William Cuthbert Faulkner (1897 – 1962) was an American writer who is primarily known for his novels and short stories set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, based on Lafayette County, Mississippi, where he spent most of his life. In general, Faulkner is considered one of the most celebrated writers of American literature and specifically, he is considered one of the best writers of Southern literature.
From the early 1920s to the outbreak of World War II, Faulkner published 13 novels and many short stories. This body of work formed the basis of his reputation and earned him the Nobel Prize at age 52. Faulkner’s prodigious output include celebrated novels such as The Sound and the Fury (1929), As I Lay Dying (1930), Light in August (1932), and Absalom, Absalom! (1936). He was also a prolific writer of short stories.
Faulkner was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature for “his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel”. It was awarded at the following year’s banquet along with the 1950 Prize to Bertrand Russell. Faulkner detested the fame and glory that resulted from his recognition. His aversion was so great that his 17-year-old daughter learned of the Nobel Prize only when she was called to the principal’s office during the school day.
He donated part of his Nobel money “to establish a fund to support and encourage new fiction writers”, eventually resulting in the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and donated another part to a local Oxford bank, establishing a scholarship fund to help educate African-American teachers at Rust College in nearby Holly Springs, Mississippi. The government of France made Faulkner a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in 1951.
William Faulkner was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes for what are considered “minor” novels: his 1954 novel A Fable, which took the Pulitzer in 1955, and the 1962 novel, The Reivers, which was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer in 1963. (The award for A Fable was a controversial political choice. The jury had selected Milton Lott’s The Last Hunt for the prize, but Pulitzer Prize Administrator Professor John Hohenberg convinced the Pulitzer board that Faulkner was long overdue for the award, despite A Fable being a lesser work of his, and the board overrode the jury’s selection, much to the disgust of its members.) He also won the U.S. National Book Award twice, for Collected Stories in 1951 and A Fable in 1955. In 1946 he was one of three finalists for the first Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Award and placed second to Rhea Galati.
William Faulkner – First Editions Identification Guide
Note: This list only includes Faulkner’s novels.
|Year||Title||Publisher||First edition/printing identification points|
|1926||Soldiers' Pay||Boni & Liveright||Boards. "COPYRIGHT 1926 :: BY/BONI & LIVERIGHT, Inc." on © page and Boni & Liveright Seal. No additional printings. Dust jacket price $2.50.|
|1927||Mosquitoes||Boni & Liveright||Boards. "COPYRIGHT 1927 :: BY/BONI & LIVERIGHT, Inc." on © page and Boni & Liveright Seal. No additional printings. Dust Jacket price $2.50.|
|1929||Sartoris||Harcourt, Brace||Boards. "COPYRIGHT, 1929, BY/HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY, INC." on © page. No additional printings.|
|1929||The Sound and the Fury||Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith||Boards. "COPYRIGHT, 1929 BY WILLIAM FAULKNER,/FIRST PUBLISHED 1929" on © page. First state Dust Jacket has "Humanity Uprooted" priced at $3.00 on the rear panel.|
|1930||As I Lay Dying||Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith||Boards. "COPYRIGHT, 1930, BY/WILLIAM FAULKNER/FIRST PUBLISHED 1930" on © page. The first edition consisted of 2,522 copies. Two issuess, priority as listed: |
|1931||Sanctuary||Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith||Boards. "COPYRIGHT, 1930, BY/WILLIAM FAULKNER/FIRST PUBLISHED 1931" on © page.|
|1932||Light in August||Harrison Smith & Robert Haas||Boards. "COPYRIGHT, 1932, BY WILLIAM FAULKNER/NEW YORK * OCTOBER, 1932 * FIRST PRINTING" on © page. Two bindings, priority as listed: |
|1935||Pylon||Harrison Smith & Robert Haas||Boards. Two issues, no priority: |
|1936||Absalom, Absalom!||Random House||Boards. Two issues, no priority: |
|1938||The Unvanquished||Random House||Boards. "FIRST PRINTING" stated on © page. Dust Jacket price of $2.50.|
|1939||The Wild Palms||Random House||Boards. "FIRST PRINTING" stated on the © page. Dust Jacket price of $2.50.|
|1940||The Hamlet||Random House||Boards. "First Printing" stated on © page. Dust Jacket price of $2.50.|
|1942||Go Down, Moses||Random House||Boards. "First Printing" stated on © page. Dust Jacket price of $2.00 with 8 titles listed on rear panel.|
|1948||Intruder in the Dust||Random House||Boards. "FIRST PRINTING" stated on © page. Dust Jacket price of $3.00.|
|1951||Requiem for a Nun||Random House||Boards. Copyright, 1950, 1951, by William Faulkner" on the © page. No additional printings. Top edge stained and "Chocktaw" rather than "Choctaw" on page 21. Dust Jacket price of $3.00, has "E. McKnight Kauffer" misspelled as "M. McKnight Kauffer" on front flap.|
|1954||A Fable||Random House||Boards. Two issues, no priority: |
|1957||The Town||Random House||Boards. "First Printing" stated on the © page. Line 8 repeated on line 10 of page 327. Dust Jacket price of $3.95 and "5/57" on the bottom of the front flap.|
|1959||The Mansion||Random House||Boards. Two issues, no priority: |
|1962||The Reivers||Random House||Boards. "FIRST PRINTING" stated on the © page, top edge stained red and no "book club" blind tamp on the bottom right corner of the back cover. Price of $4.50 on top of the front Dust Jacket flap and "6/62" on the bottom.|
William Faulkner – First Printing Dust Jackets Identification Guide
Gallery of First state Dust Jackets of Faulkner’s works. Only includes the first appearance in book form. Either the UK or US edition and does not include later printings.