Today in Literary History: Faulkner

On September 25, 1897, American author William Faulkner was born.  Along with Flannery O’Connor, Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, Zora Neale Hurston, Carson McCullers, and Gloria Naylor Faulkner is a prominent part of the literary tradition of the American South.  The writing of these authors surrounds the history and the culture of the United Staes, including racial relations, religion, family, community, and working the land.  If you enjoyed reading or watching Kathryn Stockett’s The Help then Southern literature is for you.  Need an idea for a creative project of your own?  Consider fictionalizing Tangier.  Many of Faulkner’s novels are set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County which is based on the real towns of Lafayette County, Mississippi and Oxford, Mississippi.

Faulkner’s advice on writing and life:

“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.  Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”

“Don’t be ‘a writer’. Be writing.”

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”

“At one time I thought the most important thing was talent. I think now that the young man or the young woman must possess or teach himself, training himself, in infinite patience, which is to try and to try until it comes right. He must train himself in ruthless intolerance—that is to throw away anything that is false no matter how much he might love that page or that paragraph. The most important thing is insight, that is to be—curiosity—to wonder, to mull, and to muse why it is —that man does what he does, and if you have that, then I don’t think the talent makes much difference, whether you’ve got it or not.”

(all selected from

Thought those quotes were insightful?  His books are even better and will make for a wonderful challenge for our Upper School students.

Faulkner in the AST Catalog:

Absalom, Absalom!As I Lay DyingThe HamletIntruder in the DustLight in AugustThe MansionRequiem for a NunSanctuarySartorisSoldier’s PayThe Sound and the Fury

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