William Faulkner on writing, the purpose of art, and the meaning of life

William Faulkner

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination — any two of which, at times any one of which — can supply the lack of the others.

The great American writer, William Faulkner, was born today in 1897 in New Albany, Mississippi. Here are some revealing excerpts from his interview with The Paris Review:

When The Paris Review launched in 1953, it revolutionized the art of the interview. Over the decades that followed, the revered publication offered unprecedented glimpses of literary history’s greatest minds, which yielded such timeless gems as E. B. White on the responsibility of the writer and the daily routines of famous authors. But among the Paris Review’s most radical interviews was one with William Faulkner (September 25, 1897–July 6, 1962), conducted exactly four decades after his days as a Jazz Age artist and nearly thirty years after he penned his little-known children’s book, published in the spring of 1956. Found in Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, First Series (public library) — the same indispensable volume that gave us Malcolm Cowley on the four stages of writing — and also available online in the Paris Review archive, the wide-ranging interview explores with curmudgeonly conviction everything from the secret of great writing to the purpose of art to the meaning of life. [read more]

This entry was posted in What We're Reading and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *