William Faulkner: The contemporary American writer of the 20th century – Le Courrier des Amériques

This elegant man, dressed to the nines, pipe smoker, taciturn and inveterate, whiskey drinker, is none other than William Faulkner. One could have said of him that he was a gentleman farmer from Mississippi, born in this State on September 25, 1897 in New Albany to be exact, and died on July 6, 1962 in Byhalia at the age of 64: a short literary life in reality but intense and fruitful, which enabled him to obtain the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949 when he was barely known; a first place is acquired for him in the American novel of the 20th century and one of the very first in the contemporary novel.

An article by Isaline Rémy


He was born to Murry Cuthbert Falkner and Maud Butler, and came from a family of businessmen and lawyers, but not only: his great-grandfather William Clark Falkner (1825-1889), soldier , lawyer, politician, was already a writer! of a secret life not much is known of his childhood and adolescence.

It is perhaps to avoid confusion that William Cuthbert Falkner, transforms his name, just to differentiate it into William Faulkner, a U will be enough to make a difference between the great-grandfather and the great-grandson.

He is best known for his novels and his short stories, but also poets at times. He also wrote works of children’s and youth literature, and worked occasionally as a screenwriter for the cinema. But the cinema will give it back to him many decades later.

William Faulkner in 1954
William Faulkner in 1954 (Photo credit: Carl Van Vechten – Van Vechten Collection at Library of Congress – Public Domain).


Most of his stories are set in his home state south of Mississippi. He is grounded, but beyond that affiliation he is considered one of the greatest American writers of all time, a major author who influenced succeeding generations through his innovative leadership.


For his most significant novels: The Sound and the Fury (1929, While I’m dying (1930), Sanctuary (1931) August light (1932) and Absalon, Absalon ! (1936) his masterpieces are considered universal literature.

The only truly major fact for Faulkner is his fierce exile for nearly a quarter of a century in his native land. He never looked for a change of scenery, his inspiration came from his inner journeys. He will have been permanently in human exploration.

With twenty novels, a hundred short stories, poems, essays, speeches, lectures, open letters, interviews, and an abundant correspondence, one might think that in fact his work constitutes only a great monologue, but it is also the expression of a great philosophy which comes close to its own life. Moreover, he said of himself that he was than a farmer who told stories but that was not the case, a sort of pirouette to “get rid” of all misunderstandings for those who did not understand his work. He was even nicknamed “cursed writer” because all truth jumps in the face of anyone who feels concerned.

William Faulkner: Fictional Works
William Faulkner: Fictional Works


Our XXIand century has not forgotten it, in 2014, James Franco adapted The Sound and the Fury with a new title The Sound and the Fury. Proof that his work does not age on the merits, sixty years after his death.

For lovers of beautiful letters, we recommend the romantic works of the Pléiade published by Gallimard with: foreword, chronology, notices notes and variants, bibliography by Michel Gresset.


– Pulitzer Prize

– Nobel Prize in literature

– National Book Award (posthumously)

Isaline Remy


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William Faulkner: The contemporary American writer of the 20th century – Le Courrier des Amériques