Remembering William Faulkner
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of William Faulkner. The writer’s hometown of Oxford, Mississippi, is remembering him with a marathon reading of his final novel at Rowan Oak, keynote addresses in the courthouse and a screening of “The Reivers” at The Lyric Theater tonight. We decided to mark the occasion with a list of some of the best Faulkner mentions in pop culture. For an author whose work still challenges so many readers and even authors themselves, Faulkner is still a household name, especially in the South. For more on the events in Oxford, click here.
Top 10 References to Faulkner in Pop Culture
Compiled by Alex DeJoy, University of Mississippi student and Deep South intern
1. Actor James Franco is working on a film version of “As I Lay Dying.” News on the film has been scarce, but Franco has mentioned wanting to cast Joaquin Phoenix. We’re wondering if he’s going to stay true to the book and cast 15 narrators.
2. In Woody Allen’s 2011 award-winning film “Midnight in Paris,” Inez, played by Rachel McAdams, tells Gil, played by Owen Wilson, to stop living in the past. His response is,”The past is never dead. It’s not even past. And you know who said that? William Faulkner! I met him the other night, too.”
3. In Tim McGraw’s song, “Southern Voice,” from his 2009 album of the same name, the opening line goes: “Hank Williams sang it, Number 3 drove it, Chuck Berry twanged it, Will Faulkner wrote it.”
4. The Coen brothers’ 1991 film “Barton Fink” features a Southern writer who has a strong resemblance to William Faulkner. Like Faulkner, Barton Fink has a heavy drinking problem and goes to Hollywood to try and earn enough money to live.
5. While in Hollywood, Faulkner wrote screenplays for timeless movies like “The Big Sleep,” starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and “The Long, Hot Summer,” with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.
6. Heavy metal band As I Lay Dying gets its namesake from the popular Faulkner novel. According to the band, there is no correlation between the band and the book title, they just really liked the way it sounded.
7. Founded by Faulkner’s niece, the Faux Faulkner Contest was held 16 times by Yoknapatawpha Press until 2005. Each year, people from around the world would submit stories to parody Faulkner’s writing style in 500 words or less.
8. On a 2001 episode of “The Family Guy,” Brian moves to Hollywood to become a famous screenwriter. When his family visits, he takes them to a restaurant called Musso & Frank’s for dinner and says, “Ya know, Musso & Frank’s is famous. See that bar over there? Great writers like Hemingway and Faulkner drank there.”
10. Faulkner is quoted in the classic 1980s film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” when the assistant principal consoles Ferris’s girlfriend over the death of her grandmother by saying, “Between grief and nothing, I’ll take grief.”
Honorable Mention: Hunter Murphy included Isaac “Ike” McCaslin and General Compson in Faulkner’s “Go Down, Moses” in his list of “The Greatest Bromances in Literature” for us earlier this year.
Literary News & Blogs
Mental Floss lists The Early Jobs of 24 Famous Writers. Do you know what John Grisham did to earn a dollar an hour before becoming famous for his legal thrillers?
Flannery O’Connor’s home of Milledgeville, Georgia, was listed in Garden & Gun as one of the South’s “most creative small towns.”
Getting Married with The Great Gatsby in Book Riot.
GalleyCat’s Wal-Mart Converted into a Library about MS&R Architecture in McAllen Texas’s conversion of an old Wal-Mart into the country’s largest single-story library (pictured on the right).
The Library of Congress’s Books That Shaped America, including “Gone With the Wind, “Native Son,” “The Sound and the Fury,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and several other Southern favorites.
How William Faulkner Tackled Race – and Freed the South From Itself from The New York Times Magazine.
The Writing Space(s) of Kimberly Brock on She Reads. “The River Witch” author talks about writing in her dreams, on napkins in the carpool line and on the back of a bulletin in church in this beautifully written post.
Thanks to Tonya’s Writing Cottage for posting about winning a copy of “Alligator Lake” in our Summer Book Giveaway!
Sr. Rose Pacatte posted on her blog about our report of the Flannery O’Connor recording discovered in Lafayette in January. We’ve got dates and details on the O’Connor symposium being planned for November here coming very soon!
Birmingham Public Library’s exhibit, “Eudora Welty – Exposures and Reflections,” includes 40 photographs and excerpts from the Mississippi author’s short stories and novels, on display through July 20 on the fourth floor.
Mary Kay Andrews will answer questions and sign copies of “Spring Fever” at the Literacy Guild and GJ Ford Bookshop on St. Simon’s Island today and in Savannah at E. Shaver Booksellers July 7.
Kimberly Brock will sign copies of “The River Witch” at Malaprop’s in Asheville, North Carolina, July 14 at 7 p.m., accompanied by special guests Erika Marks (author of “Little Gale Gumbo”) and Anna Kline & the Grits And Soul Band.
Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is offering a “Summer Ticket Special” of $395, which includes a VIP all-access pass to next year’s event March 20-24. A $500 value, the pass includes access to literary panels, master classes, theater events, musical performances, culinary presentations and private parties. Offer ends August 31.
New in Southern Voice
Don’t miss the Literary Friday Pinterest board here. And to find out more about Southern authors like Faulkner and the places he frequented, download the Deep South Literary Trail App and literally follow in their footsteps.