William Faulkner is most known for his books set in ‘Yoknapatawpha County,’ a fictional town in the South of America. He was a typical Southern writer and one of the most famous writers of the twentieth century. His career began with poetry, but he progressed to writing novels that would change the face of literature. His works influenced both popular and Modernist literature, personifying conventional Southern American ideals and sensibilities. His literary legacy includes not only poetry and novels, but also a diverse range of films and short stories in which he emphasized pace, austerity, and phraseology. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes for fiction as well as the Nobel Prize for Literature. Two of his well-known works, ‘Sartoris’ and ‘Sanctuary,’ have left an everlasting effect, with the latter being converted into a blockbuster Hollywood picture. Despite the fact that he became well-known for his works during his lifetime, he desired to remain as anonymous as possible. Aside from his career, he is said to have been media-shy and known for his strange and snobbish manners, which led to an alcohol problem during his lifetime.
Childhood and Adolescence
Murry Cuthbert Falkner and Maud Butler had four sons, the oldest of them were William Cuthbert Faulkner, who was born in Albany, Mississippi. In his early years, he was profoundly inspired by Southern American culture as well as the Mississippi way of life.
His maternal grandparents and mother, Maud, had a big influence on his creative resourcefulness because they were all keen readers and creative people themselves.
His youth was full of adventure, and his father taught him how to hunt, fish, and track, while his mother instilled in him and his brothers love of reading and going to church. As a result, he was exposed to classics like Charles Dickens and others from a young age.
He started writing poetry and began to base the majority of his works on the Romantic period. Although he was a strong student in school, as he progressed through high school, his academic performance began to deteriorate, and he progressively lost interest in studying.
He never finished high school and instead enrolled at the Oxford’s University of Mississippi. Many of his poetry was published in campus magazines, and despite his artistic efforts, he did not complete his semesters at the university and dropped out in November of 1920.
The Career of William
Poetry, such as his most renowned poetry book, ‘The Marble Faun,’ released in 1924, is among his first works.
In 1925, he published his debut novel, ‘Soldiers’ Pay,’ which garnered him a lot of attention. He then went on to write his second novel, ‘Mosquitoes,’ and his debut novel, ‘Flags in the Dust,’ two years later.
Faulkner was surprised when his novel ‘Flags in the Dust’ was rejected by his publishers, and he had to have it re-edited. It was eventually published in 1928 as ‘Sartoris.’ He began work on another of his works, ‘The Sound and the Fury,’ that same year, and it was released the following year.
He began writing short stories in the early 1930s and sent them to a number of national periodicals. ‘As I Lay Dying’ and ‘Sanctuary’ were both written by him, the latter being his first literary success in two years.
His debut short story collection, ‘These 13’, was released in 1931 and features some of his most well-known works, including ‘Red Leaves,’ ‘Dry September,’ ‘A Rose for Emily,’ and ‘That Evening Sun.’ Many of these tales were set in Yoknapatawpha County, a fantastical locale.
He was hired as a scriptwriter in Hollywood in 1932, a position that paid well for the rest of the decade. He continued to create stories and novels throughout this time, with some of the most notable being ‘Light in August (1932) and ‘Absalom, Absalom!’ (1936). Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, he continued to write screenplays.
In 1949, he published ‘Knight’s Gambit,’ another collection of short stories, this time in the crime fiction genre. In the same year, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
In 1954, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his first novel, ‘A Fable.’ He was a ‘writer-in-residence’ at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville from 1957 to 1958.
He wrote ‘The Reivers’ just before he died, and it is regarded as one of his best works.
William’s Major Projects
One of his early works, ‘The Sound of Fury,’ was released in 1929 and was not a commercial success at its initial release. However, after the publication of another of his works, ‘Sanctuary,’ this novel went on to achieve critical and popular success.
The Modern Library named the novel one of the “100 best English-language novels of the twentieth century,” and it was re-released in a limited edition compilation in 2012.
His first international literary success, ‘Sanctuary,’ was published in 1931 and was dubbed a ‘potboiler.’ This masterpiece was so well-received that it was made into a film titled ‘The Story of Temple Drake.’
In 1954, he wrote ‘A Fable,’ which was published. This is considered one of his later masterpieces, winning significant accolades such as the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
Achievements & Awards
He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949 for his “unique contribution to the contemporary American novel.”
In 1951, he was awarded the title of ‘Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur.’
In 1955 and 1963, he earned two Pulitzer Prizes for his books, ‘A Fable’ and ‘The Reivers,’ the latter of which was granted posthumously.
Personal History and Legacy
He courted Estelle Oldham as a teenager, who later married Cornell Franklin but divorced him ten years later. In April 1929, she married Faulkner and brought her two children from her previous marriage with her. With her, he had one daughter.
He was known to have had extramarital romances with Meta Carpenter, Joan Williams, and Else Jonsson while married to Estelle.
In 1959, he survived a horseback riding accident. He died three years later after having a heart arrest and was buried in Oxford’s St. Peter’s Cemetery.
In his honor, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is given to new fiction writers.
The United States Postal Service issued a 22-cent postage stamp in his honor on August 3, 1987.
Estimated Net worth
William is one of the wealthiest novelists and one of the most well-known. William Faulkner’s net worth is estimated to be $5 million.
This well-known, prize-winning American author despised the celebrity status and renown that came with winning the Nobel Prize so much that his 17-year-old daughter had no idea he had gotten such a prestigious award until she was told by her principal.