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William Faulkner: American Novelist and Short Story writer

William Faulkner
William Faulkner
William Faulkner was an American novelist and short-story writer who was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Early Life of Faulkner

He was the eldest of the four sons of Murry Cuthbert and Maud Butler Falkner. He was born in New Albany, Mississippi. Faulkner moved to Oxford, where he was exposed to a rich, white youth and Southern upbringing. Faulkner didn’t graduate from high school but turned into a voracious reader. In July 1918, Faulkner joined the British Royal Air Force (RAF) as a cadet pilot, but the November 1918 armistice intervened before he could finish ground school.

Writing Career of  William Faulkner

William Faulkner
William Faulkner

His first novel was Soldiers’ Pay , was termed as an impressive achievement. A second novel, Mosquitoes was a satirical attack on the New Orleans literary scene. But none of his short stories were accepted, and he was especially disturbed by his difficulty in finding a publisher for Flags in the Dust, which was later published posthumously in 1973.

His masterpiece, Sound and Fury, did find a publisher, even though it was a challenging read.  When it was published in October 1929, Faulkner’s position as a prolific writer was cemented in history forever.  In 1929 he married Estelle Oldham with whom he had a daughter, Jill, in 1933. He was more than familiar with the work of not only of Honore de Balzac, Gustave Flaubert, Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, Joseph Conrad and James Joyce.
Faulkner’s next novel was a brilliant tragicomedy titled, As I Lay Dying. His later novels were; The Wild Palms, The Unvanquished, The Hamlet,  Go Down, Moses, Intruder in the Dust.  Faulkner published a collection of short stories titled, Collected Stories. In 1950, he was subsequently awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
The Nobel Prize had a major impact on Faulkner’s private life, leaving him overconfident and letting himself fall all over the place, having numerous affairs and relying on alcohol. Inspite of all this, by the time of his death he had clearly emerged as the major American novelist of his generation. His reputation was grounded in the large scale of his achievement,  and he remains a profoundly influential presence for novelists.