William Faulkner

Early Life

William Faulkner, the renowned American author, was born on September 25, 1897, in Mississippi. His father, Murry Cuthbert Falkner, was a businessman, and his mother, Maud Butler, was a homemaker. After his birth, the family relocated to Ripley, Mississippi, where his father took over his grandfather’s business. Later, they moved again to Oxford, where his father established a successful business, securing a bright future for the family. His artistic grandmother and well-read mother, who had a profound influence on his young and imaginative mind shaped Faulkner’s formative years.


William Faulkner’s early education began at home, where his mother and grandmother, both passionate readers, painters, and photographers, instilled in him a love for reading and visual expression. They introduced him to classics like Grimms’ Fairy Tales and Charles Dickens. Despite his evident intelligence, he didn’t graduate from high school. Despite his best efforts to fit in at school, he struggled to adapt. Eventually, he left school and found employment at his grandfather’s bank.

Personal Life

While in Oxford, William Faulkner fell in love with Estelle Oldham, the daughter of a military man. Despite their mutual affection, she initially married someone chosen by her father. However, that union proved short-lived, and in 1929, they reunited and got married just two months after her previous marriage ended. This time, their love endured, and they had a daughter together, forming a new chapter in Faulkner’s personal life.


William Faulkner, the celebrated author, faced a tragic twist in his life on June 17, 1962, when he fell from his horse, sustaining severe injuries. Following a period of recovery, he tragically passed away from a severe heart attack on July 6, 1962. His final resting place is St. Peter’s Cemetery in Oxford, marking the end of an era for the literary world.

Some Important Facts about Him

  1. He was awarded Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949.
  2. He won two National Book Awards and two Pulitzer Prizes.
  3. In his writing, he took inspiration from famous authors hailing from Scotland and England, like A., and began to imitate their styles. E. Housman, A. C. Swinburne, and Robert Burns,
  4. His novel, Sanctuary, was adopted into films twice; first in 1933 and later in 1961.

His Career

William Faulkner embarked on his writing journey in 1919 when he contributed to the student newspaper, The Mississippian, which quickly garnered him recognition. This early exposure set the stage for his future publications. In 1924, he released the well-received collection of short stories, “The Marble Faun.” Building on this success, he contributed essays to a local magazine, further enhancing his reputation. His debut novel, “Soldiers’ Pay,” made its debut in 1925. Faulkner’s notable works, including “The Sound and the Fury,” “As I Lay Dying,” “Requiem for a Nun,” and “Sanctuary,” solidified his status as a prominent author in the literary world.

His Style

Renowned American writer William Faulkner is celebrated for his distinctive and experimental writing style, characterized by impressive diction, meticulous character development, and intricate sentence structures. He captivates his readers by presenting multiple character voices from unique perspectives. In his short stories, he combines cerebral, emotional, and complex writing with Gothic elements. His novels cover a wide array of themes, including issues of class, history, racism, modernism, and generational divides, appealing to a diverse range of readers. Faulkner employs various literary devices, such as dark imagery, foreshadowing, rhetorical tools, symbolism, and metaphors to enrich his narratives. His work explores themes like tradition, class distinctions, family values, cultural conflicts, the potential for evil in humanity, the clash between primitivism and civilization, and the relationship between nature and transcendentalism.

Some Important Works of William Faulkner

  • Best Works: Some of his best pieces include The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary, Light in August and Go Down, Moses including the celebrated work, The Sound and Fury.

William Faulkner’s Impact on Future Literature

William Faulkner’s impact on future literature is substantial and enduring. His works beautifully encompass the intricate facets of the dark history and the intrinsic beauty of the rural American South. The University of Mississippi deserves recognition for preserving his legacy by housing his manuscripts, correspondence, and papers, allowing fans and researchers to gain insight into the author’s perspectives on life. Even today, aspiring writers view him, along with Hemingway, as a role model when embarking on their writing careers, ensuring that Faulkner’s influence continues to shape the world of literature for generations to come.

Important Quotes

  1. “…I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire…I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.” (The Sound and the Fury)
  2. “Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.” (The Sound and the Fury)
  3. “He had a word, too. Love, he called it. But I had been used to words for a long time. I knew that that word was like the others: just a shape to fill a lack; that when the right time came, you wouldn’t need a word for that any more than for pride or fear….One day I was talking to Cora. She prayed for me because she believed I was blind to sin, wanting me to kneel and pray too, because people to whom sin is just a matter of words, to them salvation is just words too.” (As I Lay Dying)