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Posts Tagged ‘William Faulkner’

William Faulkner, a Fine Gentleman

July 23, 2013 | by

While all of this 1952 Ford Foundation Omnibus film—a sort of scripted documentary on William Faulkner—is fantastic, bizarre, and well worth watching, this clip is particularly noteworthy for the exterior shots of the author’s house, Rowan Oak.

 

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Town of Marvels

June 27, 2013 | by

Image via oxfordmississippi.com

Image via oxfordmississippi.com.

The boy and the girl were engaged, driving to California, where the girl wanted to make costumes for the movies. The boy planned to study Native American archaeology; he was just out of the Navy. They were the sort of young people I felt accurate calling beautiful—good-looking, around twenty years old, in love. But it was more than that. The fact is, it’s sustaining, getting older, to meet young adults who are hopeful and naïve, just enough.

They had a car, a dog, a vision. But they didn’t have a book. Leaving New England, they’d heard about a certain book on NPR, and the girl thought it sounded just right. The boy said they’d find a copy on the road somewhere. They drove for days, heading south from New Hampshire: Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee. No book. The girl pressed. The boy promised. Bookstores don’t exactly dot the American highway in the grand manner of Sbarros. Finally, driving through Mississippi, seeing a sign for Oxford, the boy suggested they stop, stretch their legs, find the damn book. Oxford was a university town, there had to be a bookstore somewhere.

They parked in the tiny main square. A bookstore stood on the corner under a sign for Fortune’s Famous Ice Cream. The girl walked the dog, the boy went inside. He asked, Do you have this book?

We do, the clerk said. And there it was, right next to the register, a stack of them. The clerk said, Do you want a signed copy?

I guess so, the boy said.

Wait, but you do know the author was here tonight, right? He just did a reading, the clerk said after a moment. It was about seven P.M., the verge of dusk. The boy was confused. Suddenly, the clerk was pointing out the window, saying, Wait, that’s him going by right there.

No one really knows the value of book tours. Whether or not they’re good ideas, or if they improve book sales. I happen to think the author is the last person you’d want to talk to about a book; they hate it by that point, they’ve already moved on to a new lover. Besides, the author never knows what the book is about anyway. Read More »

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Faulkner, Cubed

June 11, 2013 | by

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Today, Sotheby’s is auctioning off a collection of sixteen letters and ten postcards that William Faulkner wrote from Europe to his family in Oxford, Mississippi, chronicling his first trip to the Continent in the early fall of 1925. The collection of handwritten correspondence—which includes sketched self-portraits, as well as Faulkner’s musings on growing a beard (“makes me look sort of distinguished”) and dining alone in his hotel room (“here I sit with spaghetti”)—is expected to fetch between $250,000 and $350,000.

The collection seems to provide glimpses of a relatable, human Faulkner: a twenty-eight-year-old who went to nightclubs, griped about money, and signed off as “Billy.” Yet the letters also hint at the profound influence that this trip—specifically, the modernist painting Faulkner first saw in Paris—would have on his fiction. In a letter dated September 22, 1925, he writes, “I have seen Rodin’s museum, and two private collections of Matisse and Picasso (who are yet alive and painting) as well as numberless young and struggling moderns. And Cézanne! That man dipped his brush in light …” Read More »

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Faulkner’s Outlines, and Other News

May 15, 2013 | by

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  • Flavorwire rounds up handwritten outlines. (That’s William Faulkner’s outline for A Fable written on the wall.)
  • “The Good Union bookstore, which usually sells school textbooks, said it had sold roughly eighty sets of the trilogy in the past month. By comparison, Taobao’s current number one best seller, Travel Keeps You Young, sold four hundred copies last month.” Contraband 50 Shades hits China
  • Judy Blume, on the big screen for the first time.
  • “I saw women on the street cars with their little changer belts … And they had caps with bills on them and they had form-fitting jackets. I loved the uniforms! So I said, ‘That’s the job I want.’” Maya Angelou’s teenage ambition.
  • Meet the Man Booker International Prize finalists
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    Faulkner Nobel on the Block, and Other News

    March 29, 2013 | by

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    Southern Holiday, Part 3

    March 20, 2013 | by

    The Pinehurst Hotel, ca. 1940: the possible model for Tennessee Williams's Hotel Flamingo, where Blanche lived after she lost Belle Reve and before she moved to New Orleans.

    The Pinehurst Hotel, ca. 1940: the possible model for Tennessee Williams’s Hotel Flamingo, where Blanche lived after she lost Belle Reve and before she moved to New Orleans.

    Mississippi and New Orleans were on my horizon. Light in August and Streetcar Named Desire were on my mind. That is to say, Gene Smith was back in the mix. The morality and narrative techniques of Faulkner and Williams influenced his photography: he taped the text of Faulkner’s Nobel speech to the wall above his desk in his dilapidated Sixth Avenue loft and considered Williams’s oft-maligned, rarely seen Camino Real a pinnacle of American theater. Plus, he once made a portrait of Williams in a pool, swimming the backstroke naked with an apparent erection (try that aquatic feat, literary lads). The fog of Smith had returned to my Southern holiday road trip.

    After an overnight stop in Mobile, Alabama, my destination was Laurel, Mississippi, south of Jackson and north of New Orleans. Laurel was the fictional hometown of Streetcar’s Blanche DuBois and her sister, Stella, and the site of their family estate, Belle Reve. It was Blanche’s loss of Belle Reve after the war that sent her to steamy, bedraggled New Orleans to stay with Stella and her ape-husband Stanley Kowalski. The rest is theater history. I wanted to spend some time in Laurel and then follow Blanche’s path into New Orleans. Read More »

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