Friday, July 16, 2010

William Faulkner Nobel Prize Winner

This video(audio) cuts off the end of the speech so I have included the text here with the complete speech.

I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work - a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

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William Faulkner ,Nobel Prize-winner

William Faulkner (September 25, 1897 – July 6, 1962) was a Nobel Prize-winning American author. One of the most influential writers of the 20th century, his reputation is based on his novels, novellas and short stories. He was also a published poet and an occasional screenwriter.

Most of Faulkner's works are set in his native state of Mississippi. He is considered one of the most important Southern writers along with Mark Twain, Robert Penn Warren, Flannery O'Connor, Truman Capote, Eudora Welty, and Tennessee Williams.

While his work was published regularly starting in the mid 1920s, Faulkner was relatively unknown before receiving the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature. Since then, he has often been cited as one of the most important writers in the history of American literature.[1]

Born William Cuthbert Falkner in New Albany, Mississippi, he was the eldest son of Murry Cuthbert Falkner (August 17, 1870 – August 7, 1932) and Maud Butler (November 27, 1871 – October 16, 1960). He later changed the spelling of his name to Faulkner. His brothers were Murry Charles "Jack" Falkner (June 26, 1899 – December 24, 1975), author John Falkner (later Faulkner) (September 24, 1901 – March 28, 1963) and Dean Swift Falkner (August 15, 1907 – November 10, 1935).

Faulkner was raised in and heavily influenced by the state of Mississippi, as well as by the history and culture of the South as a whole. When he was four years old, his entire family moved to the nearby town of Oxford, where he lived on and off for the rest of his life. Oxford is the model for the town of "Jefferson" in his fiction, and Lafayette County, which contains the town of Oxford, is the model for his fictional Yoknapatawpha County. Faulkner's great-grandfather, William Clark Falkner, was an important figure in northern Mississippi who served as a colonel in the Confederate Army, founded a railroad, and gave his name to the town of Falkner in nearby Tippah County. He also wrote several novels and other works, establishing a literary tradition in the family. Colonel Falkner served as the model for Colonel John Sartoris in his great-grandson's writing.

The elder Falkner was greatly influenced by the history of his family and the region in which they lived. Mississippi marked his sense of humor, his sense of the tragic position of blacks and whites, his characterization of Southern characters and timeless themes, including fiercely intelligent people dwelling behind the façades of good old boys and simpletons. Unable to join the United States Army because of his height, (he was 5' 5½"), Faulkner first joined the Canadian and then the British Royal Air Force, yet did not see any World War I wartime action.

Faulkner himself made the change to his last name in 1918 upon joining the Air Force. But according to one story, a careless typesetter simply made an error. When the misprint appeared on the title page of Faulkner's first book and the author was asked about it, he supposedly replied, "Either way suits me."[2] Although Faulkner is heavily identified with Mississippi, he was living in New Orleans in 1925 when he wrote his first novel, Soldiers' Pay, after being influenced by Sherwood Anderson to try fiction. The small house at 624 Pirate's Alley, just around the corner from St. Louis Cathedral, is now the premises of Faulkner House Books, and also serves as the headquarters of the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society.

Faulkner served as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Virginia from 1957 until his death. In 1959 he suffered serious injuries in a horse-riding accident. Faulkner died of a heart attack at the age of 64 on July 6, 1962, at Wright's Sanitorium in Byhalia, Mississippi

In the early 1940s, Howard Hawks invited Faulkner to come to Hollywood to become a screenwriter for the films Hawks was directing. Faulkner happily accepted because he badly needed the money, and Hollywood paid well. Thus Faulkner contributed to the scripts for the films Hawks made from Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep and Ernest Hemingway's To Have and Have Not. Faulkner became good friends with Hawks, the screenwriter A. I. Bezzerides, and the actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

An apocryphal story regarding Faulkner during his Hollywood years found him with a case of writer's block at the studio. He told Hawks he was having a hard time concentrating and would like to write at home. Hawks was agreeable, and Faulkner left. Several days passed, with no word from the writer. Hawks telephoned Faulkner's hotel and found that Faulkner had checked out several days earlier. It seems Faulkner had spoken quite literally, and had returned home to Mississippi to finish the screenplay.

As a teenager in Oxford, Faulkner dated Estelle Oldham, the popular daughter of Major Lemuel and Lida Oldham, and believed he would someday marry her.[3] However, Estelle dated other boys during their romance, and one of them, Cornell Franklin, ended up proposing marriage to her before Faulkner did, in 1918. Estelle's parents insisted she marry Cornell, as he was an Ole Miss law graduate, had recently been commissioned as a major in the Hawaiian Territorial Forces, and came from a respectable family with which they were old friends.[4] Fortunately for Faulkner, Estelle's marriage to Franklin fell apart ten years later, and she was divorced in April of 1929.[5] Faulkner married Estelle in June 1929 at College Hill Presbyterian Church just outside of Oxford, Mississippi.[6] They honeymooned on the Mississippi Gulf Coast at Pascagoula, then returned to Oxford, first living with relatives while they searched for a home of their own to purchase. In 1930 Faulkner purchased the antebellum home Rowan Oak, known at that time as "The Bailey Place". He and his family lived there until his daughter Jill, after her mother's death, sold the property to the University of Mississippi in 1972. The house and furnishings are maintained much as they were in Faulkner's day. Faulkner's scribblings are still preserved on the wall there, including the day-by-day outline covering an entire week that he wrote out on the walls of his small study to help him keep track of the plot twists in the novel A Fable.

Faulkner accomplished what he did despite a lifelong drinking problem. As he stated on several occasions, and as was witnessed by members of his family, the press, and friends at various periods over the course of his career, he often drank while writing, and he believed that alcohol helped to fuel the creative process. However, many[who?] believe that Faulkner used alcohol as an "escape valve" from the day-to-day pressures of his regular life, including his financial straits, rather than the more romantic vision of a brilliant writer who needed alcohol to pursue his art.

Faulkner is known to have had two extramarital affairs. One was with Howard Hawks's secretary and script girl, Meta Carpenter.[7] The other, lasting from 1949 to 1953, was with a young writer, Joan Williams, who considered him her mentor. She made her relationship with Faulkner the subject of her 1971 novel The Wintering.[8]

Faulkner also had a romance with Jean Stein, an editor, author, and daughter of movie mogul Jules Stein.[citation needed]


From the early 1920s to the outbreak of WWII, when Faulkner left for California, he published 13 novels and numerous short stories, the body of work that grounds his reputation and for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize at the age of 52. This prodigious output, mainly driven by an obscure writer's need for money, includes his most celebrated novels such as The Sound and the Fury (1929), As I Lay Dying (1930), Light in August (1932), and Absalom, Absalom! (1936). Faulkner was also a prolific writer of short stories. His first short story collection, These 13 (1931), includes many of his most acclaimed (and most frequently anthologized) stories, including "A Rose for Emily", "Red Leaves", "That Evening Sun", and "Dry September".

Faulkner set many of his short stories and novels in Yoknapatawpha County—based on, and nearly geographically identical to, Lafayette County, of which his hometown of Oxford, Mississippi is the county seat. Yoknapatawpha was Faulkner's "postage stamp", and the bulk of work that it represents is widely considered by critics to amount to one of the most monumental fictional creations in the history of literature.[citation needed] Three novels, The Hamlet, The Town and The Mansion, known collectively as the Snopes Trilogy, document the town of Jefferson and its environs as an extended family headed by Flem Snopes insinuates itself into the lives and psyches of the general populace. It is a stage wherein rapaciousness and decay come to the fore in a world where such realities were always present, but never so compartmentalized and well defined; their sources never so easily identifiable.

Additional works include Sanctuary (1931), a sensationalist "pulp fiction"-styled novel, characterized by André Malraux as "the intrusion of Greek tragedy into the detective story." Its themes of evil and corruption, bearing Southern Gothic tones, resonate to this day. Requiem for a Nun (1951), a play/novel sequel to Sanctuary, is the only play that Faulkner published, except for his The Marionettes, which he essentially self-published -- in a few hand-written copies -- as a young man.

Faulkner is known for an experimental style with meticulous attention to diction and cadence. In contrast to the minimalist understatement of his contemporary Ernest Hemingway, Faulkner made frequent use of "stream of consciousness" in his writing, and wrote often highly emotional, subtle, cerebral, complex, and sometimes Gothic or grotesque stories of a wide variety of characters—ranging from former slaves or descendents of slaves, to poor white, agrarian, or working-class Southerners, to Southern aristocrats.

In an interview with The Paris Review in 1956, Faulkner remarked, "Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him." Another esteemed Southern writer, Flannery O'Connor, stated that, "The presence alone of Faulkner in our midst makes a great difference in what the writer can and cannot permit himself to do. Nobody wants his mule and wagon stalled on the same track the Dixie Limited is roaring down."

Faulkner also wrote two volumes of poetry which were published in small printings, The Marble Faun (1924) [9] and A Green Bough (1933), and a collection of crime-fiction short stories, Knight's Gambit (1949).

In 1946, Faulkner was one of three finalists for the first Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Award. He came in second to Manly Wade Wellman.[10] Faulkner received the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature for "his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel."[11] Though he won the Nobel prize for 1949, it was not awarded until the 1950 awards banquet, when Faulkner was awarded the 1949 prize and Bertrand Russell the 1950 prize.[12] He donated a portion of his Nobel winnings "to establish a fund to support and encourage new fiction writers," eventually resulting in the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He donated another portion to a local Oxford bank to establish an account to provide scholarship funds to help educate African-American education majors at nearby Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Faulkner won two Pulitzer Prizes for what are considered as his "minor" novels: his 1954 novel A Fable, which took the Pulitzer in 1955, and the 1962 novel, The Reivers, which was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer in 1963. He also won two National Book Awards, first for his Collected Stories in 1951 and once again for his novel A Fable in 1955. On August 3, 1987, the United States Postal Service issued a 22-cent postage stamp in his honor.[13]


•Soldiers' Pay (1926)
•Father Abraham (written 1926–27, published 1983)
•Mosquitoes (1927)
•Sartoris/Flags in the Dust (1929/1973)
•The Sound and the Fury (1929)
•As I Lay Dying (1930)
•Sanctuary (1931)
•Light in August (1932)
•Pylon (1935)
•Absalom, Absalom! (1936)
•The Unvanquished (1938)
•If I Forget Thee Jerusalem (The Wild Palms/Old Man) (1939)
•The Hamlet (1940)
•Go Down, Moses (1942), episodic novel made up of seven rewritten, previously published stories including "Pantaloon in Black", "The Old People", "The Bear", "Delta Autumn", and the title story
•Intruder in the Dust (1948)
•Requiem for a Nun (1951)
•A Fable (1954)
•The Town (1957)
•The Mansion (1959)
•The Reivers (1962)

Short stories

•"Landing in Luck" (1919)
•"The Hill" (1922)
•"New Orleans"
•"Mirrors of Chartres Street" (1925)
•"Damon and Pythias Unlimited" (1925)
•"Jealousy" (1925)
•"Cheest" (1925)
•"Out of Nazareth" (1925)
•"The Kingdom of God" (1925)
•"The Rosary" (1925)
•"The Cobbler" (1925)
•"Chance" (1925)
•"Sunset" (1925)
•"The Kid Learns" (1925)
•"The Liar" (1925)
•"Home" (1925)
•"Episode" (1925)
•"Country Mice" (1925)
•"Yo Ho and Two Bottles of Rum" (1925)
•"Music - Sweeter than the Angels Sing"
•"A Rose for Emily" (1930)
•"Honor" (1930)
•"Thrift" (1930)
•"Red Leaves" (1930)
•"Ad Astra" (1931)
•"Dry September" (1931)
•"That Evening Sun" (1931)
•"Hair" (1931)
•"Spotted Horses" (1931)
•"The Hound" (1931)
•"Fox Hunt" (1931)
•"Carcassonne" (1931)
•"Divorce in Naples" (1931)
•"Victory" (1931)
•"All the Dead Pilots" (1931)
•"Crevasse" (1931)
•"Mistral" (1931)
•"A Justice" (1931)
•"Dr. Martino" (1931)
•"Idyll in the Desert" (1931)
•"Miss Zilphia Gant" (1932)
•"Death Drag" (1932)
•"Centaur in Brass" (1932)
•"Once Aboard the Lugger (I)" (1932)
•"Lizards in Jamshyd's Courtyard" (1932)
•"Turnabout" (1932)
•"Smoke" (1932)
•"Mountain Victory" (1932)
•"There Was a Queen" (1933)
•"Artist at Home" (1933)
•"Beyond" (1933)
•"Elly" (1934)
•"Pennsylvania Station" (1934)
•"Wash" (1934)
•"A Bear Hunt" (1934)
•"The Leg" (1934)
•"Black Music" (1934)
•"Mule in the Yard" (1934)
•"Ambuscade" (1934)
•"Retreat" (1934)
•"Lo!" (1934)
•"Raid" (1934)
•"Skirmish at Sartoris" (1935)
•"Golden Land" (1935)
•"That Will Be Fine" (1935)
•"Uncle Willy" (1935)
•"Lion" (1935)
•"The Brooch" (1936)
•"Two Dollar Wife" (1936)
•"Fool About a Horse" (1936)
•"Vendee" (1936)
•"Monk" (1937)
•"Barn Burning" (1939)
•"Hand Upon the Waters" (1939)
•"A Point of Law" (1940)
•"The Old People" (1940)
•"Pantaloon in Black" (1940)
•"Gold Is Not Always" (1940)
•"Tomorrow" (1940),

adapted to film in 1972

•"The Tall Men" (1941)
•"Two Soldiers" (1942),

adapted to film in 2003

•"Delta Autumn" (1942)
•"The Bear" (novella) (1942)
•"Afternoon of a Cow" (1943)
•"Shingles for the Lord" (1943)
•"My Grandmother Millard and General Bedford Forrest and the Battle of Harrykin Creek" (1943)
•"Shall Not Perish" (1943)
•"Appendix, Compson, 1699-1945" (1946)
•"An Error in Chemistry" (1946)
•"A Courtship" (1948)
•"Knight's Gambit" (1949)
•"Nobel Prize Award Speech" (1949)
•"A Name for the City" (1950)
•"Notes on a Horsethief" (1951)
•"Mississippi" (1954)
•"Sepulture South: Gaslight" (1954)
•"Race at Morning" (1955)
•"By the People" (1955)
•"Hell Creek Crossing" (1962)
•"Mr. Acarius" (1965)
•"The Wishing Tree" (1967)
•"Al Jackson" (1971)
•"And Now What's To Do" (1973)
•"Nympholepsy" (1973)
•"The Priest" (1976)
•"Mayday" (1977)
•"Frankie and Johnny" (1978)
•"Don Giovanni" (1979)
•"Peter" (1979)
•"A Portrait of Elmer" (1979)
•"Adolescence" (1979)
•"Snow" (1979)
•"Moonlight" (1979)
•"With Caution and Dispatch" (1979)
•"Hog Pawn" (1979)
•"A Dangerous Man" (1979)
•"A Return" (1979)
•"The Big Shot" (1979)
•"Once Aboard the Lugger (II)" (1979)
•"Dull Tale" (1979)
•"Evangeline" (1979)
•"Love" (1988)
•"Christmas Tree" (1995)
•"Rose of Lebanon" (1995)
•"Lucas Beauchamp" (1999)


•Vision in Spring (1921)
•The Marble Faun (1924)
•A Green Bough (1933)
•This Earth, a Poem (1932)
•Mississippi Poems (1979)
•Helen, a Courtship and Mississippi Poems (1981).

Audio recordings

•The William Faulkner Audio Collection. Caedmon, 2003. Five hours on five discs includes Faulkner reading his 1949 Nobel Prize acceptance speech and excerpts from As I Lay Dying, The Old Man and A Fable, plus readings by Debra Winger ("A Rose for Emily", "Barn Burning"), Keith Carradine ("Spotted Horses") and Arliss Howard ("That Evening Sun", "Wash"). Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award.
•William Faulkner Reads: The Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, Selections from As I Lay Dying, A Fable, The Old Man. Caedmon/Harper Audio, 1992. Cassette. ISBN 1-55994-572-9
•William Faulkner Reads from His Work. Arcady Series, MGM E3617 ARC, 1957. Faulkner reads from The Sound and The Fury (side one) and Light in August (side two). Produced by Jean Stein, who also did the liner notes with Edward Cole. Cover photograph by Robert Capa (Magnum).