HomeArts & LitHappy Birthday William Faulkner!

Happy Birthday William Faulkner!

The Mississippi writer would have been 115 today. 
by Erin Z. Bass

Mississippi writer William Faulkner was born September 25, 1897. He is best known for his novels, short stories and also his screenplays for films like “The Big Sleep,” in addition to Yoknapatawpha County, the fictional setting he created for some of his works. Though Faulkner’s work was published mostly during the 1920s and 30s, he was relatively unknown until he received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949. In 1987, a postage stamp was issued in his honor, and in 1998, Modern Library ranked his 1929 novel “The Sound and the Fury” sixth on its list of the “100 Best English Language Novels of the 20th Century.” “As I Lay Dying” and “Light in August” also made the list.

Today, Faulkner is remembered for his stream of consciousness writing style, viewed as intimidating by many readers, and his love of a good drink. Since his death in 1962, Faulkner has been honored and celebrated in the literary world. Each year, the University of Mississippi at Oxford holds a Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference, and his works are still included on many a school reading list. Now that his 19 novels and 125 short stories have been made available for adaptation to HBO, and actor James Franco is working on a screen version of “As I Lay Dying,” Faulkner will hopefully reach an even wider audience and live on in American literary history.

I recently picked up a set of three of Faulkner’s best known works by Random House that date to 1956 at the library book sale. I’m excited to add them to my library of Southern literature and encourage everyone to read a bit of Faulkner this week.

Here are a few related Faulkner stories from our archives:

Top 10 References to Faulkner in Pop Culture

The Greatest Bromances in Southern Literature

Hot Toddies, Cold Nights

To find out more about Faulkner’s Mississippi haunts, including his former home of Rowan Oak and gravesite, download the Deep South Literary Trail App

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  • Kullervo / September 25, 2012

    I encourage everyone to read a bit of Faulkner every week.

  • Hunter Murphy / September 25, 2012

    Good one, Erin! I love that!

    Thanks for the bromance shout! 🙂 And of course, I’m probably partial, but I did appreciate you including the early draft of Faulkner’s Nobel Prize speech: http://pinterest.com/pin/148267012702412896/.

    Here are some great quotes of his:

    “A mule will labor ten years willingly and patiently for you, for the privilege of kicking you once. ”

    “Henry James was one of the nicest old ladies I ever met.” (heehee)

  • Hunter Murphy / September 25, 2012
  • Kullervo / September 26, 2012

    I’m getting antsy and impatient about the HBO deal. They announced it almost a year ago.