William Faulkner and his contribution to world literature | Статья в сборнике международной научной конференции

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Рубрика: 4. Художественная литература

Опубликовано в

II международная научная конференция «Актуальные проблемы филологии» (Краснодар, февраль 2016)

Дата публикации: 10.02.2016

Статья просмотрена: 2655 раз

Библиографическое описание:

Идиева, Л. И. William Faulkner and his contribution to world literature / Л. И. Идиева. — Текст : непосредственный // Актуальные проблемы филологии : материалы II Междунар. науч. конф. (г. Краснодар, февраль 2016 г.). — Краснодар : Новация, 2016. — С. 54-56. — URL: https://moluch.ru/conf/phil/archive/177/9651/ (дата обращения: 19.05.2022).


William Faulkner is one of the famous American realist writers. His works have their own place not only in American, but also in world literature. In this chapter information about William Faulkner and his works is given. We also characterized and analyzed his heroes, case in the works and gave chronological chain of novels and short story collections. A deep analysis shows that Faulkner was one of those men who were equal both in poetry and prose. His poetic abilities also were shown as a new part of our research.

Our studies also give characteristic features of William Faulkner’s works where we deeply investigate morality, cultural and social background, the American lifestyle, especially; we learnt Faulkner’s personal opinion about most of his works.

Throughout the novel the reader is rarely aware of a pure present, nor is a pure past very often exclusively given. The particular time-perspective of Sartoris, the fact that the events of the Civil War are recorded not as they happened but as they are recalled after more than fifty years, makes it possible for them to be recounted endlessly until the facts are transformed into myths.

The relativity of subjective time was familiar to the traditional conventional novel, but modernism brought about an essentially different modeling of the space/time relationship. The former only stated the fact, whereas the latter tends to express an arrested motion in time in the literary text, creating an illusion of stasis and thus turning it into aesthetic phenomenon.

Faulkner creates stasis by a number of artistic devices. On the lexical level it is expressed by a cluster of related images, words and phrases repeated time and again and often gaining a symbolic value. For example motionless, arrested, frozen, immobile, or suspended.

In the realism of American literature, William Faulkner is a giant. More than simply a renowned Mississippi writer, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist and short story writer is acclaimed throughout the world as one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers, one who transformed his “postage stamp” of native soil into an apocryphal setting in which he explored, articulated, and challenged “the old verities and truths of the heart.” During what is generally considered his period of greatest artistic achievement, from “The Sound and the Fury” in 1929 to “Go Down, Moses” in 1942, Faulkner accomplished in a little over a decade more artistically than most writers accomplish over a lifetime of writing. It is one of the more remarkable feats of American literature, how a young man who never graduated from high school, never received a college degree, living in a small town in the poorest state in the nation, all the while balancing a growing family of dependents and impending financial ruin, could during the Great Depression write a series of novels all set in the same small Southern county — novels that include “As I Lay Dying”, “Light in August”, and above all, “Absalom, Absalom!” — that would one day be recognized as among the greatest novels ever written by an American.

William Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi, the oldest of four sons of Murray Charles Faulkner and Maud (Butler) Faulkner. While he was still a child, the family settled in Oxford in north-central Mississippi. Faulkner lived most of his life in the town. While still at school, he began to write poetry. At the Oxford High School he played quarterback on football team and suffered a broken nose. Before graduating, he dropped his studies and worked briefly in his grandfather's bank.

After being rejected from the army because he was too short, Faulkner enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and had basic training in Toronto. He served with the RAF in World War I, but did not see any action. Before he could make his first solo flight, the war was over. This did not stop him later telling that he was shot down in France.

After the war he studied literature at the University of Mississippi for a short time. He also wrote some poems and drew cartoons for the university's humor magazine, “The Scream”. «I liked the cartoons better than the poetry», recalled later George W. Healy Jr., who edited the magazine. In 1920 Faulkner left the university without taking a degree. Years later he wrote in a letter, «what an amazing gift I had: uneducated in every formal sense, without even very literate, let alone literary, companions, yet to have made the things I made». [1]

Faulkner moved to New York City, where he worked as a clerk in a bookstore, and then returned to Oxford. For a time Faulkner supported himself as a postmaster at the University of Mississippi, but he was fired for reading on the job. He drifted to New Orleans, where Sherwood Anderson encouraged him to write fiction rather than poetry. In July 1925 he sailed out of New Orleans for Genoa, Italy, and from there he traveled to Paris. During his four months stay, he visited the famous bookshop Shakespeare & Co., but didn't meet Sylvia Beach. Just to get a glimpse of James Joyce, he made a habit of hangin g out at the Cafe Voltaire that Joyce frequented. Faulkner also toured the WWI battlefields and spent ten days hiking in England.

The early works of Faulkner bear witness to his reading of Keats, Tennyson, Swinburne, and the fin-de-siècle English poetry. His first book was “The Marble Faun” (1924), a collection of poems. It did not gain success. After a hiatus in Paris, he published “Soldier's Pay” (1926). The novel centered on the return of a soldier, who has been physically and psychologically disabled in WW I. It was followed by “Mosquitoes”, a satirical portrait of Bohemian life, artist and intellectuals, in New Orleans.

With “The Sound and the Fury” (1929), his first masterwork, Faulkner gained recognition as a writer.

While working at an electrical power station in a nightshift job, Faulkner wrote As I Lay Dying (1930), about the illness, death, and burial of Addie Bundren. The book consists of interior monologues, most of them spoken by members of the Bundren family. The deceased herself has one monologue; her dying wish is to be buried in her home town. Struggling through flood and fire the family carries her coffin to the graveyard in Jefferson, Mississippi. Ultimately, the journey becomes Addie's curse. «Now you are aware of me! Now I am something in your secret and selfish life, which have marked your blood with my own for ever and ever». Cash, Addie's son, breaks his leg, Darl, another son, attempts to cremate his mother's body by setting fire to the barn, and Dewey Dell is raped in the cellar of a pharmacy. Addie is buried next to her father in the family plot. Darl's sanity dies with her mother and he is taken finally to an asylum. Anse, the father, appears with a woman, introducing her as the new 'Mrs. Bundren'.

Sanctuary (1931), dedicated to Sherwood Anderson for services rendered, was according to the author «deliberately conceived to make money». In the story a young woman is raped by a murderer. She finds sanctuary in a brothel, but none of the sexual acts there is described in detail. Sanctuary was one of nine novel identified as obscene in the criminal proceedings in the Court of Quarter sessions in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. The other allegedly obscene novels were Harold Robbins's Never Love a Stranger, James T. Farrell's Studs Lonigan Trilogy, and A World I Never Made, Erskine Caldwell's God Little Acre, Calder Willingham's End as a Man, and Faulkner's Wild Palms.

In 1933 Faulkner started to take flying lessons and he bought his own plane. To earn money and support Estelle, their three children, and some of the Oldhams, Faulkner worked over the next 20 years in Hollywood on several screenplays, from Today We Live (1933) to Land of the Pharaos (1955). His own stories were for the conservative producers too daring: they dealt with rape, incest, suicide etc. Moreover, Faulkner experimented with methods of narration, using page-long sentences, and forcing the reader to hold in mind details and phrases that are meaningful only at the end of the story.

Between scriptwriting Faulkner published several novel. “Pylon” (1934) was a story of four adults and a child, who travel from air show to another. “Absalom, Absalom!” is focused on Thomas Sutpen's attempts to found a Southern dynasty in the 19th-century Mississippi. “The Wild Palms” (1939) was a story of the Snopes family, in which the character McCord is based on Ernest Hemingway and parallels A Farwell to Arms. “Go Down Moses”, and Other Stories (1942) contained 'The Bear,' one of his most celebrates pieces of short fiction.

«He wrote A Fable in my house. He'd be typing away in the middle of the night. Worked right on the typewriter, typed all night. I walked in on him, asked him what he was working on there in the middle of the night. He said, «Oh... on a novel». «Well... what's it about?" He said, «Oh, it's about Jesus Christ coming to earth during the World War». [3]

By 1945, when Faulkner's novels were out of print, he moved again to Hollywood to write under contract movie scripts, mostly for director Howard Hawks. He had read Faulkner's 1926 novel Soldier's Pay when it had just appeared and recommended it to his friends. In the early 1930s Faulkner had written for the director an adaptation from his short story 'Turn About'. Their first meeting ended in heavy drinking, and started a long friendship. «Just a year apart in age, with Hawks the senior, both were reserved to the point of non-communicativeness; Johnson was astonished by the sight of the two of them just sitting together not saying a word. When they did talk, they did do slowly, in a drawling manner». [4] When Hemingway had turned down Hawk's offer to work with his own book, the director had said, «I'll get Faulkner to do it; he can write better than you can anyway».

Faulkner's second period of success started with the publication of The Portable Faulkner (1946), which rescued him from near-oblivion. However, Faulkner's physique and mental functioning was weakened by hard drinking. «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». Their daughter Jill later said that «Nothing about the marriage was right».

Faulkner published in 1951 Requiem for a Nun, and badly received magnum opus A Fable in 1954.The Town (1957) and The Mansion (1959) continued the story of the Snopes family, which he had begun in The Hamlet (1940).

With The Rivers (1962), set early in the 20th century, Faulkner nostalgically revisited his childhood, and extends the world of Sanctuary. On June 17, 1962, he was thrown from a horse, and a few weeks later, on July 6, Faulkner died of a coronary occlusion. The New York Times cited his critics in his obituary and stated that «Mr. Faulkner's writings showed an obsession with murder, rape, incest, suicide, greed and general depravity that did not exist anywhere but in the author's mind». (July 7, 1962) Forty-three years later, in his review of Jay Parini's book One Matchless Time: A Life of William Faulkner (2004) the Nobel writer J. M. Coetzee defined Faulkner not only as «the most radical innovator in the annals of American fiction», but «a writer to whom the avant-garde of Europe and Latin America would go to school». (The New York Review of Books, April 7, 2005)




  1.              Singh Lata. An Approach to Recurrent Themes in William Faulkner’s Selected Works.//VSRD Technical and Non-technical Journal.Vol.2(11), 2011. — P.581–586
  2.              «Books: Baudelaire with Loving Care*", Time,Monday, Feb. 16, 1931
  3.              A. I. Bezzerides in The Big Book of Noir, ed. by Ed Gorman, Lee Server and Martin H. Greenberg, 1998
  4.              Todd McCarthy in Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood, 1997
  5.              Block, Ned. «Conceptual Role Semantics». The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Forthcoming.
  6.              Blotner L. William Faulkner's library. A catalogue. Charlottesville: Univ. press of Virginia, 1964. -XI, 143 p.
Основные термины (генерируются автоматически): RAF, VSRD, WWI.

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