Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Faulkner: Rise and Fall

Liukkonen states that William Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1949 with a different type of style which is not very easy to grasp and is considered to have connections to European literary modernism. His sentences are long and at times he withholds important details referring to people or events that the reader will not learn about until further into the story. After dropping out of college, Faulkner began writing which many scholars believed his early works resembled the likes of Keats, Tennyson, Swinburne, and the fin-de-si├Ęcle English poetry (Liukkonen). His early works were not considered a success. After Faulkner wrote a set of fifteen novels in 1929 based in Yoknapatawpha County, a fictional region of Mississippi, he then wrote “The Sound and the Fury” which many consider to be Faulkner’s first masterwork in 1929. After a few more novels, Faulkner then wrote “As I Lay Dying” in 1930 which only took six weeks and is consistently ranked among the best novels of the 20th century in literature. By 1945 Faulkner’s novels were out of print so he then moved to Hollywood to write movie scripts. As his career in writing began to fall, in 1946 Faulkner began his second period of success with “The Portable Faulkner”. But after many years of hard drinking his physique and mental state seemed to begin to weaken the great author. "When I have one martini I feel bigger, wiser, taller," he confessed. "When I have a second I feel superlative. After that there's no holding me." Besides problems with alcohol his wife's drug addiction and declining health shadowed his life. "I will always believe that my first responsibility is to the artist, the work," he wrote in a letter; "it is terrible that my wife does not realize or at least accept that" (Liukkonen). In 1962 after being thrown from a horse, Faulkner died of a coronary occlusion on July 6th of 1962.

Sources:

Liukkonen, Petri. “William (Cuthbert) Faulkner (1897-1962).” Books and Writers. 2008. March 25, 2010 .

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