William Faulkner

"The past is never dead. It's not even past."
~William Faulkner


William Faulkner was a novelist and a poet. He was born William Cuthbert Falkner in New Albany, Mississippi on September 25, 1897. His parents were Murry Cuthbert and Maud Butler Falkner (Fargnoli, et al. 67). His great-grandfather, William Clark Falkner, was the stereotypical Southern Colonel. He was a writer, railroad-builder, entrepreneur, lawyer, and a Civil War hero. He was a near legendary figure in his day (Parini. 8). Faulkner was the oldest of four boys. He dropped out of high school after the tenth grade and went to work in his grandfather's bank. In 1919, he enrolled in The University of Mississifaulkner-wedding-x.jpgppi. Here he studied French, Spanish, and English. These were the only classes that could keep his attention. However, he did so poorly in his English class that he eventually dropped it (Fargnoli, et al. 67-71). Faulkner married a woman named Estelle Oldham in 1929. Four years later their daughter Jill was born. This was his only child. During his marriage to Estelle, he began to drink heavily. In an interview Faulkner stated, "All a writer needed for his work were paper, tobacco, a little food, and whiskey" (77). His last binge started on July 5, 1962. After drinking bourbon and taking prescription pain pills, he was taken to the hospital by Estelle and his nephew. On July 6, which was his great-grandfather's birthday, his heart stopped beating (Padgett, "William Faulkner").

Influences and Motivations Behind Writing

"It is himself the Southerner is writing about, not about his environment."
~William Faulkner
William Faulkner had great admiration for his great-grandfather starting at a very young age. He was quoted as saying, "I want to be a writer like my great-granddaddy" (Mintor. 755). It is no surprise that his great-grandfather, W.C. Falkner, was a major influence for his writing. He was the inspiration for one of the major characters in several of his writings (Parini, 8). At the age of eight he entered Oxford's all-White elementary school. His teacher, Miss Annie Chandler, recognized his talents almost immediately and began giving him books as gifts. Although school was not his strong point, it was his love of reading that motivated
him to begin writing (21). By sixth grade William found himself in constant trouble. He was skipping school and inattentive in class. Instead of in the classroom, he gained his knowledge from experiences in his everyday life. Over the years he stored these memories which he later developed into the novels that we enjoy today (Fargnoli, et al. 69-70). Growing up in Mississippi was the major influence on Faulkner's writing. Most of his stories take place in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County of Mississippi (256). The tradition and history of the south are infused through all of Faulkner's writing.




If there be grief, then let it be but rain, And this but silver grief for grieving sake, If these green woods be dreaming here to wake  Within my heart, if I should rouse again.  But I shall sleep, for where is any death  While in these blue hills slumbrous over head  I’m rooted like a tree? Though I be dead,  This earth that holds me fast will find me breath. 
~William Faulkner 

William Faulkner’s earliest published work was written during his college years. It was a revision of a poem called, “L’ Apres-Midi d’un Faune.” This poem was published in his college newspaper, “The Mississippian.” During his Spring semester of 1920, a total of nine poems appeared in this publication. His poetry was greatly influenced by the poets Swinburn and Houseman. Faulkner was a romantic and this quality was reflected in his poetry. His writings were filled with melancholy, unrequited love, and the love of nature. He turned his focus from poetry to fiction, often referring to himself as a “failed poet” (Padgett. "William Faulkner on the Web"). There are many readers of his works thay would disagree with this nickname. He successfully published visioninspring.jpgsix poetry collections that are still appreciated today.

Published Poetry Collections
* Vision in Spring
* The Marble Faun
* This Earth, a Poem
* A Green Bough
* Mississippi Poems
* Helen, a Courtship [and] Mississippi Poems

Short Stories
"Yes sir. You can be more careless, you can put more trash in [a novel] and be excused for it. In a short story that’s next to the poem, almost every word has got to be almost exactly right. In the novel you can be careless but in the short story you can’t. I mean by that the good short stories like Chekhov wrote. That’s why I rate that second — it’s because it demands a nearer absolute exactitude. You have less room to be slovenly and careless. There’s less room in it for trash." ~William Faulkner 

William Faulkner wrote many short stories during his writing career. The exact number of short stories is unknown and not easy to calculate. He wrote many versions that would later incorporate into his novels. Soon after The Sound and the Fury was published William Faulkner found himself depending on his short stories being published for financial support. This took the pleasure out of writing for him, and his view of short stories was often derogatory. He was often heard referring to the process of writing short stories as “boiling the pot” because he found the writing process for short stories not as satisfying as writing novels. In a letter to Harrison Smith in 1932 William Faulkner stated, “it’s either this, or put the novel aside and go whoring again with short stories” (Padgett. "William Faulkner on the Web"). When he money and if he could not get an advance in pay, he would be forced to go back to writing short stories. Regardless of how William Faulkner felt about writing these short pieces of work, he “achieved real mastery” in writing these short stories which continued to be published long after his death (Padgett. “William Faulkner on the Web”).faulknercol.jpgPublished Short Stories
* New Orleans Sketches
* These 13
* Doctor Martino and Other Stories
* The Portable Faulkner
* Knight’s Gambit
* Collected Stories of William Faulkner
* Big Woods: The Hunting Stories
* Three Famous Short Novels
* Selected Short Stories of William Faulkner
* The Wishing Tree
* A Faulkner Miscellany
* Uncollected Stories of William Faulkner

“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.”
~William Faulkner
The year 1929 proved to be a successful and exciting year for William Faulkner. He married his dream woman, whom he wooed for nearly a decade, and also wrote four novels. The Sound and the Fury and Sartoris were both published that year. The Sound and the Fury is considered to be Faulkner’s masterpiece (umich.edu). This was the beginning of an amazing career for William Faulkner. Although he experienced many highs and lows in his life, his novels were masterpieces. Many of the playwrights for his novels were later sold for $6000, a large sum of money during the Depression. "Few other American novelists have attempted as much as he did—to tell the story of his region and of his nation, to demonstrate the often tragic inextricability of past and present, to show the human capacity for baseness and for nobility, to search for truth and meaning in a world where values seem constantly to shift and to erode" (umich.edu). Faulkner had 20 published novels in his time. The Rievers, a lighthearted novel drawing on reminiscences of his boyhood, was published only a month before Faulkner's death (William Faulkner: A Biography). All Published Novels from William Faulkner

The Sound and the Fury: The Sound and the Fury was Faulkner’s fourth novel. It is his first true masterpiece, and many consider it to be his finest work. It was Faulkner’s own favorite novel, he says, because it was his “most splendid failure.” Depicting the decline of the once-aristocratic Compson family, the novel is divided into four parts, each told by a different narrator. The first 3 sections are narrated by one of three brothers. Each one focuses on their sister, Caddy. (Padgett. “William Faulkner on the Web”).


Sartoris: Faulkner focused on his family's past and his Southern heritage for many of his short stories and novels. Sartoris was the first to show a direct relationship to his great-grandfather, W. C. Falkner. The Sartoris depict a prosperous family living in Yoknapatawpha County, a fictional county where many of his stories were set. The Old Colonel, John Sartoris, was the central character. His world was his plantation home, his slaves, and his military action in the Civil War. His son Bayard, the Young Colonel, symbolizes the changing south. The Young Colonel's grandson, Young Bayard, returns after World War I unable to live up to the standard of Southern manhood that is present in his great-grandfather. He finds that he must constantly challenge himself through reckless acts to prove that he has the courage to be a Sartoris (umich.edu).


“Prizes are foolish attempts to draw attention to the wrong writers” ~William Faulkner

In 1950, William Faulkner won the1949 Nobel Prize for Literature. Faulkner once stated that, "prizes are foolish attempts to draw attention to the wrong writers" (Parini. 327). When he was told that he had won the award, Faulkner told the reporter that he was a farmer and that he could not make the trip to Sweden. Faulkner was finally convinced by his wife that the trip would benefit his daughter Jill. On December 4tnobel2.jpgh, he and his daughter flew to Sweden so that he could accept the award (330-332). He received the Nobel Prize for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel (Nobelprize.org). Below is his acceptance speech:

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. (nobelprize.org)

Works Cited
Fargnoli, A. Nicholas and Michael Golay. William Faulkner A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. Facts On File, Inc. New York, NY. 2002. Print
Minter, David. William Faulkner: American National Biography: 7. Ed. Ernest A. Clarke. New
York: Oxford University. 1990. Print.
Padgett, John B. Sole Owner & Proprietor: The Life of William Faulkner. William Faulkner on the Web. The University of Mississippi. May 1995. Web. April 2011 http://www.mcsr.olemiss.edu/~egjbp/faulkner/faulkner.html
Parini, Jay. One Matchless Time: A Life of William Faulkner. New York, NY. Harper Collins Publishers. 2004. Print.
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1949. Nobelprize.org Web. 1 May 2011 http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1949/
“William Faulkner: Biography.” Pearsonhighered.com. Pearson. n.d. Web. 1 May, 2011.

Images Cited

Gloria Escobar’s review of Tasha Pratt's Wiki page.
One of my favorite authors of American literature is William Faulkner; you make an excellent choice. First of all I believe you didn’t notice that you have two paragraphs with the same content. The paragraph titled “Under the Influences and Motivations behind Writing” has the same content as his biography, please check. Something that I want to suggest is to find a stronger topic for your page, something that gets the reader’s attention. It would be great if you add a little bit more about his literary works and his career. William Faulkner has a lot of material to be exposed. Besides the video, don’t forget to mention about his Novel prize of literature in the content. The overall composition and organization is very good, the chronological order is great. The design is good, clear titles that easily identify each paragraph. The video make a great contribution to your page.
Don’t forget your work cited page. If you have any doubt, check in our Little Penguin Handbook for a quick review of MLA citation rules. You are missing this part in your page.
Basically, add a little more of content, correct that missing paragraph and your work is done.

Crystal Guida's review of Tasha Pratt's WIki page
I also enjoy the works of William Faulkner. I love your use of color, centering, and quotations. Larger font in the Writing section would make for easier reading. Make sure to put your interrupters in commas. Be careful of comma splices and run on sentences in your first paragraph. You have a little too much white space after your Biography section. You need more content as biographical information cannot be more than 30%. Analyze at least two more of Faulkner's works to enhance your topic and help meet the 1000 word minimum requirement. Do not forget to add a Works Cited section.

Hallie Davis’ review of Tasha Pratt’s Wiki page

Along with the missing work cited you will need to add the in text citations. I think that your use of video and pictures may help add to length of the project but for safe measure some length may be needed. I think the appearance of your page is nicely crafted. Your section titles are clearly defined. I am concerned that if you forget to work on the citing, you may have created the page for nothing since it may result in a grade of zero. With the cite additions to your page I think your page will suffice.