Back William Faulkner

William Faulkner

William Faulkner in Hollywood, CA, early 1940s. (Alfred Eriss/Pix Inc./The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Major works:
The Sound and the FuryAs I Lay DyingLight in AugustAbsalom, Absalom!If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem (The Wild Palms) • “A Rose for Emily” • “The Bear”

“Yoknapatawpha County—‘William Faulkner, sole owner and proprietor,’ as he inscribed on one of the maps he drew—has a population of 15,611 persons scattered over 2,400 square miles. It sometimes seems to me that every house or hovel has been described in one of Faulkner’s novels, and that all the people of the imaginary county, black and white, townsmen, farmers, and housewives, have played their parts in one connected story.”
—Malcolm Cowley

“[T]he presence alone of Faulkner in our midst makes a great difference in what the writer can and cannot permit himself to do. Nobody wants his mule and wagon stalled on the same track the Dixie Limited is roaring down.”
—Flannery O’Connor

“If the experiences of Walter Mitty, of Dick Diver, of Rabbit Angstrom have seemed for the moment real to countless readers, if in reading Faulkner we have almost the sense of inhabiting Yoknapatawpha County during the decline of the South, it is because the details used are definite, the terms concrete.”—E. B. White, The Elements of Style

Read an excerpt from

As I Lay Dying

William Faulkner

When we enter the room she is watching the door. She looks at me. Her eyes look like lamps blaring up just before the oil is gone. “She wants you to go out,” the girl says.

“Now, Addie,” Anse says, “when he come all the way from Jefferson to git you well?” She watches me: I can feel her eyes. It’s like she was shoving at me with them. I have seen it before in women. Seen them drive from the room them coming with sympathy and pity, with actual help, and clinging to some trifling animal to whom they never were more than pack-horses. That’s what they mean by the love that passeth understanding: that pride, that furious desire to hide that abject nakedness which we bring here with us, carry with us into operating rooms, carry stubbornly and furiously with us into the earth again. I leave the room. Beyond the porch Cash’s saw snores steadily into the board. A minute later she calls his name, her voice harsh and strong.

“Cash,” she says; “you, Cash!”

Read a passage from As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
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