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Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference at UM Starts July 19

The annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference will begin on Sunday, July 19, 2015 at the University of Mississippi.
The annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference will begin on Sunday, July 19, 2015 at the University of Mississippi.

The University of Mississippi will host its annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference July 19-23 bringing scholars from all over the country to Oxford to discuss “Faulkner and Print Culture.”

The Nobel Prize winning author and Oxford resident William Faulkner, who also studied at UM, once said that he wished his epitaph would simply read, “He made the books and he died.” However, Jay Watson, UM Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies and professor of English, who is also the director of the conference, notes those works weren’t made by Faulkner alone. This year, scholars will explore how others helped the author’s work reach such a massive audience.

“Faulkner’s novels, stories and other works were never something he made alone,” Watson said. “They didn’t just appear full-blown, out of his head, as pure products of his genius. They were the work not only of their spectacularly talented author but of agents, editors, printers, artists and illustrators, graphic designers, marketing teams, publishing houses large and small, translators, critics, reviewers and, importantly, readerships.”

Rich Forgette, interim dean of the UM College of Liberal Arts, said the conference is a celebration of Faulkner’s influence.

“The College of Liberal Arts is proud to support the 2015 Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, ‘Faulkner and Print Culture,’” Forgette said. “The conference is a celebration of Faulkner scholarship, as well as William Faulkner’s broad literary and cultural influence. We welcome all scholars, students and friends of Faulkner.”

Watson said this year’s topic has attracted a “particularly strong conference lineup.” Among the speakers are the literary biographer Carl E. Rollyson Jr., whose latest work is on Faulkner; Dartmouth Archivist and Book Historian Jay Satterfield; Erin A. Smith of the University of Texas, Dallas, who is an authority on working-class readers and popular literature; Greg Barnhisel, an expert on Cold War era print culture at Duquesne University; and Candace Waid, English professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“This summer’s conference is an important opportunity for Faulkner critics, teachers and readers to delve more deeply into the collaborative networks and relationships that made it possible for Faulkner’s books to see the light of day as commodities and works of art,” Watson said.

Registration for this year’s conference begins Sunday, July 19, at 10 a.m. at the Yerby Conference Center. Many of the panel discussions will take place at Nutt Auditorium, while some other events will be held at Faulkner’s home Rowan Oak, as well as other sites around Oxford. A full list of the events can be found at this link

Courtesy of Michael Newsom, Ole Miss News Desk

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