William Faulkner and Gabriel García Márquez are two of the most important seminal novelists to appear on the literary horizon of North and South America respectively in the twentieth century. Both have been translated into the major languages of Europe, thereby achieving broad international respect and acclaim from many corners of the globe. Numerous literary prizes have been bestowed on both writers, with the Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to Faulkner in 1950 certainly the most significant.
At about the time Faulkner was preparing to make the journey to Stockholm to receive the Nobel award, Gabriel García Márquez was beginning an uncertain career in journalism and creative writing on the Caribbean coast of his native Colombia. Forced to abandon his law studies in Bogotá due to the violence that followed the assassination on 9 April 1948 of the Liberal leader, Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, García Márquez moved to Cartagena where he was first introduced to the mysterious land of Yoknapatawpha County. There, and later in Barranquilla, he was to begin an assiduous and at times frustrating study of the lion of North American letters. Friends and mentors in Cartagena and Barranquilla were to guide him in this pursuit, and his novels and short stories of this early period are imbued with the presence of Faulkner. This presence—be it at times an influence and at other moments a confluence of the minds—is still evident in García Márquez's most recent fiction, but the impact of Faulkner in his work has taken a significant turn since 1967.
The present study will seek to avoid a repetitious litany of the countless critical opinions that have preceded it. The focus will be on Gabriel García Márquez, his literary world, and on those moments when the presence of Faulkner is clearly evident in his thoughts and writings.
I am deeply indebted to many colleagues and friends in the United States, Spanish America, and France who have contributed in great measure to the realization of this project; to the College of Arts and Sciences for generous research grants; and to Texas Tech University for a Faculty Development Leave that enabled me to pursue this study. It is a pleasure to recognize my obligation to the librarians and curators of the following universities, institutions, and newspaper archives: the Luis Angel Arango Library and the Caro y Cuervo Institute, Bogotá; El Espectador and El Tiempo, Bogotá; El Universal, Cartagena; El Heraldo, Barranquilla; the Latin American, Portuguese, and Spanish Division (now the Hispanic Division) of the Library of Congress; the Alderman Library rare book collection of the University of Virginia; the Mississippi Collection of the University of Mississippi; and the Texas Tech University Library. Finally, for assistance in the preparation of the manuscript I wish to acknowledge the valuable help given by the Institute for Hispanic Studies of Texas Tech University.