Special Collections Faulkner Tour helps Fourth Year Scholar see the Person behind the Author

Fourth year student Marcella Sohm—a double major in English and Women, Gender & Sexuality—took second place in a Faulkner studies contest with her paper “‘She Was My Heart’s Darling’: Faulkner as Father, Through Letters to his Daughter Jill at College.”father_headerAccording to a UVA Today article, Sohm’s depiction of Faulkner as a self-absorbed father writing primarily about father/son relationships, was the result of studying letters that both Faulkner and his only daughter Jill donated to the Library. Today the letters are preserved in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library as part of its William Faulkner Collection.

The tour of the Faulkner Collection that Sohm and her classmates took with English Professor Stephen Railton and Special Collections curator Molly Schwartzburg—handling and viewing “all kinds of things from the archives: manuscripts, letters, photographs, even Faulkner’s coat and pipe”—helped Sohm to see Faulkner as a real person, instead of “an artist in the abstract.” And her insight into Faulkner’s and Jill’s relationship demonstrates to Railton that “there is still an awful lot to be learned from the materials in the Faulkner Collection here.”

Read the full article “Faulkner as Father: Student’s Prize-Winning Research Reveals Conflicted Portrait” (UVA Today, 11/9/2016)

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