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William Faulkner was a Nobel and multi-Pulitzer
Prize-winning American writer of The Sound and the Fury,
Intruder in the Dust, The Reivers, Big Woods,
The Wild Palms, and As I Lay Dying.
Biographical fast facts
Full or original name at birth: William Cuthbert Falkner*
Date, time and place of birth: September 25, 1897, New Albany, Mississippi, U.S.A.
Date, time, place and cause of death: July 6, 1962,
at 1:30 a.m., Wright's Sanitarium, Byhalia, Mississippi, U.S.A.** (Heart attack)
Spouse: Estelle Oldham Franklin (m. June 20, 1929 - July 6, 1962) (his death)
Wedding took place at the College Hill Presbyterian Church,
College Hill Road (County Road 102), Oxford, Mississippi, U.S.A.
Daughters: Alabama (b. January 11, 1931 - d. January 20, 1931)
Jill (b. June 24, 1933)
Brother: Murry "Jack" Charles Falkner, Jr. (b. June 26, 1899 - December 24, 1975) (FBI agent)
Brother: John "Johncy" Wesley Thompson Falkner III (b. September 24, 1901 - d. March 28, 1963) (also a writer)
Brother: Dean Swift Falkner (b. August 15, 1907 - d. November 10, 1935, Pontotoc, Mississippi, in a plane crash)
Father: Murry Cuthbert Falkner (b. August 17, 1870 - d. August 7, 1932, of a heart ailment)
Mother: Maud Butler Falkner (b. November 27, 1871 - d. October 16, 1960, of a cerebral hemorrhage)
Burial site: St. Peter's Cemetery, Oxford, Mississippi, U.S.A.
Error corrections or clarifications
* He was not born "William Faulkner" as a
few sources report. He was born "William Cuthbert Falkner"
then later added the "u" to his last name
as an adult.
** Faulkner did not die in Oxford,
Mississippi as most sources erroneously state.
Oxford certainly is where he lived and spent
most of his life, but he died more than 60
miles away at Wright's Sanitarium, in Byhalia,
All of the following publications, in some past editions,
have offered an erroneous place of death for William Faulkner.
Americana Encyclopedia Annual
Britannica Book of the Year 1963
Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia
Obituaries from The Times 1961-1970
It is not our intent to denigrate these
fine publications, but merely to point out the
above inaccuracy to prevent further dissemination
of the erroneous data.
Residences -- Hobbies
Hunting, farming, aviation/flying, sailing,
raising, riding and training horses.
Nicknames: Billy, the Count, Count No 'Count
Residences of William Faulkner:
Note that some of these residences may no
longer exist, and it's also possible the
addresses have changed over the years.
This is not to suggest that William Faulkner
owned each and every one of these structures.
We're only reporting the fact that he
resided in them at one point or another
in his life.
624 Pirate's Alley, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
640 Royal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
620 El Cerco, Pacific Palisades (near Santa Monica), California, U.S.A.
9 East Sixty-third Street, New York, New York, U.S.A.
917 Rugby Road, Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.A.
Rowan Oak, Old Taylor Road, Oxford, Mississippi, U.S.A.
Quotes - In his own words
In a letter to Robert K. Haas -- 1938:
"I have lived for the last six months in
such a peculiar state of family complications
and back complications that I still am not
able to tell if the novel [The Wild Palms] is all
right or absolute drivel. To me, it was
written just as if I had sat on the one
side of a wall and the paper was on the
other and my hand with the pen thrust
through the wall and writing not only on
invisible paper but in pitch darkness, too,
so that I could not even know if the pen
wrote on paper or not."
In a letter to Robert K. Haas -- 1940:
"But I can still write. That is, I haven't
said at 42 all that is in the cards for me
to say. And that wont [sic] do any good
either, but surely it is still possible to
scratch the face of the supreme Obliteration
and leave a decipherable scar of some sort."
In a letter to his agent, Harold Ober -- June 22, 1942:
"I have been trying for about ten years to carry
a load that no artist has any business attempting:
oldest son to widowed mothers and inept brothers
and nephews and wives and other female connections
and their children, most of whom I dont [sic]
like and with none of whom I have anything in
common, even to make conversation about. I am
either not brave enough or not scoundrel enough
to take my hat and walk out: I dont [sic] know
which. But if it's really beginning to hurt my
work, I will choose pretty damn quick. I dont
think that yet; it is only my earning capacity
which is dulled; possibly because I have too
little fun. But if I can get some money, I can
get away for a while--either in service, or out
of it. Incidentally, I believe I have discovered
the reason inherent in human nature why warfare
will never be abolished: it's the only condition
under which a man who is not a scoundrel can
escape for a while from his female kin."
Homesick while working in Hollywood -- 1943:
"I too like my town, my land, my people, my
life, am unhappy away from it even though I
must quit it to earn money to keep it going
to come back to."
In a letter to Malcolm Cowley -- 1945:
"I'll write to Hemingway. Poor bloke, to have
to marry three times to find out that marriage
is a failure, and the only way to get any peace
out of it is (if you are fool enough to marry
at all) keep the first one and stay as far away
from her as much as you can, with the hope of
some day outliving her. At least you will be
safe then from any other one marrying you--which
is bound to happen if you ever divorce her.
Apparently man can be cured of drugs, drink,
gambling, biting his nails and picking his
nose, but not of marrying."
In a letter to Jack Warner -- 1945:
"I feel that I have made a bust at moving
picture writing and therefore have mis-spent
and will continue to mis-spend time which
at my age I cannot afford. During my three
years (including leave-suspensions) at Warner's,
I did the best work I knew on 5 or 6 scripts.
Only two were made and I feel that I received
credit on these not on the value of the work
I did but partly through the friendship of
Director Howard Hawks. For that reason, I am
unhappy in studio work. Not at Warner's studio;
my connection with the studio and all the
people I worked with could not have been
pleasanter. But with the type of work. So I
repeat the request this time not so much to
the head of the studio, as to that same
fairness which you have shown before in such
situations, two of which I have specific
knowledge of since friends of mine were
involved. So I know my request will receive
fair consideration, and I hope favorable."
In a letter to Joan Williams -- April 29, 1953:
". . . And now I realise for the first time
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. I dont [sic] know
where it came from. I dont [sic] know why
God or gods or whoever it was, selected me
to be the vessel. Believe me, this is not
humility, false modesty: it is simply amazement."
"To live anywhere in the world of A.D. 1955
and be against equality because of race or
color, is like living in Alaska and being
"I think if the Negro himself has enough
sense, tolerance, wisdom, to be still for
a short time, there will be complete equality
"He [Richard Wright] wrote one good book
and then he went astray, he got too concerned
in the difference between the Negro man
and the white man and he stopped being a
writer and became a Negro." "Another one
named Ellison has talent, and so far, he
has managed to stay away from being first
a Negro, he is still first a writer."
"An artist is a creature driven by demons."
"I am not a literary man but only a writer.
I don't get any pleasure from talking shop."
In a letter to Muna Lee -- 1961:
"As I get older, I get more and more frightened
of aeroplanes. But I reckon I have to fly, not?"
In a letter to Muna Lee -- 1961:
"Even while I was still writing, I was merely
a writer and never at all a literary man;
since I ran dry three years ago, I am not
even interested in writing anymore: only
in reading for pleasure . . ."
The most in-depth of more than three dozen sources
consulted in preparing this profile, was the
1989 biography, William Faulkner: American Writer, by Dr. Frederick R. Karl.
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This page was last updated January 1, 2012. |