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Faulkner, William (1897–1962) By Gradisek, Amanda

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM954-1
Published: 09/05/2016
Retrieved: 20 March 2023, from


William Faulkner was one of the best-known American authors of the twentieth century. Experimenting with form, chronology, and language, Faulkner developed a strikingly personal style while exploring the complexities of life in the American South. He was especially interested in crafting stories that explored the effects of the Civil War’s destruction and the ways in which it revealed the breakdown of plantation-based aristocracy, the effects of the exaggerated chivalric code of the Old South, and the complex racism of a society once based on slavery. He is most famous for novels such as Absalom, Absalom!, Light in August, The Sound and the Fury, Sanctuary, and As I Lay Dying. Many of his novels are set in fictional Yoknapatahpha County, a county of his own design that resembled his own birthplace, Lafayette County. A native of Oxford, Mississippi, Faulkner lived most of his life there; he also joined the Canadian Air Force during World War I and spent time in Hollywood later in his career writing screenplays. He struggled with alcoholism throughout his life, but eventually died from a heart attack following a fall from his horse.

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Citing this article:

Gradisek, Amanda. "Faulkner, William (1897–1962)." The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. : Taylor and Francis, 2016. Date Accessed 20 Mar. 2023 doi:10.4324/9781135000356-REM954-1

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