The literary contributions
of Jimmy Faulkner the nephew of William
Faulkner, son of John Faulkner,
and great-great-grandson of the Old Colonel, Col. William
Clark Falkner can best be described as story-teller,
particularly about his family. He was born James Murry Falkner in
Oxford, Mississippi, on
July 18, 1923; later, he followed his uncle and fathers examples
and changed the spelling of his name to Faulkner. (His
brother, Murry Chooky Falkner, continued to spell it
the old way.) Much of his childhood was in the presence of his uncle,
immersed in the local culture and familiar with the same people,
places, and customs his uncle would transform into his fiction.
During World War II he was a Marine fighter pilot in the Pacific,
where his plane was shot down. He later flew combat missions in
the Korean war as well. In 1947 he earned a B.S. degree in engineering,
and from 1955 until his retirement in 1983, he operated a construction
After William Faulkners death in
July 1962 and his own father's death the following year, Jimmy became
the head of the Faulkner family and the more-or-less de facto
spokesman for the family. He has saved, collected, and preserved
a number of family heirlooms, including the dining room table, walking
canes, and a pocket watch that belonged to the Old Colonel. His
antebellum home near Oxford was designed by the same architect who
built William Faulkners home, Rowan Oak, and he carried on
a number of family traditions, such as curing meat and canning fruits
Faulkner frequently was called upon to
give talks and answer questions about the Faulkner family, particularly
William Faulkner, whom he always referred to as Brother Will.
In addition to collecting and talking about the fiction by his uncle,
he has even lived it, playing the role of Major de Spain
in a 1980 American Short Story Collection production of Barn
Burning for PBS.
In recent years Faulkner had become a
regular fixture at the annual Faulkner
and Yoknapatawpha Conference in Oxford, where he would present
a slide show depicting the real-life models or inspirations for
incidents in William Faulkners fiction. He remained, in interviews
and in person, a vivid reminder of the uncle whom he strongly resembled,
a fitting tribute for a nephew who William Faulkner once said is
the only person who likes me for what I am.
Faulkner died on Dec. 24, 2001, at a hospital
in Tupelo, Mississippi.
updated January 2002)
Photos by Billy
Howard appear in the book Talking about William Faulkner,
Related Links & Info
numerous family heirlooms include this dining table owned by his
great-great-grandfather, the legendary William
Burning" information, from the Internet Movie Database
Fa(u)lkner Family Writers:
- Across the Creek: Faulkner Family Stories. Jackson:
University Press of Mississippi, 1986.
- Brother Wills Passing. Southern Living
(March 1992): 108-09.
- Wolff, Sally, with Floyd C. Watkins. Talking about William
Faulkner: Interviews with Jimmy Faulkner and Others. Baton
Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996.
- Internet Resources
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