Faulkner Country

August 27-Southern Exposure

by Lenny Hughes

We're back!

What better place to finish out the Long, Hot Summer than Faulkner Country?

Right now, we're hurtling toward Columbus, Georgia, after a grand tour of Oxford, Mississippi. Oxford, as you literature fans know, is Ground Zero for Southern Lit.

It's the setting for most of William Faulkner's works, and it's maintained its historical charm, including the iconic courthouse, which has been the setting of many literary works and movies.

Iconic Courthouse

Rowan Oak Marker

Touring Faulkner's Home

Yesterday, some nice people from the University of Mississippi took Lewis and me to Rowan Oak, the mansion where Faulkner lived from 1930 til his death in 1962. Our tour guide was full of great anecdotes about the writer of "The Sound and the Fury," "A Rose for Emily," and other American classics.

It's the quintessential southern mansion, with columns and galleries, and an approach lined with towering cedars. The University maintains it, preserving its lived-in patina as it looked when Faulkner lived there with his family as he cranked out his masterpieces.

Faulkner's Golf Clubs

Faulkner's Library

Faulkner's Booze

Faulkner's Guns

Lewis checked over his well-stocked library and found Faulkner's golf clubs in the corner of one room. I found a couple of his guns in an upstairs bedroom, including a B-B gun, which brought to mind the story that he used to shoot at tourists from his balcony when he lived in New Orleans back in the '20s. I always thought the report was apocryphal, but seeing that he actually owned a B-B gun gave it a little more credence.

We started the weekend Thursday in Birmingham AL. That's the birthplace of Walker Percy, but it doesn't have the historical presence of an Oxford. Not that I had a literary tour-I spent the morning with Zeke Forester, the new member of the Lewis Black mafia, as we threw around crates of new merchandise that arrived from the warehouse. (Actually, Percy lived mainly in Mississippi and Louisiana.)

Lyric Theatre in Birmingham AL

Lewis Lost

The Birmingham show, in the venerable Lyric Theatre, was an appropriately raucous return to the circuit. I caught the end of Lew's set, where he laughingly struggled to find an article he wanted to read the crowd; and on finally finding it, he said, "And that's why I couldn't get into Princeton."

It was a great show last night at the Ford Center at Ole Miss, and now we're closing in on Columbus GA. Next weekend, we're off for Labor Day, and I'm hitting the Baltimore Comic Con.

Great to be back on the road, though.