[WORLDKINGS] Journey to seek extraordinary record holders around the world (P.69) – William Faulkner: American writer who won Nobel Prize for his creativity and humanity.

11-09-2020

(WorldKings.org) William Faulkner, in full William Cuthbert Faulkner (1897-1962) was an American novelist and short-story writer who was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Born in New Albany, Mississippi, Faulkner soon moved with his parents to nearby Ripley and then to the town of Oxford, the seat of Lafayette county, where his father later became business manager of the University of Mississippi. In Oxford he experienced the characteristic open-air upbringing of a Southern white youth of middle-class parents. A reluctant student, he left high school without graduating but devoted himself to “undirected reading,” first in isolation and later under the guidance of Phil Stone, a family friend who combined study and practice of the law with lively literary interests and was a constant source of current books and magazines.

In July 1918, impelled by dreams of martial glory and by despair at a broken love affair, Faulkner joined the British Royal Air Force (RAF) as a cadet pilot under training in Canada, although the November 1918 armistice intervened before he could finish ground school, let alone fly or reach Europe. 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.

In 1924, Phil Stone escorted a collection of Faulkner’s poetry, The Marble Faun, to a publisher. Shortly after its 1,000-copy run, Faulkner moved to New Orleans. While there, he published several essays for The Double Dealer, a local magazine that served to unite and nurture the city’s literary crowd. In 1926, Faulkner succeeded in having his first novel published, Soldiers' Pay. As soon as it had been accepted for print in 1925, he sailed from New Orleans to Europe to live for a few months at Le Grand Hôtel des Principautés Unies in Paris. During his stay, he wrote about the Luxembourg Gardens that were a short walk from his apartment.

Back in Louisiana, American writer Sherwood Anderson, who had become a friend, gave Faulkner some advice: He told the young author to write about his native region of Mississippi — a place that Faulkner surely knew better than northern France. Inspired by the concept, Faulkner began writing about the places and people of his childhood, developing a great many colorful characters based on real people he had grown up with or heard about. For his famous 1929 novel, The Sound and the Fury, he developed the fictional Yoknapatawpha County — a place nearly identical to Lafayette County, in which Oxford, Mississippi, is located. A year later, in 1930, Faulkner released As I Lay Dying.

Faulkner became known for his faithful and accurate dictation of Southern speech. He also boldly illuminated social issues that many American writers left in the dark, including slavery, the "good old boys" club and Southern aristocracy. In 1931, after much deliberation, Faulkner decided to publish Sanctuary, a story that focused on the rape and kidnapping of a young woman at Ole Miss. It shocked and appalled some readers, but it was a commercial success and a critical breakthrough for his career. Personally, Faulkner experienced both elation and soul-shocking sadness during this time in his career. 

Faulkner's next novel, Light in August (1932), tells the story of Yoknapatawpha County outcasts. In it, he introduces his readers to Joe Christmas, a man of uncertain racial makeup; Joanna Burden, a woman who supports voting rights for blacks and later is brutally murdered; Lena Grove, an alert and determined young woman in search of her baby's father; and Rev. Gail Hightower, a man besieged by visions.

One of Faulkner's greatest professional moments came when he was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, receiving the award the following year. The committee deemed him one of the most important writers of American letters. This attention brought him more awards, including the National Book Award for Fiction for Collected Stories and the Legion of Honor in New Orleans. He also won the 1951 National Book Award for The Collected Stories of William Faulkner. A few years later, Faulkner was awarded the 1955 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction along with another National Book Award for his novel A Fable, set in France during WWI. 

According to biography.com and Britannica.com


Mihan (Collect and edit) (World Records Union - WorldKings.org)

 

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