'Faulkner's World' offers glimpse into famed author's life in Mississippi

May 19, 2012 4:53:57 PM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


by jan swoope 


[email protected] 


Photographer Martin J. Dain was one of the few who photographed author William Faulkner at Rowan Oak, the writer's home in Oxford. A selection of those images are compiled in a traveling exhibit, "Faulkner's World: The Photographs of Martin J. Dain," on display at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library through June 22. 


Dain's photographs provide a unique journey into Faulkner's environment. Taken between 1961 and 1963, the images portray the writer at home and provide a comprehensive look at the people and cultural traditions that inspired him.  


This collection, consisting of 36 framed images, provides an extraordinary window through which to view community history and from which to reflect on culture and change in Oxford and the surrounding area, shared library archivist Mona K. Vance. As the exhibition discusses and interprets the legacy of Faulkner, it also provides an opportunity to prompt community dialogue. 


On his first visit to Oxford in 1961, Dain made numerous photographs of the town and the surrounding rural Lafayette County, the inspiration for the author's fictional Yoknapatawpha County. Dain returned in 1962 to photograph Faulkner's funeral and made additional images of Lafayette County. 


The exhibition opened at the University of Mississippi in 1997 and traveled for two years as part of the Faulkner Centennial Celebration. It had an encore tour in 2007 in conjunction with the Mississippi Reads project administered through the Mississippi Library Commission, and is once again available, this time for libraries, museums, and cultural centers in Mississippi and surrounding states.  


"Faulkner's World: The Photographs of Martin J. Dain" was curated and produced by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture in Oxford.  


Following the exhibition in Columbus, "Faulkner's World" will be at the Lafayette County and Oxford Public Library in July and August and at the Lee County Library in Tupelo in September and October.  


Anyone interested in scheduling the traveling exhibition of Dain photographs should contact Mary Hartwell Howorth by e-mail at [email protected] or phone at 662-915-5993. 


For more information about the exhibit at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, 314 Seventh St. N., contact the library at 662-329-5300.

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.