William Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi on September 25, 1897 and then moved to Oxford, Mississippi with his family at the age of 5. Most of the novels written by William Faulkner take place in the area in which he himself was born and raised. He renames Oxford and calls this place Jefferson, Mississippi.
Faulkner is a contemporary American author who has achieved greatness as an author. He is already considered to be one of the world’s greatest novelists and has been awarded with the Nobel Prize for literature in 1949. This is quite an achievement as it is the highest prize that can be awarded to an author. Of all of Faulkner’s achievements, “The Sound and the Fury” is considered to be one of his greatest novels.
Faulkner was part of a distinguished family in Mississippi. His name was originally spelled Falkner. The “u” was added by mistake when his first novel was published and William Falkner decided to retain the spelling of “Faulkner”.
The most distinguished member of William Faulkner’s family was his great-grandfather, Confederate Colonel William Cuthbert Falkner. The Colonel first moved to Mississippi in the early part of the 19th century from his home South Carolina. Faulkner uses Colonel Falkner as a character in his novels named Colonel John Sartoris. Colonel Falkner had a notable career as a soldier in the Civil War and the Mexican War. Colonel Falkner was also a writer like his great-grandson and published one of the nation’s best sellers called “The White Rose of Memphis”. Before being assassinated by a former partner in 1889, Colonel Falkner also took the time to build a railroad and run for public office.
Faulkner received his initial education in Oxford, however he dropped out of high school in 1915. He attempted to join the U.S. Army but was rejected for pilot training so he joined the Canadian Royal Air Force in 1918 but the war ended before he spent any time in service.
After the ending of the war, Faulkner took some classes at the University of Mississippi and spent a short time working at the university post office. The majority of his education was due to his promiscuous time he spent reading.
Faulkner had started writing poetry as a young schoolboy. In 1924, he used his own financial resources and published a collection of poetry called “The Marble Faunn”. He met Sherwood Anderson who became a close friend and Anderson fueled his literary aspirations. Faulkner wrote three novels before finishing “The Sound and the Fury” and two more the year it was finished, 1929. The same year he married Estelle Oldham, who was a sweetheart ten years earlier in his life.
Faulkner was unable to support himself financially by writing these novels so he became a screenwriter for MGM, Twentieth Century Fox, and Warner Brothers. During this time he formed a strong working relationship with director Howard Hawks, whom he worked on many films.
Faulkner became a heavy drinker which caused some problems in his personal life. He had finished all of his novels except one at this point in 1944. During the war he was discovered in the French Literary world and in the postwar period his reputation rebounded and brought him newfound attention in America. Soon after he was held as a high literary figure throughout the entire world.
Faulkner wrote seventeen books set in Yoknapatwapha County, which is a fictional setting formed in Faulkner’s imagination. This is the home of the Compson family in “The Sound and the Fury”.
In later books, Faulkner continued to explore what he considered “the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself”, and he did this in Yoknapatawpha County as it increasingly connected to the modern world.
William Faulkner is an esteemed writer of the 1900’s and proves to be so as he received the Nobel Prize for literature. William Faulkner died of a heart attack on July 6, 1962.