September 25 ~  Better Than Yourself Absalom, Absalom!

"Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself." ~ William Faulkner

William Faulkner

One of the world's greatest writers, William Cuthbert Faulkner (1897-1962), was born on this day in New Albany, Mississippi. In 1924, he published his first book, The Marble Faun, a collection of poetry.

A high school drop out, he once confessed, "I'm just a farmer who likes to tell stories."

And tell them he did-- with twenty novels and many short stories, his dense writing style and innovative use of time sequence celebrated great complexity and multiple points of view.

"The aim of every artist," he explained, "is to arrest motion."

A chronicler of the South, Faulkner created Yoknapatawpha County, bringing his imaginary landscapes and characters to life. Belles and plantations, segregation, intolerance, heroism, and poverty. Life and Death in the South.

His essay, Mississippi described his anguished feelings about the South: "Loving all of it...because you love despite; not for the virtues, but despite the faults."

Faulkner described his writing as capturing "the agony and sweat of the human spirit" and won the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature, the first American novelist to receive the coveted prize after the end of World War II.

"Man is immortal," Faulkner said, "because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things..."

"...It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, and by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past."

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