April 8, 2015
William Cuthbert Faulkner was born on September 25, 1897, in New Albany, Mississippi. He grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, the oldest of four brothers. Both parents came from wealthy families reduced to poverty by the Civil War. A great-grandfather, Colonel William Falkner, had written The White Rose of Memphis, a popular novel of the 1880s. William was named in honor of his great-grandfather. William's father owned a hardware store and livery stable in Oxford and later became business manager of the state university. William did not attend public school consistently after the fifth grade; he left high school prior to graduation in order to work in his grandfather's bank. William never earned his high school diploma despite being an avid reader and a lover of poetry.
In 1918, after the U.S. Army rejected him for being underweight and too short, Faulkner enlisted in the Canadian Air Force. During his brief service in World War I he suffered a leg injury in a plane accident. In 1918 he left the air force and returned home to Oxford.
In 1919 Faulkner enrolled at the University of Mississippi as a special student, but left the next year for New York City. After several odd jobs in New York he left and again returned to Mississippi, where he became postmaster at the Mississippi University Station. He was fired in 1924 for reading on the job. In 1925 he and a friend made a walking tour of Europe, returning home in 1926.
During the years 1926 to 1930 Faulkner published a series of novels, none commercially successful.