Author(s): William Faulkner
The story of the dissolution of the once aristocratic Compson family, told through the minds of three of its members, including the imbecilci Benjy - 'the tale told by an idiot'. In very different ways they prove inadequate to their own family history, unable to deal with either the responsibility of the past or the imperatives of the present . The structure of the book - three monologues followed by an objective account of the family history - operates in the same way as a classical symphony, as each 'movement' reacts against, enlarges and qualifies the others. The title implies a tale 'signifying nothing', but this is a ruse - Faulkner's vision is tragic in the full sense of the word. His honesty and his craft separate us from the fate of his characters - by teaching us to understand them he gives us a chance to prevail.
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 20040923
Born in 1897 in New Albany, Mississippi, William Faulkner was the son of a family proud of their prominent role in the history of the south. He grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, and left high school at fifteen to work in his grandfather's bank. Rejected by the US military in 1915, he joined the Canadian flyers with the RAF, but was still in training when the war ended. Returning home, he studied at the University of Mississippi and visited Europe briefly in 1925. His first poem was published in The New Republic in 1919. His first book of verse and early novels followed, but his major work began with the publication of The Sound and the Fury in 1929. As I Lay Dying (1930), Sanctuary (1931), Light in August (1932), Absalom, Absalom! (1936) and The Wild Palms (1939) are the key works of his great creative period leading up to Intruder in the Dust (1948). During the 1930s, he worked in Hollywood on film scripts, notably The Blue Lamp, co-written with Raymond Chandler. William Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949 and the Pulitzer Prize for The Reivers just before his death in July1962.