The William and Rosemary MacIlwaine Lecture in American Literature: William Faulkner's Virginia Persona: (Carl Rollyson)
William Faulkner's Virginia Persona
And the place for this to begin is Virginia, the mother of all the rest of us of the South.
Although Mississippi holds pride of place in William Faulkner's life and work, Virginia is a close second. His fabled town had to be named Jefferson. The land of Lee and the Virginia gentleman never lost their power over his imagination. And, of course, in the end he chose to make his home in Charlottesville. Such matters remain of vital concern not only for Virginia, but for everyone engaged in what Faulkner called "a life’s work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before."
Carl Rollyson began his work on William Faulkner in 1970, writing his dissertation under the guidance of the distinguished Faulkner scholar Michael Millgate. Use of the Past in the Novels of William Faulkner, published in 1984, remains in print and has been selected as one of the top one hundred works of scholarship by one of the deans of Faulkner studies, M. Thomas Inge. After writing a dozen biographies on figures such as Lillian Hellman, Rebecca West, Amy Lowell, and Sylvia Plath, Professor Rollyson has returned to his first major subject in a book titled This Alarming Paradox: The Life of William Faulkner, to be published by the University of Virginia Press.
A reception will follow the lecture, and guests are invited to explore the exhibition in the main gallery, Faulkner: Life and Works.
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