OXFORD, Miss. A one-of-a-kind portrait
of Nobel Prize-winning author William
Faulkner has been donated to The University of Mississippi.
One of six known paintings created from the
same photograph of Faulkner in his red riding gear, the artwork is the smallest
of all and the only one signed by both the photographer, Col. J.R. Cofield,
and the artist, Laucene Clements.
The 13.5-by-11-inch portrait, circa 1969, was
given to the University of Mississippis J.D. Williams Library by Oxford
resident Ann Rayburn. It hangs in the librarys Special Collections.
University archivist Dr. Thomas Verich assessed
the portrait as the most important image we have added to the collection
in more than 20 years.
With the donation, the University now owns three
of the six original Faulkner portraits. One hangs in the University of Mississippi
Chancellors Office and another at Rowan Oak, Faulkners historic
home, which was purchased by the university in 1972. Another, damaged in a fire
at the Cofield Studio, hangs at Square Books in Oxford. Yet another was done
for the West Point Military Academy, and the remaining copy is in a private
Established in Oxford in 1928, the Cofield Studio
was used first by Faulkner in 1931 when he needed a portrait to help promote
his new book Sanctuary. He sat for his last portrait there in March 1962.
Rayburn has made other donations to the library,
including movie posters, post cards, Victorian valentines and sheet music. Mrs.
Rayburn has been very generous to Special Collections, said librarian
OXFORD, Miss. Nobel laureate William
Faulkners fabled home, Rowan Oak, may be closed
for renovations, but perhaps youd still like to visit Oxford, stroll
the grounds or find it a good time to read or re-read some of
Although Faulkners prose is notorious
for being difficult to comprehend on the first try, at least there
are ways to make reading Faulkner more enjoyable, according to Drs. Joseph Urgo
and Donald Kartiganer, University of Mississippi English professors and Faulkner
There is more than one way to read, just
as there is more than one way to eat, says Urgo, who chairs the Department
of English. Just as one snacks on potato chips with a set of expectations
different from when dining on a gourmet meal, there is more than one way to
have written words act on one's mind.
Urgo suggests that modern styles of journalism
and pulp fiction have misled many of todays readers into thinking that
all reading should produce immediate factual comprehension. He offers the following
approaches for pleasurably digesting the words of Faulkner:
Dont worry too much about comprehension. For example, when you pick
up a book like Faulkners The Sound and the Fury and you read:
Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them
hitting... it will be hundreds of pages and hours of reading before
you fully comprehend the meaning of the line, Urgo says. Faulkners writing
asks us to suspend our need to understand and to surrender ourselves to the
Dont worry about feeling confused. Sometimes being off-balance is
where Faulkners prose wants to put you. Dont be surprised if you
sense a need to read the piece again to know it well. This is something we
are able to return to again and again, always getting more or different experiences.
Focus on the history of the Yoknapatawpha saga. Many of the characters who
inhabit Faulkners fictitious county appear in more than one book. Read
the novels in the order of the histories they tell rather than in the order
in which the books were written, says Kartiganer. Start with The Unvanquished,
then move to Flags in the Dust for the story of the Sartoris family.
Turn to The Sound and the Fury, followed by Absalom, Absalom!
for the tale of the Compson family. Go Down Moses offers the McCaslin
history in one volume.
Be aware that Faulkner is a vertical writer. One way of describing
his narrative style is to say that it is not horizontal but vertical. Faulkner
doesnt sweep the reader forward with a rapid, page-turning flow but
rather asks the reader to dive downward into the multi-significant and detailed
ramifications of action.
Reading Faulkner is definitely worth the time,
says Urgo. Faulkner is the greatest American writer of the 20th century
not because the world needed to know about northern Mississippi but because
of his use of the English language. The marriage of Faulknerian prose and prosaic
Mississippi resulted in a writer to whom subsequent writing in English will
be indebted forever.
Rowan Oak, which is administered by the University,
is expected to reopen for tours in July. The surrounding grounds remain open
to the public from dawn to dusk daily.
Do you have a news item about a Mississippi writer? Please send your
information to email@example.com.
NEW FEATURES in the MISSISSIPPI
The following articles were recently added to the Writer Listings:
Faulkner A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work By A. Nicholas Fargnoli and Michael Golay
Checkmark Books (Paperback, $17.95, ISBN: 0816041598)
Publication Date: December 2001
One of the greatest and most influential
American writers, William
Faulkner is remembered for novels and short stories that explore
the intricate culture and tragic legacy of the American South. William
Faulkner A to Z is the first comprehensive reference to his life,
including writings, characters, people, events, and ideas that influenced
him as a person and a writer.
More than 1,500 cross-referenced entries
include synopses of Faulkners fiction, poetry, and nonfiction;
descriptions of characters in Faulkners fiction; details about
his family, friends, colleagues, and critics; real and fictional places
important to Faulkners life and literary development; and ideas
and events that influenced his life and works.
On William Hollingsworth, Jr.
By Eudora Welty
University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $20.00, ISBN: 1578064872)
Publication date: March 2002
Description from the publisher:
Welty’s graceful, appreciative essay
about one of the South’s notable painters.
William Hollingsworth, Jr., and Eudora
Welty were Mississippi contemporaries who began their careers in the
arts almost simultaneously. Just as the Great Depression struck the
nation, both were finishing their educations in big cities — Welty at
Columbia University in New York, Hollingsworth at the school of the
Art Institute of Chicago.
This keepsake book uniting these two
acclaimed Mississippi artists and their work gives the pleasure of encountering
Welty as an art critic and of meeting an astonishingly talented painter
In 1958, after seeing a large posthumous
exhibition of his paintings at the Jackson Municipal Art Gallery, Welty
wrote this critical appreciation. It appeared in the Clarion-Ledger,
the local newspaper, and has never been reprinted until now.
Accompanying Welty’s essay are full-color
plates of eleven Hollingsworth paintings she mentions or to which she
makes reference. An afterword puts the work of Hollingsworth and Welty
in the context of time, place, and circumstance. A chronology shows
how Hollingsworth was a rising star whose life was cut short.
As young Mississippians who had been
schooled away from home, they returned to Jackson during hard times
but were afforded a serendipitous gift — a sense of place that became
a resource for their art. Although both longed to connect with the mainstream
of the art world in the North, Hollingsworth and Welty discovered the
significance of regional roots.
A great American writer, Welty had a
career that lasted for nearly seventy years. Hollingsworth’s lasted
for only one decade. He died in 1944 at the age of thirty-four. She
died at the age of ninety-two in 2001. Two of his watercolors that she
bought in the 1930s still hang in her home.
ON THE WEB
The following articles and web pages about Mississippi writers and
writing are available on the Internet:
The New Southern View is a quarterly magazine that explores
all things Mississippi. Published locally for the Greater Jackson
Metropolitan Area, it is also available in its entirety via the Internet. www.go.to/southernview
AUTHOR EVENTS: Book Signings, Readings,
March 19: University Museums Auditorium, University of Mississippi,
Oxford, Mississippi, 4:00 p.m. Liberal Arts Faculty Forum: Discovering Tennessee Williams
Mississippi Delta. Dr. Colby Kullman, professor of English, explores
the landscape of Tennessee Williams delta roots and
examines the writers fictional world. For more information, call
Dr. Ken McGraw at 662-915-5192.
March 19: Bookends, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, 5:30 p.m. Carolyn Haines will
sign her latest novel, Splintered Bones.
March 20: Lemuria, Jackson, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m. Carolyn Haines
will read from her novel Splintered Bones, with a signing to
follow at 7 p.m..
March 21: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:30 p.m.
Clinton, Mississippi, resident Nevada
Barr will return to Square Books in Oxford this time on Thacker
Mountain Radio, with her newest novel, Hunting Season. Its
the tenth book in the Anna Pigeon series. Anna investigates the murder
of a man at a Natchez Trace tourist spot. The show starts at 5:30 p.m.
If you know of upcoming readings and appearances by Mississippi writers,
please let us know by writing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ON THE HORIZON
The following events are planned for the coming weeks and months. You
may wish to begin planning now to attend or participate.
March 26, 2002 Edward Cohen will
sign the new paperback edition of his memoir, The Peddlers
Grandson: Growing Up Jewish in Mississippi (Bantam Dell) at Lemuria
Tuesday, March 26, from 5:00-6:00 P.M. The book won Mississippis
top nonfiction awards in 2000, from the Mississippi Institute of Arts
& Letters and the Mississippi Library Association. Its a two-time
selection of Book Sense, the recommendations of independent booksellers
nationwide. Earlier that day, he will speak and sign at the Warren County
Vicksburg Public Library at noon
March 27, 2002 Edward Cohen will
speak to the Lee-Itawamba Library Book Luncheon Group in Tupelo at noon,
the Ole Miss Honors Program at 3:00, and at Square Books in Oxford at
5:00 to read from his book The Peddlers Grandson: Growing Up
in Jewish in Mississippi.
April 3, 2002 Lecture: Yoknapatawpha 2001: Town & Country. Brown Bag
Lunch and Lecture Series presentation by University of Mississippi students
in a documentary fieldwork class. 12:00-1:00 p.m., Barnard Observatory
lecture hall, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi. Sponsored
by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, www.olemiss.edu/depts/south/.
April 5, 2002 Richard Ford returns
to Square Books in Oxford with a new collection of short stories, A
Multitude of Sins. 5 p.m.
The Ninth Oxford Conference for the Book April 11-14, 2002
The University of Mississippi and Oxford, Mississippi
Interhostel: Views from the South: Literature, History, and
April 21-26, 2002
E. F. Yerby Conference Center, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi
Short-term academic program for individuals 50 and older (with accompanying
spouses or adult companions of any age). Sponsored by the Institute
for Continuing Studies. Fee: $845 (includes five nights hotel accommodations,
meals, classes and extracurricular activities). Sponsored by: UM Institute
for Continuing Studies. For more information, please contact: Lynne
Geller at 662-915-7282; or email: email@example.com
April 27, 2002 Childrens book writer Laurie
Parker will give a reading at Square Books in Oxford from her new
book, The Turtle Saver. Its the story of a man who stops
on the Natchez Trace to move a turtle off the pavement and ends up setting
off a hilarious chain of events.
The 29th Annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference:
Faulkner and His Contemporaries
July 21-26, 2002
The University of Mississippi, Oxford