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Who is William Faulkner?

By Kathy Hawkins
Updated May 23, 2024
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William Faulkner is an American fiction writer whose work is deeply rooted in the Southern United States, particularly in his home state of Mississippi. William Faulkner, who lived from 1897 to 1962, had a unique, stream-of-consciousness writing style and was far more experimental with his texts than many of his fellow writers were. Though relatively unknown for much of his career, Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949. Today, William Faulkner is considered to be one of America's greatest Southern writers, along with Mark Twain.

During his lifetime, William Faulkner had a prolific career, writing a wide range of books, stories, and poems; he also worked as a Hollywood screenwriter during the 1930s, and wrote the screenplay for Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep, among others. Some of William Faulkner's best known works include the novels Light In August, As I Lay Dying, and The Sound and the Fury, along with the short story, A Rose for Emily. Many of William Faulkner's works are commonly taught to students in high school or college classes.

When William Faulkner won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949, he decided to donate the proceeds from the award to a new fund that went to support young fiction writers. The offshoot of this fund is now called the PEN/Faulkner award; the winner of the award is determined to have written the best fiction book for that year, and is awarded $15,000 US Dollars (USD). The award's second place winner receives $5,000 USD.

Throughout his life, William Faulkner was known to be a reclusive and private man, who did not appreciate the attentions he received from fans. Many sources indicate that William Faulkner was also an alcoholic. In his later years, William Faulkner took on more responsibility as a public figure, and regularly began to appear at government-sponsored State Dinners. He also publicly spoke out against the segregation of blacks and whites.

In 1962, William Faulkner fell off of his horse, and needed to be hospitalized. He requested that his family take him to a sanitarium, where he had stayed before, though always against his will. This time, he died of a heart attack, less than eight hours after being admitted.

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Discussion Comments
By anon80766 — On Apr 28, 2010

this helped me a lot.

By darlingdork — On Feb 18, 2009

What would be a good analysis of theme for Faulkner's A Rose for Emily?

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