Faulkner Biographer Carl Rollyson to speak at the Museum

NEMiss.News Professional biographer Carl Rollyson


Professional biographer, Carl Rollyson , PH. D, Professor of Journalism at Baruch College, City University of New York, has published more than forty books.

The Union County Heritage Museum will host Rollyson at a book talk and book signing on Tuesday, July 19, at noon regarding his recent two volume biography of New Albany native William Faulkner.

Brown Bag lunch is available at 11:30.  The event is free.

 A prolific writer, blogger and speaker Rollyson is the author of fourteen biographies for adults, and four biographies for children.  His biographies of Rebecca West and Amy Lowell, and his study, A Higher Form of Cannibalism? Adventures in the Art and Politics of Biography, were supported by NEH Fellowships.

Three of his biographies of Marilyn Monroe, Dana Andrews, and Walter Brennan are part of the Hollywood Legends series published by the University Press of Mississippi.

NEMiss.News The Life of William Faulkner Vol. 1

“The Life of William Faulkner,” Volume 1.

His first book Uses of the Past in the Novels of William Faulkner, remains in print. His two-volume biography, The Life of William Faulkner, and The Last Days of Sylvia, were both published in 2020. University Press of Mississippi will publish William Faulkner Day by Day in November 2022. .

First scheduled to speak in New Albany in 2020, his visit has had to be cancelled twice due to the pandemic.  This year, he will speak in New Albany, Pontotoc and Ripley while in the area.

With access to previously unpublished materials Rollyson has created a life of Faulkner for the new millennium. With access to previously unused materials, Rollyson presents the richest rendering of Faulkner yet published.

In addition to his own extensive interviews, Rollyson consults the complete—and never fully shared—research of pioneering Faulkner biographer Joseph Blotner, who discarded from his authorized biography substantial findings in order to protect the Faulkner family.

Rollyson also had  access to the work of Carvel Collins, whose decades-long inquiry produced one of the greatest troves of primary source material in American letters related to Faulkner.

This first volume “The Life of William Faulkner: The Past is Never Dead 1897-1934” follows Faulkner from his formative years through his introduction to Hollywood. Rollyson sheds light on Faulkner’s unpromising, even bewildering youth, including a gift for tall tales that blossomed into the greatest of literary creativity. He provides the fullest portrait yet of Faulkner’s family life, in particular his enigmatic marriage, and offers invaluable new insight into the ways in which Faulkner’s long career as a screenwriter influenced his iconic novels.

NEMiss.News Cover of coming Volume 2 of Faulkner Biography

Volume 2 of “The Life of William Faulkner” will be released on November 2022.

Integrating Faulkner’s screenplays, fiction, and life, Rollyson argues that the novelist deserves to be reread not just as a literary figure but as a still-relevant force, especially in relation to issues of race, sexuality, and equality. The culmination of years of research in archives that have been largely ignored by previous biographers, The Life of William Faulkner offers a significant challenge and an essential contribution to Faulkner scholarship.

Rollyson takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the composition of Absalom, Absalom!, widely considered Faulkner’s masterpiece, as well as the film adaptation he authored—unproduced and never published— Revolt in the Earth.

Volume 2 of this monumental work will be released in November 2022.


Jill Smith, Director

Union County Heritage Museum

114 Cleveland Street

New Albany, MS 38652

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