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William Faulkner

(1897-1962)

from "Fields of Vision by D.Delaney”

 Life

Military service and university William Faulkner grew up in the Southern town of Oxford, Mississippi. After dropping out of high school he joined the Canadian and later the British Royal Air Force during the First World War, but was never involved directly in battle. In 1919, under a special provision for war veterans, he briefly studied at the University of Mississippi, then worked in a bookstore in New York and for a New Orleans newspaper.

Paris In 1925 Faulkner briefly lived near Paris but did not mix with the intellectual circle of expatriates.

Success and fame Back in the States, Faulkner married and, because he was short of money, drifted through several jobs and wrote stories and essays purely for financial gain. When he started exploring the Southern environment and culture he was so familiar with, he produced the novels that finally won him unconditional acclaim. His masterpiece, The Sound and the Fury, published in 1929, was followed by a series of equally successful novels that won him two Pulitzer Prizes and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949.

Life on a farm Apart from some trips to Europe and Asia, and some brief stays in Hollywood as a scriptwriter, Faulkner lived for the rest of his life on a farm in his hometown of Oxford and in Virginia. He died in 1962 of a heart attack.

Works

Yoknapatawpha cycle Faulkner is best known for the series of novels he wrote that constitute the "Yoknapatawpha cycle”, a saga spanning almost a century and a half and recounting the life of the inhabitants of a fictional Mississippi County, Yoknapatawpha. The unifying theme of the work is the decadence of the old South, with the dissolution of traditional values and the emergence to prominent positions in the community of people whose only value is money. Moral decay, and the devastating effects of racial prejudice are also explored.

Main works Faulkner’s best works include The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying (1930), Light in August (1932), Absalom, Absalom! (1936), The Hamlet (1940), Intruder in the Dust (1948) and Requiem for a Nun (1951). He was also a prolific short-story writer (These 13 and Big Woods, published in 1931 and 1955 respectively). Some of the short stories belong to the Yoknapatawpha saga and include the same characters and themes as the novels.

Style Faulkner’s style is highly symbolic and richly descriptive. Events are often recounted through interior monologues. His most accomplished work, The Sound and the Fury, makes extensive use of this technique. Innovative in style and structure, the novel portrays the moral and social decline of a family in a four-part framework, with each section told by a different narrator. Faulkner’s psychological analysis and successful stylistic experimentation make him an author who, building on a strictly local tradition, was able to create works of universal value.

External Links:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Faulkner   
 
 
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