On William Faulkner
Publication Date: September 2003
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Eudora Welty (1909-2001) and William Faulkner (1897-1962) were almost unquestionably Mississippi's leading literary lions during the twentieth century. Their influence on American literature is immeasurable.
"On William Faulkner" brings together Welty's reviews, essays, lectures, and musings on Faulkner, including such gems as her reviews of "Intruder in the Dust" and "The Selected Letters of William Faulkner," as well as her comments during her presentation of the Gold Medal to Faulkner during the National Institute of Arts and Letters awards ceremony in 1962. The collection also features an excerpt from a letter she wrote to the novelist Jean Stafford, telling of meeting Faulkner and of going sailing with him. Included too are Welty's impassioned defense of Faulkner's work-published as a letter to the "New Yorker"-and the obituary of the Nobel laureate that she wrote for the Associated Press.
In addition, the book includes a cryptic postcard Faulkner wrote to Welty from Hollywood, plus six photographs, and a caricature of Faulkner drawn by Welty during the 1930s.
Commenting on the place of both writers in contemporary literature, an essay by the noted literary scholar Noel Polk puts the collection in context and offers assessment and appreciation of their achievements in American literature.
"On William Faulkner" is a valuable resource for exploring Faulkner's work and sensing Welty's critical voice. Her sharp critical eye and graceful prose make her an astute commentator on his legacy.
Eudora Welty is the author of many novels and story collections, including "The Optimist's Daughter" (Pulitzer Prize), "Losing Battles," "The Ponder Heart," "The Robber Bridegroom," "A Curtain of Green and Other Stories," as well as three collections of her photographic work (all from the University Press of Mississippi)-"Photographs," "Country Churchyards," and "One Time, One Place: Mississippi in the Depression."
William Faulkner is the author of "The Sound and the Fury," "Light in August," "Absalom, Absalom ," "Sanctuary," "As I Lay Dying," among others. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949.
Noel Polk, a professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi, is the author of many critical studies on Welty and Faulkner and is the co-editor of the Library of America edition of Faulkner's works.
Noel Polk is professor emeritus of English at Mississippi State University and editor of "The Mississippi Quarterly". He is the author, most recently, of "Faulkner and Welty and the Southern Literary Tradition" (University Press of Mississippi). From 1981 to 2006, he edited the Library of America's complete edition of William Faulkner's novels.