1949 : William Faulkner

1949 : William Faulkner

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“for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel”



September 25, 1897

Place of birth


Oxford, Mississippi



July 6, 1962

Place of death


Byhalia, Mississippi



Novelist, Short story writer




Notable award(s)


Nobel Prize in Literature 1949


Born into an aristocratic family, Faulkner was born under the name of William Falkner (not Faulkner) in New Albany (New Albany in English) in Union County (Mississippi) and was deeply influenced by the life of the southern states American. Mississippi marked his sense of humor, the tragic (by the social divide between blacks and whites in force at the time), its ability to build characters typical of the south (one of them being that of the bright and intelligent man, hidden behind the facade of the brave boy a little way). He took the name to Faulkner, said he is single, “mainly with respect to his father he did not, it was also a way for him to become a writer. He joined the Canadian Air Force during the First World War, but the armistice was signed before he could make his first flight, which did not prevent his return to assign a due hobble an injury he would have received in combat, but also long continue to lie to his family on his alleged exploits. Already very focused on alcohol, Faulkner sells in bookstores postman but then spend most of his time writing and reading. He moved shortly after his marriage to Oxford (Mississippi). This marriage (his wife called Estelle) will be a disaster (both spouses are alcoholics; Estelle will cure thereafter). They have a daughter, Jill. In years 40 and 50, William Faulkner multiply connections with young women. If in his youth he writing only poems (the first of them “Afternoon of a Faun” was published in 1919) is for his stories and novels that became famous. His first novel was published in 1925, Currency monkey. Faulkner then visit Europe, stopping in northern Italy in Paris (where he began writing his second novel Mosquitoes), begins a tour of battlefields French (Rouen, Amiens, Compiegne, Dieppe), is travels to London that it does not, and returned to Oxford, where he writes in the dust Standards (1927) (also called Sartoris following editions) he is very proud. It is in this novel that his characters evolve for the first time in Yoknapatawpha County, part of most of its future novels. While it still can not live by his pen, he continues to alternate odd jobs and writing, publishing four of his major novels (the noise and fury, while j’agonise, Sanctuary, Light in August ) In just four years (1929-1932). Sanctuary ( “the intrusion of Greek tragedy in the novel” as famously Malraux) caused a scandal but the author brings money and fame. His first collection Thirteen Stories (1931) meets her new best-known, including A Rose for Emily. It is also the time when he met the writer Dashiell Hammet novels black, big drinker like him: the two men become friends. Later in his career (1932-1937), Faulkner began a long series of trips between Oxford and Hollywood where he became a screenwriter. The film does not particularly interested in money but it provides the fact persevere, especially he befriends Hawks: the two men share a taste for alcohol, aviation and hunting. During his first stay in Hollywood, Faulkner worked successively for MGM and the Twentieth Century Fox. At that time, he has a liaison with the secretary of Hawks, Meta Carpenter will be the great love (later betrayed) of his life. His work as a screenwriter does not prevent it from publishing novels and not least since the year 1936 saw the publication of Absalom, Absalom! and the year 1940 the Hammeau first volume of what will become, with the City (1954) and Field (1959) the of Snop trilogy. When the United States fall into the Second World War, Faulkner committed in self-defense. Also for the money when he returned to Hollywood writing among other Howard Hawks and in collaboration with Francis Scott Fitzgerald scenario of the film The Big Sleep, from the book by Raymond Chandler, as well as the film The Port of anguish, from the book of Ernest Hemingway have in or not. It works to the film by Jean Renoir Humanities and South River written a script for a film recounting the career of de Gaulle but will never be. In 1946, back in Oxford, he met one of his young admirers, Joan Williams takes under his wing. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949 (five years before Hemingway). He drinks shortly before leaving seek reward in Stockholm where he gave a speech, saying “[refuse] to accept the end of man […]. The man will not suffer as it […] prevail. ” Faulkner gives the sum received to “establish a fund in support of new fiction,” which became the PEN / Faulkner Award for Fiction. Thereafter, Faulkner trip, accepting a mission of the Secretariat of State in Japan and Italy. In 1953 he found work Hawks for the scenario of what would become the “Land of the Pharaohs” (1954). It becomes “writer-in-residence at the University of Virginia, from 1957 to 1958.Il spends most of his time devoted to his passions for horseback riding (which it will be worth many falls) and writing Not so little; He even refused an invitation to dinner at the White House “because a diner is not 200 km. His alcoholism is a source of many hospitalizations. Faulkner died in the night of 5 to 6 July 1962, after a horse last fall occurred a few days earlier. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Parabola [(en) A fable] and the National Book Award posthumously for her work. The work:William Faulkner wrote novels under the psychological drama in a major concern of emotions, and made a tortuous prose and subtle prosody and a very worked. Like most prolific authors, he suffered from jealousy and contempt for others, and was considered the rival style of Ernest Hemingway (his lengthy sentences against the incisive and minimalist style of Hemingway). It is also seen nowadays as a representative of major American literary modernism of the 1930s, following the tradition of experimental European authors such as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Marcel Proust, known for their use of multiple narrative from the point multiple perspectives, the internal focus and narrative ellipses. Faulkner preparation for its so-called “common conscience”, giving a style seemingly erratic and spontaneous, yet very worked. The best-known novels of Faulkner are probably Sound and the Fury (1929), while j’agonise (1930), Sanctuary (1931), Light in August (1938), and Absalom, Absalom! (1936), – the latter being readily considered his masterpiece, which depicts a successful planter and its tragic collapse caused by racial prejudice and lack of love. Plus you can still read his work as a long interrogation on the reasons for the sinking Southern, the people of South survived after the event as a defeat in the war of secession; Faulkner himself insisted on the weight of it and said to be born in 1898 but death in 1865. This insistence to turn around the matrix of his novels is reflected in Absalom! Absalom! who refuses a victim of South and North of its Carpet Baggers but insists – and this is the function of abnormal all of his novels – starting with the noise and fury – on the inner rot and earlier even before South the event of defeat. It may read like an anti-Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind is also published the same year qu’Absalom! Absalom! and is the complete counterweight (to success which is) because this novel heroism flattered the South where the Faulkner buried. So there is hatred among Faulkner provided a self proclamation of love for the South concludes the novel, it is still strange because he died without apparent reason-the-year. The long-quasi-narrative psychotherapy – which opens the text is there to say the overwhelming anger and frustration of this south-flouted feels like heroin – both abused and denied that his anger ruminates in her modesty outraged when she is as much the causes of defeat in her that external events. The hero then Sutpen appears as a close earlier, a sign of rot in the south, since its eruption is that of all the corruption, the blood and money, the recognition that follows it, even if it is late and the men in mind too open, shows that the South even if it still wanted aristocratic already accepted what he renege later (instead of money) and that he will claim it is worth coming North to which he would have remained abroad without it. The desperate search of hidden son and black (specifically octavon in the language-loving precision of the time – but it is still him a black to white) is the sign that Sutpen seeking respectability from Prejudice, first built against him, trying to erase himself his own life to get this recognition and trying to build a Southern myth of purity. The involvement of his two son (who kill each other at the end of the conflict) the war sounds like adherence to a system of values (aristocratic and racist) that the hidden son-in reality the elder – wants to push his father Reni-recognizing its past misconduct (he had a child with a mixed and recognized a time) asking his daughter in marriage and therefore his own sister, so why shut-incest or possible mixed blood – the younger son (the one who thinks the only legitimate child) kills his brother. Difficult after that to proclaim that Faulkner likes or dislikes the south, it is the south and as such it bears his defeat as he bears the burden of having been mobilized in 1918 without being able to fight. His literature can keep this idea that develops on her eponymous character quasi-Colonel Sartoris who “had set an ideal large enough to never lose sight” could be added even turning him back. This character dies of a zany, shot to go get a box of anchovies he did not want to leave in the hands of northerners. there’s grandeur and derision in the work of Faulkner, as a sort of big difference between a life – and death – and a dream for he could not accomplish, no more and no less than South. Rancid hatred – it is a dead-crazy and eventually his coffin down a fast and her young son takes for a fish – are also in j’agonise While they are like the heart of the work which seems ever more complex over time and to that extent the analysis, comparison with psychoanalysis is not accidental: events minors acquire a quasi-mythological resonance and appear as trauma founders, who South confusing it with trauma intimate ousted in a cross-permanent and dizzying. Such work alone explains why Faulkner to be the father of contemporary literature, so both large and small masters claim to him and say they can not write that the shadow of his novels. But the most affordable and most representative of his style is The intruder, a history worthy of a western Major John Ford. A police investigation led by kids foremost, an old lady, and adults whose famous uncle Gavin will be reflected in other novels. A serious and earthy story in which it is to save the life of a black, which is not very well regarded in the South. It sent Faulkner at ease in this type of history, dark and full of humor. Faulkner was also a prolific author of short stories. He was also an author known for his police stories, publishing five new black under the gambit of the rider whose common hero, Gavin Stevens, the prosecutor is a small town in Mississippi in Yoknapatawpha County. Several of his other stories and novels take place in this county, literary avatar Lafayette County where Oxford. Yoknapatawpha that took place in Faulkner’s work that has become a fiction created by the most monumental in the history of literature.


Works in English:

  • The Marble Faun – Boston : Four Seas, 1924

  • Soldiers’ Pay – New York : Boni & Liveright, 1926

  • Mosquitoes – New York : Boni & Liveright, 1927

  • Sartoris – New York : Harcourt, Brace, 1929 – Original, uncut version edited by Douglas Day as Flags in the Dust – New York : Random House, 1974

  • The Sound and the Fury – New York : Cape & Smith, 1929

  • As I Lay Dying – New York : Cape & Smith, 1930

  • Sanctuary – New York : Cape & Smith, 1931 – Unrevised version edited by Noel Polk as Sanctuary: The Original Text – New York : Random House, 1981

  • These 13 – New York : Cape & Smith, 1931

  • Idyll in the Desert – New York : Random House, 1931

  • Miss Zilphia Gant – Dallas : Book Club of Texas, 1932

  • Salmagundi – Milwaukee : Casanova, 1932

  • Light in August.– New York : Smith & Haas, 1932

  • A Green Bough – New York : Smith & Haas, 1933

  • Doctor Martino and Other Stories – New York : Smith & Haas, 1934

  • Pylon – New York : Smith & Haas, 1935

  • Absalom, Absalom! – New York : Random House, 1936

  • The Unvanquished – New York : Random House, 1938

  • The Wild Palms – New York : Random House, 1939

  • The Hamlet – New York : Random House, 1940 – Revised ed – New York : Random House, 1964

  • Go Down, Moses and Other Stories – New York : Random House, 1942

  • Intruder in the Dust – New York : Random House, 1948

  • Knight’s Gambit – New York : Random House, 1949

  • Collected Stories of William Faulkner – New York : Random House, 1950

  • Notes on a Horsethief – Greenville, Miss. : Levee, 1950 [i.e., 1951]

  • Requiem for a Nun – New York : Random House, 1951

  • Mirrors of Chartres Street – Minneapolis : Faulkner Studies, 1953

  • A Fable – New York : Random House, 1954

  • Big Woods – New York : Random House, 1955

  • Faulkner’s County : Tales of Yoknapatawpha County – London: Chatto & Windus, 1955

  • Jealousy and Episode : Two Stories – Minneapolis : Faulkner Studies, 1955

  • The Town – New York : Random House, 1957

  • New Orleans Sketches / edited by Carvel Collins – New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1958

  • The Mansion – New York : Random House, 1959

  • The Reivers – New York : Random House, 1962

  • Early Prose and Poetry / edited by Carvel Collins – Boston : Little, Brown, 1962

  • Essays, Speeches & Public Letters / edited by James B. Meriwether – New York : Random House, 1966

  • The Wishing Tree – New York : Random House, 1967

  • The Big Sleep : screenplay / William Faulkner, Jules Furthman, and Leigh Brackett – New York : Irvington, 1971

  • The Marionettes : A Play in One Act. – Charlottesville : Bibliographical Society, University of Virginia, 1975

  • Mayday – South Bend, Ind. : University of Notre Dame Press, 1976

  • Mississippi Poems. – Oxford, Miss. : Yoknapatawpha, 1979

  • Uncollected Stories of William Faulkner / edited by Joseph Blotner – New York : Random House, 1979

  • To Have and Have Not : screenplay / William Faulkner and Jules Furthman – Madison : University of Wisconsin Press, 1980

  • The Road to Glory : screenplay / William Faulkner and Joel Sayre – Carbondale & Edwardsville : Southern Illinois University Press, 1981

  • Helen : A Courtship – Oxford,Miss : Yoknapatawpha, 1981

  • Faulkner’s MGM Screenplays / edited by Bruce F. Kawin – Knoxville : University of Tennessee Press, 1982

  • Elmer / edited by Dianne Cox. – Northport, Ala. : Seajay, 1983

  • A Sorority Pledge – Northport, Ala. : Seajay, 1983

  • Father Abraham / edited by Meriwether – New York : Red Ozier Press, 1983

  • The DeGaulle Story : screenplay / edited by Louis Daniel Brodsky and Robert W. Hamblin – Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, 1984

  • Vision in Spring / edited by Judith Sensibar – Austin : University of Texas Press, 1984

  • Battle Cry : screenplay / edited by Louis Daniel Brodsky and Robert W. Hamblin – Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, 1985

  • Battle Cry : screenplay / edited by Louis Daniel Brodsky and Robert W. Hamblin – Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, 1985

  • Country Lawyer and Other Stories for the Screen / edited by Louis Daniel Brodsky and Robert W. Hamblin – Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, 1987

  • Stallion Road : screenplay / edited by Louis Daniel Brodsky and Robert W. Hamblin – Jackson : University Press of Mississippi, 1989

Literature (a selection):

  • O’Connor, William Van, The Tangled Fire of William Faulkner – Minneapolis : Minnesota U.P., 1954

  • Malin, Irving, William Faulkner : an Interpretation – Stanford, Calif. : Stanford Univ. Press, 1957

  • Waggoner, Hyatt Howe, William Faulkner : from Jefferson to the World – Lexington : Univ. of Kentucky Press, 1959

  • Frohock, Wilbur Merril, The Novel of Violence in America – London : Barker, 1959

  • Brooks, Cleanth, William Faulkner : The Yoknapatawpha Country – New Haven, Conn. : Yale Univ. Press, 1963

  • Vickery, Olga W., The Novels of William Faulkner : a Critical Interpretation – Baton Rouge, La. : Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1964

  • Faulkner : a Collection of Critical Essays / edited by Robert Penn Warren – Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1966

  • Backman, Melvin, Faulkner : the Major Years : a Critical Study – Bloomington, Ind. : Indiana Univ. Press, 1966

  • Reed, Joseph W., Faulkner’s Narrative – New Haven : Yale Univ. Press, 1973

  • Blotner, Joseph Leo, Faulkner : a Biography – New York : Random House, 1974 – 2 vol

  • William Faulkner : the Critical Heritage / ed. by John Bassett – London : Routledge & Kegan, 1975

  • Brooks, Cleanth, William Faulkner : the Yoknapatawpha Country – New Haven : Yale Univ. Press, 1976

  • Nordanberg, Thomas, Cataclysm as Catalyst : the Theme of War in William Faulkner’s Fiction – Uppsala : Univ., 1983

  • Gray, Richard J., The Life of William Faulkner : a Critical Biography. – Oxford : Blackwell Publishers, 1994

  • The Cambridge Companion to William Faulkner / edited by Philip M. Weinstein – Cambridge : Cambridge Univ. Press, 1995

  • Glissant, Edouard, Faulkner, Mississippi / translated from the French by Barbara Lewis and Thomas C. Spear – New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999

  • Parini, Jay, One Matchless Time : a Life of William Faulkner – New York : HarperCollins Publishers, cop. 2004

  • Faulkner and the Ecology of the South : Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha, 2003 / edited by Joseph R. Urgo and Ann J. Abadie – Jackson : Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2005


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.

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

Presentation Speech:

Presentation Speech by Gustaf Hellstrom, Member of the Swedish Academy, December 10, 1950

William Faulkner is essentially a regional writer, and as such reminds Swedish readers now and then of two of our own most important novelists, Selma Lagerlof and Hjalmar Bergman. Faulkner’s Varmland is the northern part of the state of Mississippi and his Vadkoping is called Jefferson. The parallelism between him and our two fellow countrymen could be extended and deepened, but time does not allow such excursions now. The difference – the great difference – between him and them is that Faulkner’s setting is so much darker and more bloody than that against which Lagerlof’s cavaliers and Bergman’s bizarre figures lived. Faulkner is the great epic writer of the southern states with all their background: a glorious past built upon cheap Negro slave labour; a civil war and a defeat which destroyed the economic basis necessary for the then existing social structure; a long drawn-out and painful interim of resentment; and, finally, an industrial and commercial future whose mechanization and standardization of life are strange and hostile to the Southerner and to which he has only gradually been able and willing to adapt himself Faulkner’s novels are a continuous and ever-deepening description of this painful process, which he knows intimately and feels intensely, coming as he does from a family which was forced to swallow the bitter fruits of defeat right down to their worm-eaten cores: impoverishment, decay, degeneration in its many varied forms. He has been called a reactionary. But even if this term is to some extent justified, it is balanced by the feeling of guilt which becomes clearer and dearer in the dark fabric at which he labours so untiringly. The price of the gentlemanly environment, the chivalry, the courage, and the often extreme individualism was inhumanity. Briefly, Faulkner’s dilemma might be expressed thus: he mourns for and, as a writer, exaggerates a way of life which he himself, with his sense of justice and humanity, would never be able to stomach. It is this that makes his regionalism universal. Four bloody years of war brought about the changes in the social structure which it has taken the peoples of Europe, except the Russians, a century and a half to undergo.

It is against a background of war and violence that the fifty-two-year-old writer sets his more important novels. His grandfather held a high command during the Civil War. He himself grew up in the atmosphere created by warlike feats and by the bitterness and the poverty resulting from the never admitted defeat. When he was twenty he entered the Canadian Royal Air Force, crashed twice, and returned home, not as a military hero but as a physically and psychically war-damaged youth with dubious prospects, who for some years faced a precarious existence. He had joined the war because, as his alter ego expressed it in one of his early novels, one doesn’t want to waste a war. But out of the youth who once had been thirsting for sensation and battle, there gradually developed a man whose loathing of violence is expressed more and more passionately and might well be summed up by the Fifth Commandment: Thou shalt not kill. On the other hand, there are things which man must always show himself unwilling to bear: Some things, says one of his latest characters, you must always be unable to bear. Injustice and outrage and dishonor and shame. Not for kudos and not for cash – Just refuse to bear them. 0ne might ask how these two maxims can be reconciled or how Faulkner himself envisages a reconciliation between them in times of international lawlessness. It is a question which he leaves open.

The fact is that, as a writer, Faulkner is no more interested in solving problems than he is tempted to indulge in sociological comments on the sudden changes in the economic position of the southern states. The defeat and the consequences of defeat are merely the soil out of which his epics grow. He is not fascinated by men as a community but by man in the community, the individual as a final unity in himself, curiously unmoved by external conditions. The tragedies of these individuals have nothing in common with Greek tragedy: they are led to their inexorable end by passions caused by inheritance, traditions, and environment, passions which are expressed either in a sudden outburst or in a slow liberation from perhaps generations-old restrictions. With almost every new work Faulkner penetrates deeper into the human psyche, into man’s greatness and powers of self-sacrifice, lust for power, cupidity, spiritual poverty, narrow-mindedness, burlesque obstinacy, anguish, terror, and degenerate aberrations. As a probing psychologist he is the unrivalled master among all living British and American novelists. Neither do any of his colleagues possess his fantastic imaginative powers and his ability to create characters. His subhuman and superhuman figures, tragic or comic in a macabre way, emerge from his mind with a reality that few existing people – even those nearest to us – can give us, and they move in a milieu whose odours of subtropical plants, ladies’ perfumes, Negro sweat, and the smell of horses and mules penetrate immediately even into a Scandinavian’s warm and cosy den. As a painter of landscapes he has the hunter’s intimate knowledge of his own hunting-ground, the topographer’s accuracy, and the impressionist’s sensitivity. Moreover – side by side with Joyce and perhaps even more so – Faulkner is the great experimentalist among twentieth-century novelists. Scarcely two of his novels are similar technically. It seems as if by this continuous renewal he wanted to achieve the increased breadth which his limited world, both in geography and in subject matter, cannot give him. The same desire to experiment is shown in his mastery, unrivalled among modern British and American novelists, of the richness of the English language, a richness derived from its different linguistic elements and the periodic changes in style – from the spirit of the Elizabethans down to the scanty but expressive vocabulary of the Negroes of the southern states. Nor has anyone since Meredith – except perhaps Joyce – succeeded in framing sentences as infinite and powerful as Atlantic rollers. At the same time, few writers of his own age can rival him in giving a chain of events in a series of short sentences, each of which is like a blow of a hammer, driving the nail into the plank up to the head and securing it immovably. His perfect command over the resources of the language can – and often does – lead him to pile up words and associations which try the reader’s patience in an exciting or complicated story. But this profusion has nothing to do with literary flamboyance. Nor does it merely bear witness to the abounding agility of his imagination; in all their richness, every new attribute, every new association is intended to dig deeper into the reality which his imaginative power conjures up.

Faulkner has often been described as a determinist. He himself, however, has never claimed to adhere to any special philosophy of life. Briefly, his view of life may perhaps be summed up in his own words: that the whole thing (perhaps?) signifies nothing. If this were not the case, He or They who set up the whole fabric would have arranged things differently. And yet it must mean something, because man continues to struggle and must continue to struggle until, one day, it is all over. But Faulkner has one belief, or rather one hope: that every man sooner or later receives the punishment he deserves and that self-sacrifice not only brings with it personal happiness but also adds to the sum total of the good deeds of mankind. It is a hope, the latter part of which reminds us of the firm conviction expressed by the Swedish poet Viktor Rydberg in the recitative of the Cantata presented at the Jubilee Degree Conferment at Uppsala in 1877.

Mr. Faulkner – The name of the southern state in which you were born and reared has long been well known to us Swedes, thanks to two of the closest and dearest friends of your boyhood, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain put the Mississippi River on the literary map. Fifty years later you began a series of novels with which you created out of the state of Mississippi one of the landmarks of twentieth-century world literature; novels which with their ever-varying form, their ever-deeper and more intense psychological insight, and their monumental characters – both good and evil – occupy a unique place in modern American and British fiction.

Mr. Faulkner – It is now my privilege to ask you to receive from the hands of His Majesty the King the Nobel Prize in Literature, which the Swedish Academy has awarded you.

At the banquet, Robin Fahraeus, Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, addressed the American author: Mr. William Faulkner – We heard with great pleasure that you were coming to our country to receive your Prize in person. We are indeed happy to greet you as an eminent artist, as a detached analyst of the human heart, as a great author who in a brilliant manner has enlarged man’s knowledge of himself.


The Sound and the Fury

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