October 2, 2019


We thought our previous resident of note, Twiggy, would be hard to top. Well, how about William Faulkner? Yes, that's right, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize‒winning author resided in The Woodstock for a short time. Here is his life, in bullet points:
Faulkner in 1931. 

✶ Born 1897 in Mississippi, where he will reside for most of his life.

✶ Publishes first novel, Soldier's Pay, in 1925. Over the following decade, produces an impressive body of work in a style dubbed Southern Gothic: The Sound and the Fury (1929), As I Lay Dying (1930), Light in August (1932) and Absalom, Absalom! (1936). Although The Sound and the Fury is considered his greatest achievement, it is not initially successful. Rather, it is Sanctuary (1931) ‒ the story of a brutal rape ‒ that is his commercial and critical breakthrough. Faulkner later dismisses it as a "potboiler," written purely for profit.

✴ In the wake of Sanctuary's success, the 34-year-old author visits Manhattan to confer with his publisher and work on his next novel. We'll let the New Yorker pick up the story, via a Talk of the Town piece that ran in its November 28, 1931 issue:

Faulkner's Tudor City home is a 28th-floor apartment in The Woodstock, where he lives for about a month while working on Light in August.
Light in August, first edition

✴ Works as a script doctor in Hollywood during the '30s and '40s, co-authoring the screenplays for The Big Sleep and To Have and Have Not. Over time, ten of his books are adapted for the screen.

✴ Wins Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949, officially cementing his Great Author status, even if his later novels never earn the rousing acclaim of his earlier work.

✴ Dies of a heart attack, aged 64, in Mississippi.


Years later, Light in August is ranked No. 54 in the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century. (The Sound and the Fury is No. 6).

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