Author: C. Alphonso Smith


William Faulkner (1897–1962)

William Faulkner was a Mississippi-born novelist, poet, and screenwriter, winner of the 1949 Nobel Prize in literature, and twice a winner of the Pulitzer Prize in fiction (1955, 1963). Considered one of the most important American writers of the twentieth century, he used primarily southern settings in his work—many of his most famous novels, including The Sound and the Fury (1929) and As I Lay Dying (1930), were set in fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi—and examined complex social, psychological, and racial issues. A modernist, he often composed his tragic, even Gothic stories in a dense, stream-of-consciousness style that attempted to emulate the ebb and flow of his characters’ thoughts. His characters, meanwhile, ranged from the descendants of slaves to the richest of New South aristocrats, from the illiterate and mentally ill to the Harvard educated. During the last years of his life, Faulkner was a writer-in-residence and a professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.