Faulkner, Modernism, and Film: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha, 1978

Faulkner, Modernism, and Film: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha, 1978

Faulkner, Modernism, and Film: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha, 1978

Faulkner, Modernism, and Film: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha, 1978

Excerpt

Malcolm Cowley, guest lecturer for the University of Mississippi's first Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference in 1974, returned to William Faulkner's hometown to speak at the fifth of these annual conferences that have been attended by persons from every state in the U.S. and from several foreign countries. Quite appropriately, Cowley opened the 1978 meeting by asking why Faulkner's work has elicited an overwhelming response from a devoted body of readers and scholars. Since the Mississippi writer has attracted readers from around the world and has in recent years received more critical and scholarly attention than any other American writer, with thousands of articles and more than two hundred books devoted entirely to his fiction, Cowley's question is a challenging one. Faulkner himself probably could not have answered it, for in 1953 he wrote, in a letter to his friend Joan Williams, "And now I realize . . . what an amazing gift I had: uneducated in every formal sense, without even very literate, let alone literary, companions, yet to have made the things I made. I dont know where it came from." One answer, though, is given in Cowley's Magic in Faulkner,printed here as the first of eleven essays originally presented as lectures at the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference held on the Oxford campus of the University of Mississippi on July 30 through August 4, 1978.

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