Special Collections Department
A Centenary Celebration
Checklist of the Exhibition
Priscilla A. Thomas
University of Delaware
William Faulkner: A Centenary Celebration, an exhibition in the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery of the Morris Library, pays tribute to one of America's most prolific and profound authors. The exhibition was on view from March 17 to June 20, 1997. The Special Collections Exhibition Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily and Tuesday evenings until 8:00 p.m. The exhibit curator is Priscilla Thomas, Senior Assistant Librarian in the Special Collections Department.
William Faulkner, one of America's most discussed and immortalized authors, was born on September 25, 1897 into a notable Mississippi family. In his youth, Faulkner was somewhat of an unpolished character. Economic life for the young Faulkner was not, perhaps, as easy for him as it had been for previous generations, and he worked at a variety of jobs including a stint as postmaster in Oxford, Mississippi. Like so many other authors, he drew on his experiences of living in the small rural towns of Mississippi, joining the Royal Air Force in Canada, living with other artists and writers in New Orleans and New York as well as his journeys abroad which provided Faulkner with events and people he fictionalized in the pages of his many works. The fictitious Yoknapatawpha county, of which Faulkner appointed himself "sole owner and proprietor," brings together a group of characters who suffer in the present unable to free themselves from the past visited upon them by their own ancestors. The themes important to Faulkner were time and the ownership of both land and people, and these themes are played out over and over again in his phenomenal literary production. Faulkner's professional writing started in 1919 and ended with his death in 1962. His most productive years offered readers about one book a year for twenty years and his contribution to American literature, and world literature, is significant.
Literary influences on Faulkner's style included Sherwood Anderson, Charles Baudelaire, Algernon Charles Swinburne, A.E. Housman, and Francois Villon. Out of a strong traditional approach to poetry and storytelling, Faulkner created his own unique literary style which utilized stream-of-consciousness, multiple viewpoints very often expressed by a character's shift from conscious to unconscious thought, and time shifts that aren't always presented sequentially. Faulkner used this seemingly-chaotic style to weave a web of ideas together as it had never been done before. It allowed him the ability to impress upon readers his views on the themes of time, land, loyalty, and the human condition.
Faulkner, always an experimenter, has given the world his genius in the form of poetry, short stories, plays, novels, even illustrations and anecdote. Today, William Faulkner has managed to stay popular because readers, although finding his literary puzzles challenging, have discovered that his themes are enduring and important to all; the beauty in the delivery is worth the effort he demands from you, the reader. William Faulkner: A Centenary Celebration provides a wonderful sampling of William Faulkner's published works, all of which are drawn from the University of Delaware Library's Special Collections Department
|Faulkner: Novels||Faulkner: Translations||Faulkner: Stories and Poetry||Faulkner: Other Writings|