Mississippi and World Set to Honor Faulkner

By Hyman, Ann | The Florida Times Union, June 29, 1997 | Go to article overview

Mississippi and World Set to Honor Faulkner


Hyman, Ann, The Florida Times Union


We will soon note the 100th anniversary of the birth of William

Faulkner.

There will be big doin's to mark the occasion, especially in

Mississippi, where Faulkner was born in New Albany on Sept. 25,

1897.

Theme of the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, July

27-Aug. 1 at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, is

"Faulkner at 100: Retrospect and Prospect." There also will be a

centennial celebration Sept. 25-27 in the author's birthplace.

The Oxford event, sponsored by the Center for the Study of

Southern Culture, will attract scholars and fans from all over

the world to talk about Faulkner and his work, and to listen to

one another.

There will be lectures and panels, exhibits and special events,

tours, entertainments, total immersion in Southern culture from

the light and heat in Mississippi in August to fried catfish and

cold beer down a country road from Oxford in Taylor, Miss. There

will be tall and true tales of Faulkner told by friends and

relations.

Once upon a time, Faulkner was not a cause for celebration in

his hometown. Why, he was a disgrace. His books were considered

scandalous and profane, and he was considered odd and often in

his cups.

A librarian at the Ole Miss library told a student who asked

for one of Faulkner's books, way back, that the library had none

and, furthermore, would never have one.

Now, sentences from Faulkner's great speech about literature

and the ascendancy of the human spirit, delivered when he

accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature, are carved on the

library's walls and everybody's proud to claim him.

Faulkner lore is an industry in Oxford.

Faulkner is sometimes described as the greatest writer of the

20th century.

He is described as the greatest American writer of the 20th

century.

He is called the greatest Southern writer of all time.

I don't know that all the attention paid to getting the right

twist on Faulkner's greatness is time and thought well-spent. He

was a great writer, in the 20th century, in the world, in

America, in the South.

There has been no other like him.

But, Faulkner was also a very difficult writer. …

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