Magical Realist Biographies: Henry James

henry-jamesHenry James

Born: 15 April 1843

Died:   28 February 1916

Little known facts:

Henry James is cited more than a thousand times in the Oxford English Dictionary

Henry James’ writing recently was used to promote Rolls Royce automobiles; the use of “Live all you can, it’s a mistake not to” (originally spoken by The Ambassadors’ Lambert Strether) was highly ironic, considering the novel’s treatment of mass marketing.


Much better known facts:

In 1915 he became a British citizen as a protest of the US’s refusal to enter the Great War.

James’ novels contain understanding and thoughtfully drawn portraits of women; James himself was a closeted homosexual, but remained sensitive to basic sexual differences and the fact that he was a male.


Henry James was an American-born English essayist, critic, and a prominent 19th-century author of literary realism with well-established credentials in literature, psychology, and philosophy. He wrote 20 novels, 112 stories, 12 plays and a number of works in literary criticism.

James was born in New York City into a wealthy family that included well-known intellectuals such as his father, Henry James Sr., and siblings William James, philosopher and psychologist, and Alice James, a diarist. Henry Sr. saw to it that his family spent many years in Europe where his children were tutored in languages and literature, including the classics of English, American, French, Russian, and German literature. At nineteen James attended Harvard Law School briefly, but was more interested in literature. He published his first short story, “A Tragedy of Errors” two years later, and 1871-72 he contributed to the Nation and Atlantic Monthly.

His first novel, Watch and Ward (1871), appeared serially in the Atlantic and was written while he was visiting Venice and Paris. In Watch and Ward he told a story of a bachelor who adopted a twelve-year-old girl and planned to marry her.

James left America to live most of his adult life in Europe, living for a time in Paris before moving to England. In 1897 James withdrew from the frenzy of London to the calmer Rye in East Sussex, where he bought “Lamb House” and continued to write.

He declared that his writing models were Dickens, Balzac, Ibsen, and Hawthorne. Many consider his peak in producing fiction to be when he wrote The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Turn of the Screw (1898), and The Ambassadors (1903), and these have received the most intense critical study. He considered The Ambassadors to be his most perfect work and The Portrait of a Lady remains his most popular example of his long fiction.

In 1904 James travelled to America and conducted a lecture tour that inspired a series of essays published in North American Review, Harper’s, The Fortnightly Review then republished in 1907 as The American Scene.

James wrote many narrative romances with highly developed characters in settings that allowed much social commentary on politics, class, and status, as well as explorations of the themes of personal freedom, feminism, and morality. His short stories and novels are known by his use of interior monologue and point of view. His themes often compared the Old World with the New, usually emphasizing American naiveté and European wisdom and decadence. James became widely respected in North America and Europe, earning honorary degrees from Harvard and Oxford Universities, in 1911 and 1912 respectively.

James never married and appeared to live a life of celibacy. He became a British citizen in 1915 after the outbreak of World War I. In 1916 he was awarded the Order of Merit by King George V.

After several years of decline and a stroke, Henry James died of pneumonia on 28 February 1916. His ashes are interred at the Cambridge Cemetery in Massachusetts beneath a stone inscribed “Novelist, Citizen of Two Countries, Interpreter of His Generation On Both Sides Of The Sea”. A memorial stone rests in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey, London.

He is best known for his novels describing Americans encountering Europe and Europeans. His method of writing from the point of view of a character within a tale allowed him to explore issues related to consciousness and perception, and his style in later works has been compared to impressionist painting—entirely in keeping with the fin d’ siècle movement emanating from Vienna exploring the inner worlds and the interplay of subconscious and conscious.

As a psychological novel, The Portrait of a Lady explores the minds of his characters, and to some is almost a work of social science, exploring the differences between Europeans and Americans.

In The Wings of the Dove (1902) the character of Kate Croy is ambiguous—neither good or bad—and her motivations are subject to widely varying conclusions. Kate Croy is one of the first protagonists in American fiction within which an author suggests the interaction of conscious and unconscious mind.

One of James’s most famous tales is “The Turn of the Screw,” first published in Collier’s Weekly, and then with another story in The Two Magics (1898). The protagonist is a governess, working on an isolated and lonely estate in England, who tries to protect her two young charges, Flora and Miles, from the demonic influence of the specters of two former servants. Even though the children skirt her questions about the apparitions, she concludes the children really see them. When she tries to exorcize their ghostly sway, Miles dies in her arms.

The story prompted a debate over the “reality” of the traces and whether her visions were only hallucinations. Early in his career James had scorned “spirit-rappings and ghost-raising,” but in the 1880s he became attentive to the unconscious and the supernatural. Virginia Woolf thought that Henry James’s phantasms had nothing in common with the violent old ghosts and Edmund Wilson concluded that the story was “primarily intended as a characterization of the governess.”

One of James’ lasting examples of early magical realism in his short fiction is “The Jolly Corner.” He presents a mystery for the reader to solve—and ample reason to return for an alternative solution. The central ambiguity is about whether the protagonist, Spencer Brydon, has been hallucinating entirely on his own accord as he struggles with his feelings and perceptions about his “other path” that might have been had he not stayed on Europe for the last twenty years or if he has been teased into tracking and confronting his doppelganger through a delicately orchestrated hoax by Alice Staverton, a woman whose best years were very likely spent waiting for him to return from Europe.

James’s work spoke to a limited audience of educated readers in his time, but after his passing, some American critics expressed enmity towards him for his long expatriation and his naturalization as a British citizen.

However, James is valued today for his psychological and moral realism, his masterful creation of characters, his playful humor, and his command of the language.

In addition to his prolific production of fiction, James was a well-established literary critic and a major contributor to the history of the development of the modern novel in that his essay The Art of Fiction (1884) argued that freedom in a writer’s choosing both content and approach would provide the basis for the extension of vigor in narrative fiction over time.



“A novel is in its broadest sense a personal, a direct impression of life: that, to begin with, constitutes its value, which is greater or less according to the intensity of the impression.” (From The Art of Fiction, 1885)

“It is a real stroke of luck for a particular country that the capital of the human race happens to be British. Surely every other people would have it theirs if they could. Whether the English deserve to hold it any longer might be an interesting field of inquiry; but as they have not yet let it slip the writer of these lines professes without scruple that the arrangement is to his personal taste.

James wrote in 1908 that “Peter Quint and Miss Jessel are not “ghosts” at all, as we now know the ghost, but goblins, elves, imps, demons as loosely constructed as those of the old trials for witchcraft; if not, more pleasingly, fairies of the legendary order, wooing their victims forth to see them dance under the moon.”

“To be completely great a work of art must lift up the heart.”



“Despite the scruples and delicate complexities of James his work suffers from a major defect: the absence of life.” — Jorge Luis Borges

“Please tell me what you find in Henry James. …we have his works here, and I read, and I can’t find anything but faintly tinged rose water, urbane and sleek, but vulgar and pale as Walter Lamb. Is there really any sense in it?” –Virginia Woolf writing to Lytton Strachey

E.M. Forster criticism of James included his queasiness in the writing about sex and labeled his style as opaque because of his reliance on long sentences and “Latinate language.”



The American (1877), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Turn of the Screw (1898), The Ambassadors (1903), The Golden Bowl (1904)



Elected to American Academy of Arts and Letters (1904) Honorary degree from Harvard (1911)

Honorary degree from Oxford University (1912)

Order of Merit (1916)



Eric R. Kandel. The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain From Vienna 1900 to the Present. New York: Random House, 2012.

David Young and Keith Hollaman (eds.). Magical Realist Fiction: An Anthology. New York: Longman Inc., 1984.


Richard Perkins is a regular contributor to The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review and a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University MA in Writing Program. He is writing an historical novel and revising a collection of connected stories.

Magical Realist Biographies: Italo Calvino


Born:  15 October 1923

Died:   19 September 1985

Little known facts:

The first thing Calvino ever published was a drawing that appeared in a magazine published by a drawing correspondence school; he was their youngest pupil at eleven years old.

The dense forests and abundant fauna in Calvino’s early fictionderived from a small working farm on which his father pioneered the cultivation of what were then exotic fruits.


Much better known facts:

Italo Calvino was born in Santiago de Las Vegas, a suburb of Havana, Cuba in 1923, the son of two Italian agronomists.

Calvino’s mother encouraged both Italo and his younger brother to join the Garibaldi Brigades, a clandestine Communist group fighting the Germans in WWII.


Italo Calvino was an Italian journalist and a writer of short stories and novels, best known for his trilogy Our Ancestors (1952–1959), his collection of short stories Cosmicomics (1965), and novels Invisible Cities (1972) and If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler (1979). While Invisible Cities, a collection of poems in prose, was more successful in literary circles, Italian Folktales was a public success in the U.S. where his image has been that of a writer of tales and fantasy.

Two years after Calvino’s birth, his family returned to Italy, settling in San Remo on the Ligurian Coast where his father directed an experimental floriculture station. They also had a country house in the hills, where Calvino’s father actually developed the techniques for growing grapefruit and avocados. In that environment, Italo admired Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book and developed early interests in drawing and in stories—much to the dismay of the two scientists who had brought him into the world.

Italo studied in San Remo and enrolled in the agriculture department of the University of Turin to satisfy his parents. Calvino transferred to the University of Florence in 1943 and reluctantly passed three more exams in agriculture. By the end of the year, the Germans had occupied Liguria. At twenty years old, Calvino refused military service and went into hiding. He reasoned that, of all the partisan groups, the communists were the best organized, and in the spring of 1944, he joined the Garibaldi Brigades, fighting in the Maritime Alps until 1945. Years later, he said politics was necessarily the first phase of his adult life and it held great importance for him because of the traumas involved in surviving the German occupation.

After the war, Calvino began writing about his wartime experiences. He published his first stories after resuming his studies and shifting his focus from agriculture to literature. During this period, he wrote his first novel, The Path to the Nest of Spiders and had already started working for his publisher while he finished his degree.

In this postwar period Calvino joined the Italian Communist Party but soon began to feel increasingly that “the idea of constructing a true democracy in Italy using the model—or myth—of Russia became harder and harder to reconcile.”

In 1952 he produced a novella, The Cloven Viscount that appeared in a series of books by emerging writers called Tokens. Reviewers outside the Party had praise for the work, but his departure from his initial realist style garnered criticism from within the Party. He resigned from the Party in 1956 when the Soviet Union invaded Hungary.

Calvino published a collection of Italian folktales in 1956 and the next year brought out The Baron in the Trees. In 1959 he published The Nonexistent Knight. These two combined with The Cloven Viscount are found today in the volume Our Ancestors. In 1965 he published Cosmicomics, and in 1979 he published his novel If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. The last works published in his lifetime were a novel Mr. Palomar (1983) and a collection of stories Difficult Loves (1984).

The range of Calvino’s literary production displayed a highly versatile capability to write as a neo-realist and to transition to post-modernist with varying degrees of movement through fabulism to fantasy. He became a well-respected post modernist, declaring that his central theme was the “conflict between the world’s choices and man’s obsession with making sense of them.”

One of his better examples anthologized in English is “The Distance of the Moon.” It is a tale that begins with a premise that a theory about the Earth and the Moon once being very close (attributable to British astronomer and geophysicist George H. Darwin) was in fact true many years ago. The fantastic component involves the people existing at the time, complete with economic motives and organization, with longings for people and things (many unattainable), and choices that had to be made by them as they recognized the Moon was easing away from the Earth. The narrator was a participant and is still trying to make sense of the choices people made at the time. Besides that set of considerations, the reader will find the source of the title of The Moon Milk Review—the predecessor to The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review.

In a collection of his published and unpublished essays produced after his death and at the close of the century, the frame for his major body of work is partially revealed in the discussion of his admiration and his debt to Jorge Luis Borges. Calvino’s initial affinity for Borges centered on the notion that literature is a world rendered and governed by intellect that should “provide us with the equivalent of the chaotic flow of existence, in language, in the texture of the events narrated, in the exploration of the subconscious”—located exactly in the heart of the fin d’ siècle emphasis in art, literature, and science emanating from Vienna into the Western world as detailed by Kandel in The Age of Insight.

Calvino explains “the Borgesian continuity between historical events, literary epics, poetic transformation of events, the power of literary motifs, and their influence on the collective imagination.” However, he points out that within this construct, we must keep in mind “it is in the rapid instant of real life, not in the fluctuating time of dreams, not in the cyclical or eternal time of myths, that one’s fate is decided.” He says the real impact of a literary piece or tradition is on the collective imagination that resides in the subconscious and the conscious mind—for an individual to draw from when looking for a code or a standard by which to make decisions.

During the summer of 1985, Calvino developed a series of notes on literature for the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard University in the fall of that year. However, Calvino was admitted to the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena on 6 September, where he died during the night of the 18th of a cerebral hemorrhage. His Harvard lecture notes were published posthumously in Italian in 1988 and in English (as Six Memos for the Next Millennium) in 1993.

His American reputation began when Gore Vidal described all of his novels as of May 30, 1974 in The New York Review of Books. He was the most-translated contemporary Italian writer at the time of his death, and a celebrated contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature.



“Only a certain prosaic solidity can give birth to creativity: fantasy is like jam; you have to spread it on a solid slice of bread. If not, it remains a shapeless thing, like jam, out of which you can’t make anything.” — From an Italian television interview shown after his death, quoted by Gore Vidal

“The contradiction [trying to use Russian model to reshape Italy] grew to such an extent that I felt totally cut off from the communist world and, in the end, from politics. That was fortunate. The idea of putting literature in second place, after politics, is an enormous mistake, because politics almost never achieves its ideals.”



He has a scientist’s respect for data (the opposite of the surrealist or fantasist). He wants us to see not only what he sees but what we may have missed by not looking with sufficient attention.” — Gore Vidal

“Calvino was a genial as well as brilliant writer. He took fiction into new places where it had never been before, and back into the fabulous and ancient sources of narrative.” — John Updike



The Baron in the Trees(1957), Invisible Cities (1974), If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler (1979), Six Memos for the Next Millennium (posthumously)



Asti Prize 1970

Feltrinelli Prize 1972

Honorary Member of the American Academy 1975

Austrian State Prize for European Literature 1976

French Légion d’honneur 1981



Italo Calvino. Difficult Loves (trans. William Weaver). San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, 1958.

Italo Calvino. Why Read the Classics? (trans. Martin McLaughlin). New York: Pantheon Books, 1999.

Gore Vidal. “On Italo Calvino,” The New York Review of Books, November 21, 1985

Italo Calvino, The Art of Fiction No. 130 Interviewed by William Weaver, Damien Pettigrew

Eric R. Kandel. The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain From Vienna 1900 to the Present. New York: Random House, 2012.


Richard Perkins is a regular contributor to The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review and a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University MA in Writing Program. He is writing an historical novel and revising a collection of connected stories.



Magical Realist Biographies: William Faulkner

284px-Faulkner_2_1954WILLIAM (CUTHBERT) FAULKNER


Born: September 25, 1897

Died:   July 6, 1962

Little known facts:

William Faulkner was living briefly in New Orleans, Louisiana where he wrote his first novel, Soldiers’ Pay in 1925—after being prompted by Sherwood Anderson to try writing fiction rather than poetry.

Faulkner actually detested the fame from his recognition to the point that his 17-year-old daughter only learned about the Nobel Prize when she was called to the principal’s office.




Much better known facts:

Falkner was his surname until 1924 when, according to one story, a careless typesetter made an error and a misprint appeared on the title page of his first book, a collection of poems. Apparently, the author had no concern about changing it.

Two Pulitzer Prizes were conferred for what most critics consider two of his lesser novels—A Fable (1954) and The Reivers (1962), awarded posthumously.

William Faulkner was an American short story writer, a novelist, and a Nobel Prize laureate from Oxford, Mississippi. He also wrote a play, poetry, essays and screenplays. His most notable works are his novels and short stories set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, based on Lafayette County, Mississippi. His characters operate in a social framework that typifies the growth and subsequent decadence of the Deep South and reflect a century and a half of American history, spanning the decades from the American Civil War through the Depression.

Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi, the first of four sons. The family moved and settled in Oxford in north-central Mississippi when he was a child. Though he traveled to Europe and Asia and worked for extended periods of time in Hollywood, Faulkner lived most of his life in that small town in Lafayette County.

While in high school, he began to write poetry, but he dropped out before graduating and went to work in a bank owned by one of his grandfathers. With the entry of the US into the Great War, Faulkner enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force after being rejected from the US Army because he was too short at five feet five inches. He completed basic training in Toronto, but the war ended before he could make his first solo flight. This never interfered with the storyteller relating years later how he had been shot down in France.

After the war, Faulkner studied literature at the University of Mississippi; he wrote poems and drew cartoons for the university’s humor magazine, The Scream. In 1920 Faulkner left Ole Miss without having finished a degree and moved to New York City where he worked as a clerk in a bookstore and lived in Greenwich Village, associating with other writers and artists. When he returned to Oxford, he began work as a postmaster at the University of Mississippi until the university fired him for reading on the job. The submissions to publishers and rejections finally came to an end. In May of 1924, Faulkner’s long-time friend Phil Stone sent a note to the Four Seas Company in Boston asking if they would publish a collection of poems by an unknown writer if the cost of publication were covered. After this first book, The Marble Faun (1924) did not gain success, he left for New Orleans specifically to meet established novelist Sherwood Anderson who took an interest in his work and encouraged him as indicated above to write fiction.


In July 1925, he left New Orleans for Genoa and Paris. During his four months stay in Europe, Faulkner toured the WWI battlefields and also spent ten days hiking in England. After the hiatus, he published Soldier’s Pay (1926), a novel about the return of a soldier, who had been physically and psychologically disabled in WW I followed shortly by Mosquitoes, a satire of Bohemian life in New Orleans.

In 1929 he had his first substantially successful work, The Sound and the Fury, published which earned him some long awaited recognition as a serious writer. In that same year, he married Estelle Oldham Franklin, whom he had courted seriously but unsuccessfully as an undergraduate, after she divorced her first husband. During that year he wrote the first of fifteen novels set in his notional Mississippi. His series deals with racism, class division, and family—as both a life force and a curse—as recurring themes.

The next year he purchased a traditional pillared house in Oxford, which he named Rowan Oak. Many years later, after his passing and the passing of his wife, it was sold to the University of Mississippi and made into a museum.

While working the nightshift at an electrical power station, Faulkner wrote As I Lay Dying (1930)—now considered one of the best English-language novels of the 20th Century.

He dedicated Sanctuary (1931) to Sherwood Anderson “for services rendered,” and, according to the author, it was “deliberately conceived to make money.”


In order to support Estelle and their three children, Faulkner had to work for the next twenty years in Hollywood on several screenplays, from Today We Live (1933) to Land of the Pharaohs (1955). Ironically, the conservative producers considered Faulkner’s stories too daring for film with all their rape, incest, and suicide; and in the publishing world, his Light in August (1932) was initially rejected, but is now also considered one of the best novels in the century.

While engaged in scriptwriting, Faulkner published several other novels: Pylon (1934) and Absalom, Absalom! (1936)—now often considered one of the best novels of the 20th Century and Faulkner’s fourth on that Modern Library list.

By 1945, Faulkner’s novels were out of print and he moved to Hollywood again to write scripts, mostly under contract to director Howard Hawks who had read Faulkner’s 1926 novel Soldier’s Pay when it first appeared.

He worked with Hawks on the films To Have and Have Not (1944), based on Ernest Hemingway’s novel, and The Big Sleep (1946), based on Raymond Chandler’s novel. When Hemingway had turned down Howard Hawk’s offer to work with his own book, the director said, “I’ll get Faulkner to do it; he can write better than you can anyway.”

Faulkner had a second period of success beginning with the publication of The Portable Faulkner (1946). However, his physical and mental functioning started to decline, forwarded downslope by his hard drinking and coping with his wife’s drug addiction.

He published Requiem for a Nun in 1951, and A Fable in 1954. The Town (1957) and The Mansion (1959) continued the story of the Snopes family, which he had begun in The Hamlet (1940).


Faulkner was a Writer-in-Residence at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville from February to June 1957 and held that position again in 1958. He suffered serious injuries in a horse-riding accident in 1959, and died from a myocardial infarction on July 6, 1962, at Wright’s Sanatorium in Byhalia, Mississippi. He is buried along with his family in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Oxford.

William Faulkner’s works have been placed within the literary traditions of modernism and the Southern Renaissance. However, he is also cited in the biographies of flagrantly successful magical realists such as Gabriel García Márquez as very significant to their careers because he dared to experiment and depart from convention in modernist work. This view was shared within the literary circle called el grupo de Barranquilla (journalists Gabriel García Márquez, Álvaro Cepeda Samudio, Germán Vargas, and Alfonso Fuenmayor who all became respected novelists or poets) that set about reading the work of Hemingway, Joyce, Woolf, and most importantly, Faulkner.


Perhaps it was Faulkner’s disappointment in the initial rejection of Flags in the Dust that drove him to become less responsive to his publishers and to take on a more experimental style. In any case, Garcia Marquez acknowledges Faulkner and Sophocles as the two most leveraged influences impacting his work. Faulkner amazed García Márquez with his ability to create from his childhood experiences a mythical past, inventing a town and a county in which to frame the actions of his characters. García Márquez found the seeds for his Macondo in Faulkner’s mythical Yoknapatawpha. It is also clear that they admired his use of internal monologue, very long sentences and other techniques considered experimental at the time.


Faulkner’s detailed realism occasionally is punctuated with scenes and moments of very effective magical realism. One such event is found in his short story “The Old People.” The setting is very similar to the much-anthologized “The Bear” where men from several ethnicities and levels of Southern society are all engaged in ritual hunting and prankstering amongst males. During a ritual hunt involving many of the same characters in “The Old People,” there is a coming-of-age ritual for a boy being taught to hunt. The boy is concerned about what seems to him beyond the realm of the real world in his experience. When he relates this to his cousin McCaslin, he finds that his cousin had been brought through this same path by the same man. Their common experience is not easily explained—except to those reared near or in rural cultures, including Native American cultures from which the notion of using natural resources reverently and without waste springs. Specifically, a huge buck that appeared and stood unafraid before the boy and the Native American Sam Feathers soon after the boy had taken his first buck and had been marked by Sam with the blood of the smaller buck as having been worthy of taking a life and having taken that life carefully and respectfully. This kind of blurring of “realities” and the prompting of alternative perceptions is Faulkner’s brand of magic realism.


Faulkner was regarded as a relatively obscure writer until he received the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature. Then nearly a half century later in 1998, the Modern Library ranked his 1929 novel The Sound and the Fury sixth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Absalom, Absalom! is often found on these lists and is usually cited as his masterpiece over The Sound and the Fury when discussing his body of work and not a comparative list.


Faulkner donated part of the Nobel Prize to establish a fund to support what became the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and donated another part to establish a scholarship fund to educate African-American teachers at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi.



“The writer’s only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one. He has a dream. It anguishes him so much he must get rid of it. He has no peace until then. Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the book written. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is worth any number of old ladies.” (Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, 1959)


“I’m a failed poet. Maybe every novelist wants to write poetry first, finds he can’t, and then tries the short story, which is the most demanding form after poetry. And, failing at that, only then does he take up novel writing.”


“Hemingway has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”



The New York Times cited his critics in his obituary: “Mr. Faulkner’s writings showed an obsession with murder, rape, incest, suicide, greed and general depravity that did not exist anywhere but in the author’s mind”. (July 7, 1962)


Nobel writer J.M. Coetzee defined Faulkner not only as “the most radical innovator in the annals of American fiction,” but “a writer to whom the avant-garde of Europe and Latin America would go to school.” (The New York Review of Books, April 7, 2005)



The Sound and the Fury (1929), Sanctuary (1931), Light in August (1932), Absalom, Absalom! (1936), The Hamlet (1940), Intruder In the Dust (1948), Requiem For A Nun (1951, Collected Stories (1951) National Book Award, A Fable (1954) National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize, The Town (1957), The Mansion (1959), and The Reivers (1962) Pulitzer Prize (posthumously.)



Nobel Prize in Literature (1949)

France’s Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur (1951)

National Book Award for Fiction (1951, 1955)

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1954, 1962)

American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Fiction (1962)



Eric R. Kandel. The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain From Vienna 1900 to the Present. New York: Random House, 2012.

The New York Review of Books, July 7, 1962

The New York Review of Books, April 7, 2005

Horst Frenz (ed.) Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969.

Petri Liukkonen. “On William Faulkner,” from Pegasos Author’s Calendar.

Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, 1959.


Richard Perkins is a regular contributor to The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review and a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University MA in Writing Program. He is writing an historical novel and revising a collection of connected stories.