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Faulkner in Hollywood

John Cofield's Oxford & Ole Miss –– Faulkner in HollywoodThe most fateful thing that happened to William Faulkner on his first Hollywood sojourn was meeting Howard Hawks. Hawks was already a well known director, and he asked Faulkner to develop a script for him. The two men were one year apart in age and shared similar tastes, including a love of bird hunting.

In 1932, Faulkner went dove hunting with Hawks and a friend of his, the actor Clark Gable. Hawks began talking with Faulkner about books, during which Gable remained silent. Finally, Gable asked Faulkner who he thought were the best living writers. After a moment, Faulkner answered, “Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, Thomas Mann, John Dos Passos, and myself.”

Gable paused for a moment and said, “Oh, do you write?”

“Yes, Mr. Gable,” Faulkner said. “What do you do?”

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