William Faulkner



William Faulkner


William Faulkner\'s Yoknapatawpha County, with Jefferson as its county seat, is
both a mythical and actual place. Yoknapatawpha county is 2400 square miles in
area and has a population of 15,611 persons. Jefferson has an actual jail, town
square, old houses, and Old Frenchman\'s Place, even a railroad. Faulkner\'s
"Yoknapatawpha County" is in reality Lafayette County, and "Jefferson" is
actually Oxford. The Faulkner family lived there since before the Civil War.
This is where most of his stories take place. He pondered the family history
and his own personal history; and he used both in writing his stories.
(American Writers; 54)
Faulkner born in New Albany, Mississippi in 1897. In 1902 they moved to
Oxford ("Jefferson"), the seat of the University of Mississippi. His father,
Murray C. Falkner, (the u was added to the family name by the printer who set up
William\'s first book, The Marble Faun) ran a livery stable and a hardware store.
Later he became business manager of the University. Maud Butler was his mother
and Murray, John, and Dean were his three brothers. (American Writers; 55a)
Faulkner\'s great-grandfather was William C. Falkner. He was born in 1825.
He was a legendary figure in Northern Mississippi. Many details of his life
have shown up in Faulkner\'s writings. He was twice acquitted of murder charges.
He was a believer in severe discipline and was a colonel of a group of raiders
of the Civil War. He began as a poor youngster trying to take care of his
widowed mother, but ending his career as the owner of a railroad and a member of
the state legislature. He was killed by his former railroad partner shortly
after he had defeated the other for a seat in the legislature. There is a
statue of William C. Falkner facing his railroad today. (American Writers; 55b)
J. W. T. Faulkner was a lawyer, a banker, and assistant United States
attorney. He was an active member of "rise of the "rednecks"", the political
movement that gave greater suffrage to tenant farmers. The people of Oxford say
he had and explosive temper. (American Writers; 55c)
The characters Colonel Sartoris and Bayard Sartoris portray Faulkner\'s
great-grandfather and grandfather. These characters show up in many of his
stories such as Sartoris and The Unvanquished. They are a part of the Old South
legend and they play an important role in the saga of Yoknapatawpha. (American
Writers; 55d)
William was a poor student. He left highshool in the tenth grade to work
in his grandfather\'s bank. He liked to read, and wrote some poetry of his own.
He also tried painting. The towns people said he was a moody boy, and seemed as
a puzzle to them. He began a friendship with Phil Stone in 1914. Phil was a
young lawyer. This gave him a chance for literary discussions and helped
acquaint him with such rising reputations as Conrad Aiken, Robert Frost, Erza
Pound, and Sherwood Anderson. (American Writers; 55e)
William was underweight and only five feet tall. Because of this, he was
turned down by the United States Army. He did, however, join the Royal Flying
Corps in Toronto, Canada, and a cadet. On December 22, 1918, the date of
demobilization, he became an honorary second lieutenant. He was often
preoccupied with both the events and the implications of World War I, like most
other writers of his age. Many of his earlier books deal with this. (American
Writers; 55f)
As a veteran, he was allowed to enroll at the University of Mississippi.
There he studied English, Spanish, and French, but he was only in residence for
one full academic year. He took a job in a bookstore in New York City, but he
soon returned to Oxford. He did odd jobs such as a carpenter of house painter
for two years, then became postmaster at the university. He soon resigned,
saying in his letter of resignation, " I will be damned if I propose to be at
the beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a
postage stamp." This same year, 1924, The Marble Faun was publicized, a book of
poems. Stone had subsidized its publication. (American Writers; 55g)
Faulkner decided to go to Europe by means of New Orleans. Once he reached
Now Orleans, he ended up staying for six months. He wrote a few sketches for
Times-Picayune entitles "Mirrors of Charles Street," contributed to the Double
Dealer, and important "little magazine," and became friends with Sherwood
Anderson. At that time, Anderson was one of the most admired of