Presentation on theme: "William Faulkner Born in New Albany, Mississippi on September 25 th 1897 Attended the University of Mississippi for three semesters before he dropped out."— Presentation transcript:
William Faulkner Born in New Albany, Mississippi on September 25 th 1897 Attended the University of Mississippi for three semesters before he dropped out. Joined the British Royal Flying Corps. First novel (Soldiers' Pay) was published in 1926 Wrote screenplays for MGM studios between 1932-1933. Served as the Writer-in- Residence for the University of Virginia in 1957. Died from a heart attack on July 6, 1962
Major Works Soldiers’ Pay (1926) The Sound and the Fury (1929) As I Lay Dying (1930) Light in August (1932) Absalom, Absalom! (1936) The Reivers (1962)* won the Pulitzer Prize in ‘63
Personality Somewhat private though very confrontational in the press. Alcoholic adulterer Irreverent Saw himself as an artist/southerner Paris Review Interview (Spring 1956)
Writing Style Poetic prose: “I'm a failed poet. Maybe every novelist wants to write poetry first, finds he can't, and then tries the short story, which is the most demanding form after poetry. And, failing at that, only then does he take up novel writing.” Early Poem: “A Poplar” Why do you shiver there Between the white river and the road? You are not cold. With the sun light dreaming about you; And yet you lift your pliant supplicating arms as though To draw clouds from the sky to hide your slenderness. You are a young girl Trembling in the throes of ecstatic modesty, A white objective girl Whose clothes have been forcibly taken away from her.
Influences Joyce: “The two great men in my time were Mann and Joyce. You should approach Joyce's Ulysses as the illiterate Baptist preacher approaches the Old Testament: with faith.” The Bible Cervantes: “Don Quixote — I read that every year, as some do the Bible.” Map of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha county Map of Joyce’s Dublin in Ulysses
Significance Experimentation with writing: stream of consciousness technique. Wrote about dark subject matter in a dignified manner: alcoholism, grotesque violence and brutality, familial conflict, incest, nihilism, racism, rape, etc..
Criticism Harold Bloom: “Faulkner has become, rightly, our canonical novelist in this century, clearly our strongest author of prose fiction since the death of Henry James.” Ralph Ellison: “For all his concern with the South, Faulkner was actually seeking out the nature of man. Thus we must turn to him for that continuity of moral purpose which made for the greatness of our classics.” Bruce F. Kawin (on Faulkner’s screenplays): “Some of which [are] terrible by any standard.” Box O’ Hemingway Hemingway: “Faulkner has the most talent of anybody but hard to depend on because he goes on writing after he is tired and seems as though he never threw away the worthless. --- Faulkner: “Hemingway—he has no courage, has never climbed out on a limb. He has never used a word where a reader might check his usage by a dictionary.” Hemingway: “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don't know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.”
Nobel Speech PrizeNobel Speech Prize (1950) Ladies and gentlemen, I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work - a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing. Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands. Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.
Works Cited Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Views: William Faulkner. New York: Chelsea House, 1986. Print. Cowley, Malcolm. The Faulkner-Cowley File: Letters and Memories, 1944-1962. New York: Penguin, 1966. Print. Faulkner, William. Absalom, Absalom! New York: Vintage International, 1986. Print. Faulkner, William. William Faulkner: Early Prose and Poetry. Comp. Carvel Collins. Boston: Atlantic Monthly, 1962. Print. Faulkner, William, and James B. Meriwether. Essays, Speeches, and Public Letters by William Faulkner. New York: Random House, 1965. Print. Irwin, John T. "Doubling and Incest." Bloom's Modern Critical Views: William Faulkner. New York: Chelsea House, 1986. 115-42. Print. Kawin, Bruce F. Faulkner's MGM Screenplays. Knoxville: University of Tennessee, 1982. Print. Scarff, Arthur B. A Faulkner Chronology. Trans. Michel Gresset. Oxford: University of Mississippi, 1985. Print. Stein, Jean. "Interview: William Faulkner, The Art of Fiction No.12." The Paris Review 12 (1956). The Paris Review. Web. 3 Feb. 2011..