2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 12:28
William Faulkner is a famous American writer, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. He received the most prestigious award for a writer in 1949. His most famous works are the novels The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!, The Defiler of Ashes, the collections of short stories The King's Gambit, The Great Woods, New Orleans Essays.
Childhood and youth
William Faulkner was born in 1897. He was born in the small town of New Albany in the United States in the state of Mississippi. His father was a business manager at the university, his name was Murray Charles Faulkner. The hero of our article was well known to his contemporaries, his grandfather, William, who during the years of the Civil War sided with the Confederates, wrote a popular novel at that time called "The White Rose of Memphis".
When William Faulkner was still young, his family moved tonorth of the state to the city of Oxford. There the writer spent almost his entire life. It is noteworthy that he was self-taught, did not finish his studies in high school, and after that he was exclusively self-educated, from time to time he attended open lectures at the University of Mississippi.
To the front
In 1918, a personal tragedy occurred in the life of William Faulkner. A girl named Estelle Oldham, with whom he had been in love since childhood, preferred another to him. The frustrated hero of our article decided to volunteer for the front, while the First World War was going on. But he was not taken to the active army for several reasons, one of which turned out to be still too small. He was only 166 centimeters.
So he enlisted in the Canadian Royal Air Force, for which his small stature, on the contrary, turned out to be a plus. Faulkner entered the British Army flying school, which was located in Toronto. But the First World War ended before he completed his initial training.
After that, Faulkner returned to his native Oxford, still attended open lectures at the University of Mississippi, but soon abandoned them completely.
In 1919 he made his full-fledged literary debut. He managed to publish the poem "Midday rest of a faun". In 1924, William Faulkner's first book was published - it was a collection of poems "The Marble Faun".
In 1925, an important event happened in his life - an acquaintance with the writer SherwoodAnderson in New Orleans. He recommended that the hero of our article pay more attention to prose, not poetry, since his stories are more original. Anderson also suggested writing about what he knows best - the American South, a specific piece of land the size of a postage stamp, as he figuratively put it.
Soon, the writer William Faulkner invented a new county in Mississippi called Yoknapatotha, where he placed most of the heroes of his works. These novels and stories build into a Yoknopathof saga that becomes the original history of the American South, from the time of the first white settlers in these places, when the Indians still lived here, ending with the middle of the 20th century.
An important place in the novels of William Faulkner is the theme of the Civil War. The southerners suffered a crushing defeat in it, which was greatly experienced by several more generations of Americans living in these states. The heroes of the Faulkner saga are several families - de Spain, Snopes, Sartoris, Compsons, as well as other residents of this fictional family.
They wander from one work to another, turn for readers into old acquaintances, real people, about whose life each time you manage to learn something new and interesting.
William Faulkner's first novel, which brought him fame, was the novel "Sartoris", published in 1929.
It details the aristocraticMississippi families that are in decline that followed the American Civil War in those states. Interestingly, it was originally released in an abbreviated version, only in 1973 it was published without cuts under the title "Flags in the Dust". The prototype for one of the main characters of the novel, Colonel John Sartoris, was the great-grandfather of the writer William Faulkner.
The action in the novel takes place immediately after the end of the First World War. The Sartoris live in the glory of John Sartoris, who built the first railway through Yoknapatofu.
The Sound and the Fury
In 1929 a new novel by William Faulkner is published. His best work is considered "The Sound and the Fury", which at first did not have commercial success for a long time. Popularity came to Faulkner only in 1931, when his "Sanctuary" came out.
The novel uses several storytelling styles, including the stream-of-consciousness technique pioneered by Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.
The action of this work takes place in the town of Jefferson in Mississippi. The main storyline tells about the extinction and disintegration of a large aristocratic Compson family living in the American South. The novel describes the events of about thirty years, during which the main characters face financial ruin, lose respect in the city and even their religious faith. Many tragically die.
The novel consists of four parts, which are interconnected by a largethe number of identical episodes that are shown from different points of view, placing emphasis on different events and topics. The non-linear structure of the narrative makes it difficult to perceive the presentation. It is interesting that at first the author uses italics to help the reader understand when the transition from memories from the past to the events of the present takes place, but then he stops using this technique as well. It is known that initially he even wanted to use different printing ink, separating one episode from another. As a result, transitions often become so confusing and abrupt that it becomes very difficult for an inattentive reader.
The first part of the novel "The Sound and the Fury" is written from the perspective of Benjamin Compson, a mentally handicapped man who is 33 years old. The reader does not manage to understand the features of his disease, apparently, he has mental retardation. Benjy's narration is consistently characterized by frequent and inconsistent chronological jumps.
The second part is dedicated to his older brother Quentin, including the events leading up to his suicide. The third part is written from the perspective of Quentin's younger brother, the cynical Jason. And in the fourth and final part of the work, Faulkner introduces the image of an objective author-observer, dedicating her to one of the dark-skinned servants of the Compson family, whose name is Dilsey. It contains references to the thoughts and actions of all family members.
The release of the new novel coincided with Faulkner's marriage to Estelle Oldham, waiting forshe divorced her first husband. They had two daughters. Jill and Alabama, who died in infancy. It is worth noting that Faulkner's works were very popular with critics, but not with readers, who considered him too complicated and too unusual.
Cooperation with Hollywood
With the advent of a family, the hero of our article had a need to earn more money than before. Therefore, he took up writing scripts for Hollywood films. In 1932, he even signed a contract with the well-known film company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. According to him, he received $ 500 a week, which was solid money at that time.
Faulkner's duties included writing original dialogues and plots, adapting and reworking existing scripts. The writer considered this work as a way to earn money, which would allow him to seriously concentrate on serious literature.
Colleagues remember the hero of our article as a very obstinate screenwriter, who also often went home. But with all this, he treated his work as conscientiously as possible, striking those around him with his efficiency. So, the standard norm for Hollywood screenwriters was to write 5 pages in one working day, Faulkner managed to write 35 pages in the same time.
His collaboration with Hollywood eventually stretched for a decade and a half. From 1932 to 1946, he supplied directors with his scripts, especially his collaborations with Howard Hawks.
Parallel it likeand planned initially, continued to work on his works. According to readers and authoritative literary critics about William Faulkner, his most amazing works belong to this period. These are "Light in August", "Wild Palms", "Undefeated", "The Village", "Absalom, Absalom!", a novel in short stories "Come down, Moses", which included the famous story "The Bear".
Faulkner's 1936 novel "Absalom, Absalom!" already at the beginning of the 21st century, it was recognized in America as the best work of the south of the USA of all time. It tells about three families for quite a long time - before, during and after the Civil War.
The main story is dedicated to the fate of Thomas Sutpen, who came to Mississippi to get rich and build a patriarchal family. Reading this work is made difficult by the fact that the events in it do not develop in chronological order, you can often find contradictions in the details, a description of the same situation from different points of view. Thanks to this technique, the character and personality of Sutpen can be revealed from all sides.
Nobel Prize Award
The longtime American writer gained worldwide recognition in 1949 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Swedish academicians appreciated his significant artistic contribution to the developmentcontemporary American novel.
Throughout his work, he repeatedly noted how important it is to explore the history and fate of one particular family, because in reality we know so little about the people who surround us, even about those whom we consider the closest in our lives. Here is one of William Faulkner's quotes:
Man knows so little about his fellow man. In his eyes, all men - or women - act from motives that would move them if he were mad enough to act like another man - or woman.
It was after the Nobel Prize was awarded that Faulkner's novels became popular in Europe as well.
In 1962, Faulkner dies at the age of 64.
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