Faulkner, William: As I lay dying

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BARRON`S BOOK NOTES WILLIAM FAULKNER`S AS I LAY DYING WILLIAM FAULKNER: THE AUTHOR AND HIS TIMES No one who knew William Faulkner in high school would have voted him most likely to succeed. He dropped out in the eleventh grade. I never did like school, he said, and I stopped going as soon as I got big enough to play hooky and not be caught at it. Failure seemed attached to him like a tin can. His girlfriend married a man whose prospects were better than Faulkner`s. The U.S. Army Air Corps wouldn`t take him during World War I--he was too short. In his twenties, he seemed incapable of applying himself to anything. He went to the University of Mississippi, did miserably in English, and quit after a year. Though he managed to get a job running the university`s post office, he was so incompetent he was forced to resign. He was even removed as the local scoutmaster because he drank too much. The litany of his shortcomings stretches on: his almost paralyzing shyness, his inability to write memorable poetry, his years as a problem drinker. And yet, this failure produced 90 short stories, 19 novels, and a play that was performed on Broadway. In 1950 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the highest recognition any writer can get. Today, he is considered one of the greatest writers the United States has ever produced. How did this happen? A complete answer would have to take into account Faulkner`s special gifts as a writer, developed over a long period of apprenticeship. As I Lay ...

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