As I Lay Dying is a novel written by William Faulkner in 1930. William Cuthbert Faulkner was born on September 25, 1897 in New Albany, Mississippi, the first of four sons of Murry and Maud Butler Falkner (he later added the “u” to the family name himself). “His great-grandfather, William Clark Falkner, was an important figure in the history of northern Mississippi who served as a colonel in the Confederate Army, founded a railroad, and gave his name to the town of Falkner in nearby Tipah County” (“William Faulkner”). Faulkner identified with this strong and energetic ancestor and often said that he inherited the “ink stain” from him. In 1902, the Falkner family moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where Faulkner was to spend most of his life. He left school in his senior year of high school, and began working at his grandfather’s bank. After his plans to marry his beloved Estelle Oldham were squashed by their families, he tried to enlist as a pilot in the U.S. Army but was rejected because he did not meet the height and weight requirements. Then he went to Canada, where he pretended to be an Englishman and joined the RAF training program there. Although he did not complete his training until after the war ended and never saw combat, he returned to his hometown in uniform, boasting of war wounds. He briefly attended the University of Mississippi, where he began to publish his poetry. He again returned to Oxford after spending a short time living in New York, where he worked at the university post office. His first book, a collection of poetry, The Marble Faun, was published at Faulkner’s own expense in 1924. The writer Sherwood Anderson, whom he met in New Orleans in 1925, encouraged him to try writing fiction, and his first novel, Soldier’s Pay, was published in 1926. It was followed by Mosquitoes. His next novel, which he titled Flags in the Dust, was rejected by his publisher and twelve others to whom he submitted it.... [continues]
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