|Birth Day:||September 25, 1897|
|Death Date:||July 6, 1962(1962-07-06) (aged 64)
Byhalia, Mississippi, U.S.
|Birth Place:||New Albany, Mississippi, U.S, United States|
As per our current Database, William Faulkner died on July 6, 1962(1962-07-06) (aged 64)
Byhalia, Mississippi, U.S..
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In 1918, Faulkner's surname went from "Falkner" to Faulkner. According to one story, a careless typesetter simply made an error. When the misprint appeared on the title page of his first book, Faulkner was asked whether he wanted the change. He supposedly replied, "Either way suits me."
As a teenager in Oxford, Faulkner dated Estelle Oldham (1897–1972), the popular daughter of Major Lemuel and Lida Oldham, and believed he would some day marry her. However, Estelle dated other boys during their romance, and in 1918 one of them, Cornell Franklin, proposed marriage to her before Faulkner did. Estelle's parents insisted she marry Cornell, as he was an Ole Miss law graduate, had recently been commissioned as a major in the Hawaiian Territorial Forces, and came from a respectable family with whom they were old friends. Estelle's marriage to Franklin fell apart ten years later, and they divorced in April 1929.
In adolescence, Faulkner began writing poetry almost exclusively. He did not write his first novel until 1925. His literary influences are deep and wide. He once stated that he modeled his early writing on the Romantic era in late 18th- and early 19th-century England. He attended the University of Mississippi ("Ole Miss") in Oxford, enrolling in 1919, going three semesters before dropping out in November 1920.
Although Faulkner is identified with Mississippi, he was residing in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1925 when he wrote his first novel, Soldiers' Pay. After being directly influenced by Sherwood Anderson, he made his first attempt at fiction writing. Anderson assisted in the publication of Soldiers' Pay and Mosquitoes, Faulkner's second novel, set in New Orleans, by recommending them to his publisher.
During the summer of 1927, Faulkner wrote his first novel set in his fictional Yoknapatawpha County, titled Flags in the Dust. This novel drew heavily on the traditions and history of the South, in which Faulkner had been engrossed in his youth. He was extremely proud of the novel upon its completion and he believed it to be a significant step up from his previous two novels. However, when submitted for publication, it was rejected by the publishers Boni & Liveright. Faulkner was devastated by this rejection, but he eventually allowed his literary agent, Ben Wasson, to significantly edit the text, and the novel was published in 1929 as Sartoris. (The original version was issued as Flags in the Dust in 1973.)
In 1929, Faulkner married Estelle Oldham, Andrew Kuhn serving as best man at the wedding. Estelle brought with her two children from her previous marriage to Cornell Franklin and Faulkner hoped to support his new family as a writer. Faulkner and Estelle later had a daughter, Jill, in 1933. He began writing As I Lay Dying in 1929 while working night shifts at the University of Mississippi Power House. The novel would be published in 1930. Beginning in 1930, Faulkner sent out some of his short stories to various national magazines. Several of his stories were published, which brought him enough income to buy a house in Oxford for his family to inhabit, which he named Rowan Oak. He made money on his 1931 novel, Sanctuary, which was widely reviewed and read (but widely disliked for its perceived criticism of the South).
Two months later, Faulkner and Estelle wed in June 1929 at College Hill Presbyterian Church just outside Oxford, Mississippi. They honeymooned on the Mississippi Gulf Coast at Pascagoula, then returned to Oxford, first living with relatives while they searched for a home of their own to purchase. In 1930, Faulkner purchased the antebellum home Rowan Oak, known at that time as The Shegog Place from Irish planter Robert Shegog. After his death, Estelle and their daughter, Jill, lived at Rowan Oak until Estelle's death in 1972. The property was sold to the University of Mississippi that same year. The house and furnishings are maintained much as they were in Faulkner's day. Faulkner's scribblings are preserved on the wall, including the day-by-day outline covering a week he wrote on the walls of his small study to help him keep track of the plot twists in his novel, A Fable.
By 1932, Faulkner was in need of money. He asked Wasson to sell the serialization rights for his newly completed novel, Light in August, to a magazine for $5,000, but none accepted the offer. Then MGM Studios offered Faulkner work as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Faulkner was not an avid movie goer and had reservations about working in the movie industry. As André Bleikasten comments, he “was in dire need of money and had no idea how to get it…So he went to Hollywood.” It has been noted that authors like Faulkner were not always hired for their writing prowess but “to enhance the prestige of the …writers who hired them.” He arrived in Culver City, California, in May 1932. The job would begin a sporadic relationship with moviemaking and with California, which was difficult but he endured in order to earn “a consistent salary that would support his family back home.” As Stefan Solomon observes, Faulkner was highly critical of what he found in Hollywood, and he wrote letters that were “scathing in tone, painting a miserable portrait of a literary artist imprisoned in a cultural Babylon.” Many scholars have brought attention to the dilemma he experienced, and that the predicament had caused him serious unhappiness. In Hollywood he worked with director Howard Hawks, with whom he quickly developed a friendship, as they both enjoyed drinking and hunting. Howard Hawks' brother, William Hawks, became Faulkner's Hollywood agent. Faulkner would continue to find reliable work as a screenwriter from the 1930s to the 1950s.
When Faulkner visited Stockholm in December 1950 to receive the Nobel Prize, he met Else Jonsson (1912–1996), widow of journalist Thorsten Jonsson (1910–1950), reporter for Dagens Nyheter in New York from 1943–46, who had interviewed Faulkner in 1946 and introduced his works to Swedish readers. Faulkner and Else had an affair that lasted until the end of 1953. At the banquet where they met in 1950, publisher Tor Bonnier introduced Else as the widow of the man responsible for Faulkner's winning the prize.
He donated part of his Nobel money "to establish a fund to support and encourage new fiction writers", eventually resulting in the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and donated another part to a local Oxford bank, establishing a scholarship fund to help educate African-American teachers at Rust College in nearby Holly Springs, Mississippi. The government of France made Faulkner a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur in 1951.
Faulkner was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes for what are considered "minor" novels: his 1954 novel A Fable, which took the Pulitzer in 1955, and the 1962 novel, The Reivers, which was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer in 1963. (The award for A Fable was a controversial political choice. The jury had selected Milton Lott's The Last Hunt for the prize, but Pulitzer Prize Administrator Professor John Hohenberg convinced the Pulitzer board that Faulkner was long overdue for the award, despite A Fable being a lesser work of his, and the board overrode the jury's selection, much to the disgust of its members.) He also won the U.S. National Book Award twice, for Collected Stories in 1951 and A Fable in 1955. In 1946 he was one of three finalists for the first Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Award and placed second to Rhea Galati.
In an interview with The Paris Review in 1956, Faulkner remarked:
Faulkner served as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville from February to June 1957 and again in 1958.
On June 17, 1962, Faulkner suffered a serious injury in a fall from his horse, which led to thrombosis. He suffered a fatal heart attack on July 6, 1962, at the age of 64, at Wright's Sanatorium in Byhalia, Mississippi. Faulkner is buried with his family in St. Peter's Cemetery in Oxford, alongside the grave of an unidentified family friend, whose stone is marked only with the initials "E.T."
The United States Postal Service issued a 22-cent postage stamp in his honor on August 3, 1987. Faulkner had once served as Postmaster at the University of Mississippi, and in his letter of resignation in 1923 wrote:
Southeast Missouri State University, where the Center for Faulkner Studies is located, also owns a generous collection of Faulkner materials, including first editions, manuscripts, letters, photographs, artwork, and many materials pertaining to Faulkner's time in Hollywood. The university possesses many personal files and letters kept by Joseph Blotner, along with books and letters that once belonged to Malcolm Cowley, another famous editor for William Faulkner. The university achieved the collection due to a generous donation by Louis Daniel Brodsky, a collector of Faulkner materials, in 1989.
On October 10, 2019, a Mississippi Writers Trail historical marker was installed at Rowan Oak in Oxford, Mississippi honoring the contributions of William Faulkner to the American literary landscape.
Currently, William Faulkner is 125 years, 4 months and 9 days old. William Faulkner will celebrate 126th birthday on a Monday 25th of September 2023.
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