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Book Title: Faulkner: A Biography|
The author of the book: Joseph Blotner
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 21.14 MB
ISBN 13: 9781617031106
Edition: University Press of Mississippi
Date of issue: December 1st 2010
Read full description of the books:William Faulkner (1897-1962) remains the pre- eminent literary chronicler of the American South and a giant of American arts and letters. Creatively obsessed with problems of race, identity, power, politics, and family dynamics, he wrote novels, stories, and lectures that continue to shape our understanding of the region's promises and problems. His experiments and inventions in form and style have influenced generations of writers.
Originally published in 1974 as a two-volume edition and extensively updated and condensed in a 1991 reissue, Joseph Blotner's "Faulkner: A Biography" remains the quintessential resource on the Nobel laureate's life and work. The Chicago Tribune said, "This is an overwhelming book, indispensable for anyone interested in the life and works of our greatest contemporary novelist." That invaluable 1991 edition is now back in print.
Blotner, a friend and one-time colleague of Faulkner's, brings a vivid, personalized tone to the biography, as well as a sense of masterful, comprehensive scholarship. Using letters, inter-views, reminiscences, critical work, and other primary sources, Blotner creates a detailed and nuanced portrait of Faulkner from his birth to his death. The revision of the original 1974 biogra-phy incorporates commentary on the plethora of Faulkner criticism, family memoirs, and post-humously published works that appeared in the wake of the first version. It also examines collections of letters and other materials that only came to light after the original publication.
Featuring a detailed chronology of Faulkner's life and a genealogical chart of his family, "Faulkner" is authoritative and essential both for literary scholars and for anyone wanting to know about the life of one of the nation's foremost authors. Blotner's masterpiece is the template for all biographical work on the acclaimed writer.
Joseph Blotner, Charlottesville, Virginia, is professor emeritus of English at University of Michigan and the author of several books, including "Robert Penn Warren: A Biography," "The Modern American Political Novel," and "The Fiction of J. D. Salinger." His work has appeared in the "New York Times Book Review," "Yale Review," "American Literature," and else-where.
Read information about the authorFrom The University of Virginia Profiles
Joseph Blotner and the 'Unexpected Life'
Nov. 6, 2007 — When poet and novelist Robert Penn Warren heard of the death of his friend John Crowe Ransom, he said that Ransom's life was in the end his chief work of art. The same can be said of Warren biographer Joseph Blotner, the former University of Virginia faculty member who made a career of turning lives into art.
Blotner is best known as the biographer of two of America's greatest writers, Warren and William Faulkner. He also wrote indispensable scholarly works, including the "Modern American Political Novel" and the "Fiction of J.D. Salinger." Blotner edited the Library of America editions of Faulkner's novels and short stories, and received accolades that ranged from Guggenheim fellowships to membership in the French Legion of Honor for his work in Southern literature and in particular his Faulkner scholarship.
Blotner, along with English professor Frederick Gwynn and English department chairman Floyd Stovall, persuaded then-University President Colgate Darden to hire Faulkner as U.Va.'s writer-in-residence in 1957.
Once Faulkner was on board, Blotner and Gwynn coordinated thousands of requests for the writer's time, and Blotner and Faulkner became friends in the course of the author's two residencies, in 1957 and 1958. A result of their friendship was one of the greatest literary biographies in American letters about one of the most inscrutable subjects imaginable.
A prisoner of war
Blotner took a somewhat circuitous route to academic stardom. Born in Scotch Plains, N.J., in 1923, he was an only child who attended public schools and then Drew University as an undergraduate.
World War II interrupted the young Blotner's studies. He served as a bombardier aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress. On his sixth bombing mission over Frankfurt, Germany, his plane was shot down. Blotner was held in a German prisoner-of-war camp for 6 1/2 months until Gen. George S. Patton's Third Army liberated the camp on April 29, 1945.
Blotner's account of the POW camps was bleak. "We didn't have enough to eat," he recalled. "We made three different forced marches from one camp to another, which was pretty arduous in a tough winter that winter in Germany. There was always an uncertainty about what was going to happen to us at the end of the war."
Some popular movies about German POW camps, like "Stalag 17," are fairly accurate in the physical description of the camps, Blotner said, but "there were no comic Germans that I was aware of."
Blotner completed his studies on the GI Bill, earning his M.A. in English at Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in English at the University of Pennsylvania in 1951. By the time he completed his graduate work, another conflict, the Korean War, interrupted his career, but in a different way. "Because of the Korean War, which drained a large percentage of the students out of academia, it was a while before I could get a job as a teacher," Blotner said. His first job in academia was at the University of Idaho.
Faulkner and the University
Blotner later came to the University of Virginia, where he helped arrange Faulkner's residencies. During Faulkner's time on Grounds, he taught courses and held his now-famous question-and-answer sessions, giving University students an unprecedented look into one of America's great literary minds. Blotner and Gwynn published edited transcripts of these sessions in "Faulkner in the University."
Faulkner was comfortable teaching, according to Blotner, having had similar classroom experiences at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. When he stood before students at U.Va., he was remarkably forthcoming about the writing process. Blotner recalled, "Although Faulkner said he was nervous about it, it was something with which he was familiar, which he did brilliantly. He once said, ‘I just say whatever I think will sound good,' which was in part true a
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