The Center for Faulkner Studies (CFS) is located at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau. It is devoted to the study of the life and works of William Faulkner (1897â"1962), the American author who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. The Center was established in 1989, following the universityâs acquisition of the Louis Daniel Brodsky collection of Faulkner materials. The founding director of the CFS is Robert W. Hamblin, professor of English at Southeast, who has worked with Brodsky since 1979 to produce books, articles, lectures, and exhibits based on the materials in the collection. The assistant director is Christopher Rieger, assistant professor of English at Southeast.
Louis Daniel Brodsky, a native of St. Louis, first studied Faulknerâs novels and stories in 1959 as a student in R. W. B. Lewis's course in American Studies at Yale University. Shortly thereafter, with the help of New Haven bookdealer Henry Wenning, he began to acquire first editions and inscribed copies of Faulkner's books. Over the next 30 years Brodsky expanded his Faulkner holdings to include manuscripts, letters, movie scripts, legal documents, photographs, and drawings, as well as books. The story of the Brodsky Collection and its acquisition by Southeast Missouri State University is recounted in Nicholas Basbanes' A Gentle Madness, which treats a number of noted contemporary book collectors.
In addition to being an outstanding book collector, Brodsky is a noted Faulkner scholar and poet. He is the author of William Faulkner: Life Glimpses, a collection of biographical essays; and he is co-editor, with Robert W. Hamblin, of the five-volume Faulkner: A Comprehensive Guide to the Brodsky Collection, plus three additional volumes based upon materials in the collection. Brodsky has also published more than 70 volumes of poetry, three of which--Mississippi Vistas, Disappearing in Mississippi Latitudes, and Mistress Mississippi--deal with Faulknerian themes, settings, and characters. His other poems include a five-volume series, Shadow War, treating the events and aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States; You Can't Go Back, Exactly, which won the 2004 Award for the Best Book of Poetry from the Center for Great Lakes Culture at Michigan State University; and Still Wandering in the Wilderness: Poems of the Jewish Diaspora. A complete list of his poetry volumes can be found at the Time Being Books website. Brodsky's personal website includes a number of his Faulkner publications.
The Brodsky Collection
Housed in the Rare Book Room of Southeast Missouri State University's Kent Library, the Louis Daniel Brodsky William Faulkner Collection is one of the four largest gatherings of Faulkner materials in the world. (The others are housed at the University of Virginia, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Texas.) The Brodsky Collection includes:
- Over 2,000 pages of manuscript materials
- More than 3,000 letters by or about Faulkner
- Nearly 2,000 photographs
- Over 1,000 pages relating to Faulkner's work as a screenwriter in Hollywood
- A collection of visual artwork by and related to Faulkner
- A large collection of criticism devoted to Faulkner's works
The Brodsky Collection also includes the Blotner Papers, the comprehensive file of research materials, interview notes, correspondence, and manuscripts compiled by Joseph Blotner during his work on Faulkner: A Biography.
The Haynes Collection
The Center for Faulkner Studies is also the repository for the materials assembled by Jane Isbell Haynes, a Faulkner scholar and collector. Haynes is the author of William Faulkner: His Tippah County Heritage and William Faulkner: His Lafayette County Heritage.
Programs and Conferences
The CFS sponsors and supports educational, scholarly, and public service projects related to William Faulkner, the South, and American and world literature. Research scholars from throughout the United States and a dozen other countries have conducted research at the Center. BioKyowa, Inc., a Japanese-American manufacturing industry, sponsors the annual BioKyowa Visiting Japanese Scholar program. The Center also regularly hosts visits from Chinese scholars studying Faulkner. Every two years the CFS hosts a conference on Faulkner and another writer. The 2006 conference featured Faulkner and Mark Twain, the 2008 conference focused on Faulkner and Kate Chopin, and the 2010 conference featured Faulkner and Toni Morrison. The proceedings of these conferences are published by Southeast Missouri State University Press. The Faulkner Center also publishes the Teaching Faulkner newsletter, which provides a network of information for high school, college, and university teachers of Faulknerâs works.