The Life of William Faulkner: The Past Is Never Dead, 1897-1934 Volume 1

(Author) (Prepared by)
Product Details
$34.95  $32.50
University of Virginia Press
Publish Date
6.6 X 9.4 X 1.3 inches | 1.9 pounds
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About the Author

Carl Rollyson, Professor Emeritus at Baruch College, The City University of New York, has published numerous biographies of literary figures such as Sylvia Plath, Susan Sontag, Lillian Hellman, Amy Lowell, Rebecca West, and Norman Mailer. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New Criterion, and the Washington Post.


It has now been fifteen years since the publication of the last full-length biography of one of the twentieth century's most important writers, so the moment is ripe for a life of Faulkner with something new to offer readers and scholars. Rollyson has delivered a book that taps into new primary and secondary resources, and that draws on his own unique expertise as a professional biographer. This is a valuable new biography, whose sound, thorough research and judicious interpretive insights make for an appealing, balanced book.

--Jay Watson, University of Mississippi, author of William Faulkner and the Faces of Modernity

This is the most comprehensive, most accurate, and most revealing biography of Faulkner yet written. Thoroughly and painstakingly researched, it draws upon sources and materials not available to previous biographers. It will almost certainly come to be viewed as the definitive biography of the famous author.

--Robert W. Hamblin, Founding Director of the Center for Faulkner Studies

Carl Rollyson has done a fine job here, bringing together a vast range of source materials, drawing a sharp and convincing portrait of Faulkner. This reads like a good story, and it is. It's a great story, in fact, and all admirers of Faulkner should be grateful.

--Jay Parini, author of One Matchless Time: A Life of William Faulkner

A deeply detailed account of the 1949 Nobel laureate's early life and work.... Throughout, the author, an expert biographer, delivers arresting details and telling images from his subject's life... A filling, satisfying feast for Faulkner aficionados.

--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

[Rollyson] suggest[s], tantalizingly, that Faulkner's Hollywood stint affected his novel writing.

--Publishers Weekly

Despite Faulkner's objections to biography, he has not lacked for them....[Rollyson], however, is the first to examine all 105 boxes of material that Faulkner authority Carvel Collins collected for his unwritten account of the author. Tracing Faulkner's career through roughly the middle of the journey of his life, Rollyson reveals the impulses of Faulkner's fiction and shows how the author converted his experiences and those of his family and friends into poetry, short stories, and novels.... VERDICT: Rollyson's astute analysis makes not only for a good story but also a welcome addition to Faulkner studies.

--Library Journal

The Life of William Faulkner is the result of a remarkable amount of research and is clearly a work of love and respect for its subject and his writing. Its bibliography is 15 pages long, and it's difficult to imagine that anyone interested in Faulkner could require a supplementary reference after the second volume is released.

--Washington Independent Review of Books

Rollyson's erudite narrative chronicles Faulkner's first thirty-seven years--from his childhood in Oxford to the publishing of masterpieces like The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, and Light in August--but it also gives careful attention to Faulkner's odd personal foibles (feigning a leg injury he supposedly sustained as a pilot in World War I, for instance--in reality he never took flight) and argues for a greater significance than has been previously acknowledged of his profitable career as a screenwriter in Hollywood.

--The New Criterion