Letters to My Father (Southern Literary Studies) by William Styron

By William Styron

"I've eventually pretty well determined what to jot down next--a novel in accordance with Nat Turner's rebellion," twenty-six-year-old William Styron confided to his father in a letter he wrote on may perhaps 1, 1952. Styron wouldn't post his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Confessions of Nat Turner till 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 development, 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 options of a tender guy who used to be to turn into a literary icon. Styron wrote his earliest letters from Davidson university, the place he used to be a great deal uncertain of himself and of his customers in lifestyles. by way of the previous couple of letters, although, he had accomplished very much: he had earned a fee within the Marine Corps, survived global conflict II, released the unconventional Lie Down in Darkness (1951) and the novella The lengthy March (1953), and received the Prix de Rome. He had additionally lately married and used to be approximately to come back to the U.S. 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 flow from situation to position and alterations in voice and language. Styron used to be tremendous as regards to his father and really 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 best way 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 radical Set This residence on hearth (1960). Rose Styron, the author's widow, contributes a prefatory memoir of the senior Styron. West has supplied finished annotations to the correspondence, and the quantity additionally has numerous illustrations, together with facsimiles of a few of the letters, which live on between Styron's papers at Duke college. eventually, there's a number 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 deals a distinct glimpse into the early life of 1 of the main well-known and debatable writers of his time.

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I have my own personal religion, and I believe that I am as steadfast in it as any one of our Baptist Fundamentalists. 2 I have probably not made myself very clear (which makes little difference), and I imagine you are not a little disappointed in knowing that your boy, after all those years of Sunday School, has not “turned out right”; but please don’t think that I have sunk into the slough of degeneracy. I have never as yet done anything which I was really ashamed of. After the war I’m going to write a book and tell people what I think.

It is necessary that I have a check for $45 by Wednesday noon. Everyone in the pledge class is getting initiated, and I don’t want to get left out. Because of the war the fee is being reduced from $65 to $45, or a $20 reduction. Please see if you can send me a check by Special Delivery as soon as possible. It certainly means a lot to be initiated, and I’d really appreciate it. I am enclosing an article on the latest Davidson war situation. There is a rumor, unconfirmed, to the effect that all freshmen and sophomores are going to be sent to another school.

That is quite an improvement over last semester’s course in running, tumbling, boxing and the like. 18 Too bad. Don Strotz, my ex-roommate, was in the latter group. By the way, I’ve changed my room and, of course, my roommates. I’m rooming with “Doc” Chandler from Chattanooga, Tenn. Va. Both are good guys. Well, there really isn’t much else in the way of news. S. 19 I’m getting very tired of Duke and the food is no better. Although I failed Physics last semester, I am consoled with an A in History (one out of six A’s in about 400 History students), and a B+ in English.

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