BOOKS

Video: A look at Rowan Oak

Beatty Carpenter
Oxford Stories
bkcarpen@go.olemiss.edu

Famous Southern writer William Faulkner was a Nobel Prize-winner from New Albany. Faulkner was born Sept. 25, 1897 to Murry and Maud Faulkner.

Faulkner wrote challenging pieces and  created the created the fictional, Yoknapatawpha County. Faulkner is known for novels The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying.

He wrote a controversial novel in 1931, Sanctuary, which was turned into two films – 1933’s The Story of Temple Drake and a project in 1961.

In 1919, Faulkner was enrolled at the University of Mississippi, where he wrote for the student newspaper, the Mississippian. He also wrote many poems.

After only three semesters, he dropped out and moved to New York briefly, working as a bookseller’s assistant. Faulkner lived his remaining days in Oxford.

wf bed

William Faulkners bed. Photo by Beatty Carpenter.

Faulkner purchased what was known as “The Bailey Place” in 1930, but today, we know it as Rowan Oak. He named it Rowan Oak in 1931 after the rowan tree. The rowan tree is a symbol of security and peace.

He later purchased the woods around the property called “Bailey’s Woods,” and they are still known as that today. Soon after he settled into Rowan Oak with his wife, Estelle, and her two children. After a few years, they had Jill – Faulkner’s only daughter.

trees rowan

Path to Rowan Oak. Photo by Beatty Carpenter.

Rowan Oak was William Faulkner’s private oasis. He was fascinated by history and was intrigued with a mixture of reality and imagination. Faulkner’s time spent at Rowan Oak was very productive.

Faulkner won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949, the Pulitzer Prize, and National Book Award in 1954 for a A Fable. He became world known for his faithful and accurate dictation of Southern speech.

Faulkner is one of the most studied and celebrated writers in the entire world. All across the world, there are societies, conferences, journals and novels dedicated to his life, work and writings.

Today people from all across the world travel to Oxford to visit William Faulkner’s home. Tours cost $5 for house admission, but visitors can walk around the property for free. Touring Rowan Oak is free to students at Ole Miss.

Rowan Oak is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed every Monday. Holiday hours also vary. Group touring, as well as handicapped persons are encouraged to make arrangements in advance.

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