‘They Worship Death Here’: William Faulkner, Sanctuary and Hollywood

Richard Gray

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 131, 2004 Lectures

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263518
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734021 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

‘They Worship Death Here’: William Faulkner, Sanctuary and Hollywood

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This lecture discusses William Faulkner's experiences in Hollywood, which he described as a place that worships death and not money. It shows that nearly all of his experiences in Hollywood were bad, but were eventually redeemed in part by friendships, most notably with director Howard Hawks. Faulkner also had a passionate affair with Meta Carpenter, Hawks' script clerk. Faulkner is shown to have never fully settled down or felt secure in Hollywood, and eventually things became worse for him as time went on. However, Faulkner was able to recognise the determining significance of Hollywood in his time and culture, and subsequently penned a number of novels and written works, including The Wild Palms. The lecture examines several of Faulkner's works that were written during his stay in Hollywood, most particularly Sanctuary, a notorious and controversial novel during that time.

Keywords: William Faulkner; Howard Hawks; experiences in Hollywood; significance of Hollywood; The Wild Palms; Sanctuary

Chapter.  9650 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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