William Faulkner's public and poetic voices: A discussion of the "human condition"

Elaine Bunker, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


William Faulkner claimed that his fiction "failed" to show that "man will prevail," the standard that he set for literature in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. However, this statement and others by Faulkner can be misleading without an understanding of Faulkner's terms. A study of his speeches, essays, public letters, and interviews (Faulkner's public voice) in conjunction with his major fiction (his poetic voice) clarifies what Faulkner meant by "immortality," "evil," "fear," and "failure" and thereby demonstrates that both Faulkner's fiction and his nonfiction do in fact illustrate his belief that "man will prevail.".