. Hall, 1994. Discusses more than thirty of Faulkner’s stories in terms of publishing history, circumstances of composition, sources/influence, and relationship to other Faulkner works; includes interpretations of the stories and summarizes and critiques previous criticism.
Karl, Frederick Robert. William Faulkner, American Writer. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989. For a review of this work see Magill’s Literary Annual review.
McHaney, Thomas. William Faulkner: A Reference Guide. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1976. Though somewhat difficult to use, this guide provides an admirably complete annotated listing of writing about Faulkner through 1973. Because Faulkner is a world- class author, a tremendous amount has been written since 1973. A good source of information about later writing is American Literary Scholarship: An Annual.
Minter, David. William Faulkner: His Life and Work. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980. Shorter and less detailed than Joseph Blotner’s biography, this volume gives more attention to exploring connections between Faulkner’s life and his works.
The Mississippi Quarterly 50 (Summer, 1997). A special issue on Faulkner, including articles that discuss displaced meaning, dispossessed sons, the wilderness and consciousness, and subjectivity in Go Down, Moses.
Singal, Daniel J. William Faulkner: The Making of a Modernist. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997. (See Magill’s Literary Annual review) A study of the thought and art of Faulkner, charting the development of his ideas from their source in his reading to their embodiment in his writing. Depicts two Faulkners: the country gentleman and the intellectual man of letters.
Wagner-Martin, Linda. New Essays on “Go Down, Moses.” Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1996. After an introduction that summarizes contemporary reception and critical analysis of Go Down, Moses, Wagner-Martin collects essays that approach the work from the perspective of race, environment, gender, and ideology.
Williamson, Joel. William Faulkner and Southern History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. A distinguished historian divides his book into sections on Faulkner’s ancestry, his biography, and his writing. Includes notes and genealogy.