1 April 2023 Susannah

Book Addict Admires a Literary Statue – William Faulkner

William Faulkner statue

I am rather fond of a statue where I can sit next to an author and feel I am about to engage him or her in conversation. An excellent example is the statue of William Faulkner, Nobel prize-winning writer, in the town of Oxford, Mississippi. He sits outside Oxford City Hall, surrounded by buildings and views he described in his novel The Sound and the Fury.

The statue was placed there to mark 100 years since his birth in September 1897 – it is made from bronze. Faulkner is dressed in his usual dapper style, with hat and tweed coat, and holding a pipe. However, the decision to erect the statue was not without controversy. A magnolia tree had to be chopped down to make room for it, and Faulkner’s relatives felt that the town’s residents had never really understood him, so should not be making tourist capital out of a statue. It was the work of local sculptor Bill Beckwith.

One of the very best literary walks I have ever done was with Professor Jay Watson. He took my tour group around the town on a walk that connected with places and characters in The Sound and the Fury, and it ended with a visit to Faulkner’s grave in the local cemetery (fans often leave tiny whisky bottles for the writer on his grave). On the walk, we saw the statue and I felt that Faulkner was still alive and well in Mississippi today. I loved sitting down to ‘have a chat’, though I didn’t tell him that I once got an A+ for a university essay on As I Lay Dying. I wonder what he’d have said in return?

Have you seen this statue? Tell me by leaving a comment here.

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Header image- William Faulkner statue, https://readersunbound.com/2014/09/; & First-edition cover of The Sound and the Fury (1929), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=91865078
Body image- Mary Wollstonecraft by John Opie, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=970256

Comments (6)

  1. Oh, my goodness, ‘As I Lay Dying’ was the most amazing book! I shall never forget the impression it made upon me reading it in my 20s. After slowly and laboriously picking through the vernacular, I was stunned by the end. ‘The Sound & The Fury’ has meanwhile been long on My List of TBR.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I think The Sound and the Fury is a more challenging read than As I Lay Dying, but both are fascinating and great works of literature.

  2. Diana Paulin

    My mother thought The Sound And The Fury was as brilliant book, and I think of her whenever I see it mentioned. Actually I rarely see it mentioned and your feature was particularly meaningful to me.
    Thank you for the memories you have brought to me.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Your mother was right, Diane, it is a brilliant book. But it is not an easy novel to read. I so adored that ‘Sound and Fury Literary Walk’ I did. I’m so glad that my statue piece brought back some good memories for you.

  3. Janet

    If you would like to sit next to Henry Lawson, you would love the statue of him in the New South Wales town of Grenfell! You can even take a friend and the two of you can sit either side of him.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Yes, I’ve seen Henry’s statue in Grenfell, though sadly could not sit next to him as there were building works going on at the time and he was surrounded by barriers. Better luck next time, hopefully.

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