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An overview of the work by william faulkner an american novelist

Soon the family moved to Oxford, thirty-five miles away, where young Faulkner, although he was a voracious reader, failed to earn enough credits to be graduated from the local high school. In 1918 he enlisted as a student flyer in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

He spent a little more than a year as a special student at the state university, Ole Miss, and later worked as postmaster at the university station until he was fired for reading on the job.

  • When I finally picked up the book, I knew I held something special in my hands;
  • It involves an introduction that is actually one sentence that spans for a couple pages;
  • Poor old Dolly Haze might not have grown up very well, but Lolita forever remains a thing of timeless beauty;
  • He is perhaps also considered to be the only true American Modernist prose fiction writer of the 1930s, following in experimental tradition European writers such as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Marcel Proust, and known for using groundbreaking literary devices such as stream of consciousness, multiple narrations or points of view, and time-shifts within narrative.

A steady succession of novels followed, most of them related to what has come to be called the Yoknapatawpha saga: In 1949 Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Recently, though shy and retiring, Faulkner has traveled widely, lecturing for the United States Information Service.

This conversation took place in New York City, early in 1956. If the questions are about the work, I try to answer them.

Great Authors: William Faulkner

When they are about me, I may answer or I may not, but even if I do, if the same question is asked tomorrow, the answer may be different. The artist is of no importance.

Only what he creates is important, since there is nothing new to be said. Everybody else should be too busy with the work to care about the individuality. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible. In my opinion, if I could write all my work again, I am convinced that I would do it better, which is the healthiest condition for an artist.

Once he did it, once he matched the work to the image, the dream, nothing would remain but to cut his throat, jump off the other side of that pinnacle of perfection into suicide.

William Faulkner

And, failing at that, only then does he take up novel writing. He must never be satisfied with what he does.

  • No, it was not written by a Nobel Laureate or Pulitzer Prize winner, nor has it been around for centuries;
  • After returning home, he enrolled for a few university courses, published poems and drawings in campus newspapers, and acted out a self-dramatizing role as a poet who had seen wartime service;
  • All the wrong environment will do is run his blood pressure up; he will spend more time being frustrated or outraged.

It never is as good as it can be done. Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Try to be better than yourself. An artist is a creature driven by demons. He is completely amoral in that he will rob, borrow, beg, or steal from anybody and everybody to get the work done.

William Faulkner, American Writer: A Biography

He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one. He has a dream. It anguishes him so much he must get rid of it. He has no peace until then. Everything goes by the board: They are important only to his peace and contentment, and art has no concern with peace and contentment. If you mean me, the best job that was ever offered to me was to become a landlord in a brothel. The place is quiet during the morning hours, which is the best time of the day to work.

So the only environment the artist needs is whatever peace, whatever solitude, and whatever pleasure he can get at not too high a cost. All the wrong environment will do is run his blood pressure up; he will spend more time being frustrated or outraged. My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey.