Study Guide

William Faulkner Trouble in Oxford

Trouble in Oxford

Despite his creative outpourings and the commercial success of Sanctuary, Faulkner's personal life was in perpetual disarray. By the late 1920s, his drinking had gotten out of control. After finishing his revisions for The Sound and the Fury in 1929, Faulkner locked the door and drank until he blacked out. In order to maintain Rowan Oak and to provide for Estelle and Jill, Faulkner was forced into writing screenplays for the movies. In 1932, Faulkner signed his first contract with MGM—he would be paid $500 a week—to work on film scripts. Over the next fifteen years, Faulkner helped write many screenplays, including those for the popular To Have and Have Not (based on a novel by Faulkner's literary rival Ernest Hemingway!) and The Big Sleep. Faulkner, however, hated the work and ceased traveling to Hollywood for good after a contract with Warner Brothers went sour in the mid-1940s.

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