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Faulkner and His Contemporaries

Faulkner and His Contemporaries

Copyright Date: 2004
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    Faulkner and His Contemporaries
    Book Description:

    Although he spent the bulk of his life in Oxford, Mississippi-far removed from the intellectual centers of modernism and the writers who created it-William Faulkner (1897-1962) proved to be one of the American novelists who most comprehensively grasped modernism. In his fiction he tested its tenets in the most startling and insightful ways.

    What, then, did such contemporaries as Ernest Hemingway, Eudora Welty, and Walker Evans think of his work? How did his times affect and accept what he wrote?

    Faulkner and His Contemporariesexplores the relationship between the Nobel laureate, ensconced in his "postage stamp of native soil," and the world of letters within which he created his masterpieces.

    In this anthology, essays focus on such topics as how Faulkner's literary antecedents (in particular, Willa Cather and Joseph Conrad) influenced his writing, his literary/aesthetic feud with rival Ernest Hemingway, and the common themes he shares with fellow southerners Welty and Evans.

    Several essays examine the environment in which Faulkner worked. Deborah Clarke concentrates on the rise of the automobile industry. W. Kenneth Holditch shows how the city of New Orleans acted as a major force in Faulkner's fiction, and Grace Elizabeth Hale examines how the civil rights era of Faulkner's later career compelled him to deal with his ideas about race and rebellion in new ways.

    Joseph R. Urgo is chair of the English department at the University of Mississippi. His many books includeIn the Age of Distraction, from the University Press of Mississippi.

    Ann J. Abadie is associate director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, and co-editor of publications in the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Series.

    eISBN: 978-1-60473-058-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xxvi)
    Joseph R. Urgo

    Strange and contrary impressions come to mind with the conference title Faulkner and His Contemporaries. Surely, he must have had some, thought he did. Some writer’s names come to mind immediately. Ernest Hemingway, considered by many, then and now, to have been a rival, with whom Faulkner exchanged words in print. But only in print: the two writers never met, never seemed even to want to meet. Willa Cather is another, with whom Faulkner had a career-long intertextual dialogue, again, in print; they may have met in 1931 at a Knopf party, but there is no evidence except testimony that...

  4. Note on the Conference
    (pp. xxvii-xxx)
  5. Tribute to Jimmy Faulkner (1923–2001)
    (pp. xxxi-2)
    Donald M. Kartiganer
  6. Traveling with Faulkner: A Tale of Myth, Contemporaneity, and Southern Letters
    (pp. 3-20)
    Houston A. Baker Jr.

    Analyzing William Faulkner’s relationship to contemporaries is an expansive chore. His life covered more than sixty years and found him traveling abroad and cross regionally in the United States, joining convivial associates in New York, New Orleans, Paris, and Los Angeles. To ask of his contemporaries, therefore, requires selectivity. If we look to Faulkner’s earlier contemporaries—or better, influences—we discover a poetical Faulkner under the tutelage of his friend and first mentor Phil Stone. At Stone’s urging, Faulkner apprenticed himself to romantic and late-romantic poets such as Keats and Shelley, Aubrey Beardsley, and Algernon Swinburne. By the 1920s, however,...

  7. William Faulkner and Other Famous Creoles
    (pp. 21-39)
    W. Kenneth Holditch

    Please pardon the repetition if you who have heard this anecdote before, but I cannot indeed forbear. When in 1958 I was at the point of concluding my graduate course work in the English department at Ole Miss and began to consider a dissertation subject, my thoughts turned quite naturally to William Faulkner. He had been, after all, very much a presence in my life: I was born six miles from his birthplace, had always known members of his family, and had read everything he had published up to that point. That reading had been done first on my own,...

  8. Cather’s War and Faulkner’s Peace: A Comparison of Two Novels, and More
    (pp. 40-53)
    Merrill Maguire Skaggs

    After Judith Wittenberg first published the facts about Faulkner’s several acknowledgments of Willa Cather,¹ I myself analyzed specific literary loans she made to him. For example, Faulkner’s second novel,Mosquitoes, recycles numerous items from Cather’sThe Professor’s House,² while details fromMyÁntoniareappear many times in Faulkner’s major fiction,³ andDeath Comes for the Archbishopenjoys a resurrection almost immediately inThe Sound and the Fury.⁴ Cather, in turn, seemed to address Faulkner directly in her last published story.⁵ In this essay, however, I want to confront the much more challenging question of where it all started. Granted that...

  9. “Getting Good at Doing Nothing”: Faulkner, Hemingway, and the Fiction of Gesture
    (pp. 54-73)
    Donald M. Kartiganer

    They never met, which is probably just as well, because as writers and as personalities they seemed to be completely opposite in almost every respect. As literary stylists they created the two most distinctive and influential forms of prose fiction in America in the first half of the twentieth century. Hemingway perfected an art of exclusion. The right words were the rarest currency, their value secured by their survival of the writer’s ruthless stripping away of all the words that would not work. His essential tool was the blue pencil that signaled “cut”; his essential gift what he referred to...

  10. The Faulkner–Hemingway Rivalry
    (pp. 74-92)
    George Monteiro

    Carlos Baker, Hemingway’s first biographer and editor of his letters, reports that Wyndham Lewis’s essay on Hemingway inMen without Art(1934) so infuriated Hemingway that “he broke a vase of flowers in Sylvia Beach’s bookshop.”² Yet Lewis’s “Dumb Ox” essay starts out promisingly enough in Hemingway’s favor, one might think, with a comparison of Hemingway and Faulkner as artists: “Ernest Hemingway is a very considerable artist in prose-fiction. Besides this, or with this, his work possesses a penetrating quality, like an animal speaking. Compared often with Hemingway, Faulkner is an excellent, big-strong, novelist: but a conscious artist he cannot...

  11. William Faulkner and Henry Ford: Cars, Men, Bodies, and History as Bunk
    (pp. 93-112)
    Deborah Clarke

    Listening to these alleged responses to why the chicken crossed the road, no one could confuse one individual for the other. Faulkner, after all, has made his name as one of the most complex of the high modernists, with an incredible sensitivity for language and an obsession with the sense of place and the role of history in determining human identity and fate. Ford, on the other hand, was the great simplifier. He made his fortune by making cars easy—easy to drive, easy to repair, and easy to assemble. He had a simple formula for success—keep the prices...

  12. Surveying the Postage-Stamp Territory: Eudora Welty, Elizabeth Spencer, and Ellen Douglas
    (pp. 113-131)
    Peggy Whitman Prenshaw

    In the spring of 1936, perhaps just at the time that William Faulkner was drawing a map to accompany the publication of his new novel,Absalom, Absalom!, Eudora Welty was awaiting the publication of her short story “Death of a Traveling Salesman” in the little magazineManuscript. For Welty, it was the launching of what would be a long writing career. For Faulkner, it was a culminating moment of his vast ambition to gather the Southern story between the covers of one book. He identified his sketched map as “Jefferson, Yoknapatawpha Co., Mississippi, Area 2400 sq. mi., Population, Whites, 6298,...

  13. “Blacks and Other Very Dark Colors”: William Faulkner and Eudora Welty
    (pp. 132-154)
    Danièle Pitavy-Souques

    The late 1940s and early 1950s were times of national hysteria and war on social and political heretics, times which deeply affected the South with the rise of the civil rights movement and serious commitment for or against a reconsideration of racial issues, and which affected the nation at large with the fear of communism inside the country. Such times could not leave American writers indifferent. Each, following his or her own aesthetic sensibilities, felt the urge to produce works that translated the social and political turmoil as well as reflected a deeper vision of literature and its role.


  14. Invisible Men: William Faulkner, His Contemporaries, and the Politics of Loving and Hating the South in the Civil Rights Era; or, How Does a Rebel Rebel?
    (pp. 155-172)
    Grace Elizabeth Hale

    In the 1950s, William Faulkner was finally famous. The Noble Prize in 1950 and the National Book Award and Pulitzer several years later had given him a celebrity at home he had long enjoyed abroad. On a State Department trip to Brazil, Faulkner eloquently argued that the world needed to address racial conflict, its most pressing problem. For a moment, that elusive identity, the public man of letters, seemed within his grasp.²

    Yet Faulkner instead made a fool of himself. When, in 1956, a federal judge ordered the University of Alabama to accept African American student Autherine Lucy, Faulkner sought...

  15. William Faulkner and Guimarães Rosa: A Brazilian Connection
    (pp. 173-188)
    M. Thomas inge and Donária Romeiro Carvalho Inge

    Except for James Joyce, few other modern writers have influenced the shape and nature of twentieth-century fiction more profoundly than William Faulkner. It is commonplace to note that nowhere was this influence stronger than in South America, where writer after writer has testified to the power of his example in developing their own voices and artistic visions. Among them were Jorge Luis Borges, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García-Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Juan Rulfo, Julio Cortázar, Juan Carlos Onettti, José Donoso, and Isabel Allende, a veritable who’s who of Spanish American literature.¹ Less examined, however, has been his presence and influence in...

  16. Contributors
    (pp. 189-192)
  17. Index
    (pp. 193-195)