Picturing Faulkner

by zunguzungu

Virtually all of Faulkner’s biographies picture him the same way, a tortured articulacy locked in the prison-house of his own mind:
This may only be my interpretation, of course — though I feel that’s a representative selection — but I see a mustache which emphasizes the closed-ness of his mouth and his jaw set against the reality which his tired eyes see so piercingly (but which the tightness of the frame silently silences and represses). This is not a youthful Faulkner or one who feels joy; this is the figure of the Southern writer as seen through the lens of civil rights and his own oeuvre, who knows better how not to un-speak than to speak, for whom the locked windows of Miss Coldfield’s stifled house at the start of Absalom, Absalom! and the tortured self-loathing of Quentin at its close are such powerful metaphors.
Which is why it’s so delightful to see images like this one, Faulkner in Hollywood:
Or Faulkner in Japan:
Faulkner lounging with a book:
And serving as an official at UVA track meets: