The Nobel Prize in Literature 1949
Born: 25 September 1897, New Albany, MS, USA
Died: 6 July 1962, Byhalia, MS, USA
Residence at the time of the award: USA
Prize motivation: “for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel”
William Faulkner received his Nobel Prize one year later, in 1950.
Prize share: 1/1
During William Faulkner’s upbringing in Mississippi, his mother Maud, grandmother Leila and the family’s African-American nanny, Caroline “Callie” Barr, played an important role in his artistic development. Maud and Leila painted, photographed and read, and Faulkner’s lifelong relationship with “Callie” opened his eyes to injustice, racism and sexism. Yoknapatawpha County, his fictional literary universe, resembled the surroundings in which Faulkner grew up. Writing about a familiar environment helped him find his voice and become an experimental writer, prepared to take literary risks.
William Faulkner generally is regarded as one of the most significant American writers of all time. Faulkner wrote 13 novels and many short stories but started as a poet. With his breakthrough novel, The Sound and the Fury, he began to use stream of consciousness to portray a character’s flow of inner thoughts. His books often are told from the point of view of several characters and contain accurately rendered colloquialisms combined with long sentences full of imagery and language that is sometimes surreal.
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