My Brother Bill: An Affectionate Reminiscence

My Brother Bill: An Affectionate Reminiscence

by John Faulkner

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WILLIAM FAULKNER, the writer, was a familiar figure to many, a gentle, shy and rather reserved man who, though tweedy, managed always, somehow, to appear dapper. He chose to minimize his role as literary genius, preferring to refer to himself as a simple dirt farmer and resident of Oxford, Mississippi, the prototype of the city of Jefferson, which appeared in almost everything he wrote.

But if this William Faulkner was known to many, few ever got beyond that mask to the real Faulkner, a man who clung tenaciously to his privacy, or realized the true degree to which his family and the region that had borne him and molded his character and thinking. Of these, perhaps none knew him so well as his brother, John, himself a writer and as deeply influenced by these same forces.

My brother Bill is little concerned with the public image of William Faulkner; rather it is about Bill Faulkner as a boy, growing up in the environment which furnished him with most of the raw material about which he later wrote, and as a man who retained for all of his life an almost mystical feeling for his native land. It is an intimate portrait, etched deeply with humor, of a man fiercely loyal to his family and old friends, though he often disagreed violently with each of them; of a man steeped in the gamey, Rabelaisian humor of the Frontier, which seems mainly to have survived only in the South; and of a man who both loved and hated his native ground because it never lived up to what he felt it capable of being.

It is a book remarkable not only for its many insights into one of our most significant writers, but for its unique re-creation, in every detail, of the all-but-forgotten life in a southern village at the turn of the century, a picture sketched with rare skill and humor and a deep sense of nostalgia in the best sense of the word.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781789128352
Publisher: Valmy Publishing
Publication date: 12/12/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 217
File size: 820 KB

About the Author

John Faulkner (1901-1963) was an American author. His works, in a plain style, depict life in Mississippi. Faulkner is best-remembered for the novels Men Working (1941) and Dollar Cotton (1942), and the memoir, My Brother Bill: An Affectionate Reminiscence (1963), about his elder sibling, author William Faulkner. He also published magazine stories, and a number of his short stories appeared in Collier’s.

He was born John Wesley Thompson Falkner III on September 24, 1901 in Ripley, Mississippi, the third son of Murry Cuthbert Falkner and Maud Butler. The family moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where John grew up and lived most of his life. He attended college at Ole Miss, where he earned a B.S. degree in civil engineering, and went to work as a project engineer with the Mississippi State Highway Department in Greenwood.

Faulkner eventually quit the highway department and moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he became a commercial airline pilot. In 1938, he moved from Memphis to the hill country of northeastern Lafayette County, Mississippi, to manage his brother William’s 320-acre farm, “Greenfield.” The rural farmers around Greenfield fascinated Faulkner and inspired him to write. During the two years he managed the farm in Beat Two, the area that serves as the setting for much of his fiction, he was also a supervisor for the Work Progress Administration (WPA).

During World War II, Faulkner served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy. After the war he earned his living by writing and lecturing. He was also an accomplished, self-taught painter, and did a series of paintings known as The Vanishing South.

John Faulkner died of a stroke in Oxford, Mississippi on March 28, 1963, aged 61, shortly after completing the revisions on the manuscript of his memoir, My Brother Bill.

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