William Styron is an American novelist. He is best known for two controversial novels: the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967), narrated by Nat Turner, the leader of an Virginia slave revolt, and Sophie's Choice (1979), which deals with the Holocaust.Styron was born in Newport News, Virginia, not far from the site of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion, later the source for his most famous and controversial novel.
Though Styron’s paternal grandparents had been slave owners, his Northern mother and liberal Southern father gave him a broad perspective on race relations unusual for his generation. Styron’s childhood was a difficult one: his father, a shipyard engineer, suffered from the clinical depression Styron himself would later inherit, and his mother died of cancer before Styron’s fourteenth birthday.He joined the Marines toward the end of World War II. Though Styron was made a lieutenant, the Japanese surrendered before Styron’s ship even left San Francisco. Styron then enrolled in Duke University, which would later grant him a B.A. in English; here Styron also published his first fiction, a short story heavily influenced by William Faulkner, in an anthology of student workBibliography LIE DOWN IN DARKNESS – reveals the tragic life and suicide of a girl whose rich family was unable to provide her understanding, love and security
THE LONG MARCHSET THIS HOUSE ON FIRE THE CONFESSIONS OF NAT TURNER 1967- Pulitzer prize, author describes a young blackk slave who led a rebellion in 1831.
SOPHIE'S CHOICE 1979- tells the story of the Polish-Catholic Auschwitz survivor Sophie, her brilliant but menacing Jewish lover Nathan, and her young admirer Stingo, was a nationwide bestseller. A 1982 film version was nominated for five Academy Awards, with Meryl Streep winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Sophie
THIS QUIET DUST, AND OTHER WRITINGS DARKNESS VISIBLE: A MEMOIR OF MADNESS- impressive account of his chronical depression, which nearly caused his deathA TIDEWATER MORNING: THREE TALES FROM YOUTHIn 1985 Styron suffered from a serious clinical depression which he would later recall in his popular memoir Darkness Visible (1990). His other works include a play, In the Clap Shack (1973) and a collection of his nonfiction pieces, This Quiet Dust.He preoccupies with the South, his fiction has very dramatic, or even tragic undertones. In each novel, the reader witnesses the life of a person who has lost the anxious, even desperate, yet preserving sense of identity conferred by self-awareness of alienation. The tragic may lead on the catharsis, and it does in his world of confused minds, lost opportunities and frustrated dreams and ambitions. His style is brilliant and elaborate; it owes much to Faulkner and his intricate compositional techniques.
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William Styron: Biography
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