Original and rare Faulkner material showcased


Martin Dain Collection

The Faulkner Room in the J.D. Williams Library is displaying the many facets of Nobel Prize-winning writer William Faulkner’s career. “William Faulkner’s Books: A Bibliographic Exhibit” features 20 cases of work by Faulkner, focusing on the writing, publication and dissemination of the author’s books. Items on display include early manuscript drafts, first editions and limited editions.

This display marks the first full-room Faulkner exhibit since 1997, when “A Faulkner 100” was set up to celebrate the 100th birthday of the famous author.

The collection includes Faulkner’s most famous pieces of works, such as Intruder in the Dust and As I Lay Dying. The display shows the few changes made to Faulkner’s original holograph manuscript of the latter.

A first edition copy of The Sound and the Fury is just one of the many special items on display. The introduction to this book was thought to be lost but was later found in the Rowan Oak Papers.

“In this handwritten draft, Faulkner discusses the very personal act of writing and the importance of leaving ‘something behind you when you die, but it’s better still to have made something that you yourself can die with: Much better,’” said Lauren Rogers, library specialist.

Absalom, Absalom!’s case displays a handwritten draft page that features a rare graphic chart that Faulkner created to trace the flow of information among the book’s characters. Realizing that readers might need help navigating the complex narrative, the publisher of Absalom, Absalom! included in the book a timeline and a foldout map of Yoknapatawpha County drawn by Faulkner. An enlarged version of this map appears in the back of the display case.

Some cases feature books published in different languages, such as Light in August, and one case displays a hand-bound and illustrated copy of The Marionettes, a one-act play in verse form from 1921.

“I hope that people will connect or reconnect with Faulkner and get an idea of the expanse of his influence and literary heritage and, in turn, the cultural history of Mississippi and the American South,” said Jennifer Ford, head of archives and special collections and associate professor.

Photographs are also part of the special display. Among the portraits of Faulkner are his earliest promotional photographs, taken by Col. J.R. Cofield. Also on exhibit are photographs by Martin Dain, which feature Faulkner, as well as the landscape of Oxford and Lafayette County. Prints of these works are available for purchase from Special Collections.

“I feel it is a great way for all of our patrons to come away with an idea of the magnitude of Faulkner’s work. We welcome our visitors into Special Collections to learn more about Faulkner,” Ford said.

The Department of Archives and Special Collections is located on the third floor of the J.D. Williams Library and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, visit www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/archives.


Faulkner Exhibit Reception

An opening reception for the Faulkner display was held Thursday (May 1) in the Faulkner Room of the J.D. Williams Library. Jay Watson, Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies and UM professor of English, presented a lecture about the collection and Faulkner’s work. From 2009 to 2012, Watson served as president of the William Faulkner Society. He is currently director of the annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference at the University of Mississippi and co-editor of the forthcoming conference volumes, “Faulkner’s Geographies,” “Fifty Years After Faulkner” and “Faulkner and the Black Literatures of the Americas.”

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