By William Styron
"I've eventually pretty well made up our minds what to write down next--a novel in response to Nat Turner's rebellion," twenty-six-year-old William Styron confided to his father in a letter he wrote on may possibly 1, 1952. Styron wouldn't put up his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Confessions of Nat Turner until eventually 1967, yet this letter undercuts these critics who later attacked the author as an opportunist capitalizing at the heated racial weather of the past due Nineteen Sixties. From 1943 to 1953, Styron wrote over 100 letters to William C. Styron, Sr., detailing his adventures, his works in growth, and his ruminations at the craft of writing. In Letters to My Father, Styron biographer James L. W. West III collects this correspondence for the 1st time, revealing the early, intimate concepts of a tender guy who used to be to develop into a literary icon. Styron wrote his earliest letters from Davidson collage, the place he was once greatly not sure of himself and of his clients in existence. by means of the previous couple of letters, even if, he had accomplished very much: he had earned a fee within the Marine Corps, survived international warfare II, released the radical Lie Down in Darkness (1951) and the novella The lengthy March (1953), and gained the Prix de Rome. He had additionally lately married and used to be approximately to come to the us from an expatriate interval in Paris and Rome. The letters represent a portrait of the artist as a tender guy. They learn like an epistolary novel, with circulate from place to situation and alterations in voice and language. Styron used to be super with reference to his father and fairly open with him. His tale is a vintage one, from younger lack of confidence to creative self-discovery, capped by way of acceptance and good fortune. There are demanding situations alongside the way in which for the hero--poor educational functionality, a syphilis scare, writer's block, transitority frustration in romance. yet Styron overcomes those problems and emerges as a convinced younger author, able to take on his subsequent undertaking, the unconventional Set This condo on hearth (1960). Rose Styron, the author's widow, contributes a prefatory memoir of the senior Styron. West has supplied complete annotations to the correspondence, and the quantity additionally has numerous illustrations, together with facsimiles of a few of the letters, which continue to exist between Styron's papers at Duke college. ultimately, there's a collection of Styron's apprentice fiction from the past due Forties and early Nineteen Fifties. In all of yankee literature, no different prolonged sequence of such letters--son to father--exists. Letters to My Father bargains a different glimpse into the early life of 1 of the main well-known and arguable writers of his time.
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Additional info for Letters to My Father (Southern Literary Studies)
Duke (Marine Corps stationery) August 23, 1943 Dear Pop, No change here yet. Things are going on about the same. 12 You all must have had a pretty good time in Philadelphia. Hope you did. We have just finished our mid-term exams and have received some of our “semi-final” grades. I have maintained all passing marks. I got a D in Physics, D+ in French, C+ in Political Science, B+ in Psychology, B in History, and I think I got either a B or B+ in English, although the professor doesn’t really give a definite grade in that course.
The people whom you get recommendations from must be of no kin, and must have come in contact with me during the past few years. Please have these letters typewritten, and don’t forget my birth certificate. I have decided on the Marine Corps as I think, as far as immediate call goes, it is safer; although the quicker I go in service the happier I’ll be. 1 You understand that this branch of the Marine Corps is the Class IIId or Officer’s Candidate Class, and that I have a much better chance here than I would have in the Navy V-1 program for getting a commission.
Quite a thrill! 23. Camp Lejeune (Marine Corps stationery) March 8, 1945 Dear Pop and Eliza, I received your letters a few days ago, and—-as usual—-enjoyed them very much. C. my letters (outgoing) have been very few—-mainly because I find it extremely hard to get the time to squeeze any correspondence in. Today was a typical day—-let me give you an idea: We got up at 5:00, swabbed and cleaned the barracks, and after breakfast at 6:00 we put on packs and rifles, got into trucks, and went out into the swamp.