JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Manuscripts and personal letters of the late William Faulkner, whose original writings are a rarity in the literary marketplace, were previewed last night at Sotheby’s in New York — an event to whet the appetites of scholars ahead of a June auction.
It’s a literary treasure trove, said Justin Caldwell, a specialist in books and manuscripts at Sotheby’s.
William Faulkner’s 1950 Nobel Prize for Literature. The Legion d’Honneur medal presented by France to Faulkner in 1951. Faulkner’s Nobel handwritten acceptance speech draft.
It’s an estate package that includes 26 letters and postcards sent by Faulkner, 25 leather-bound columns of the author’s work and manuscripts of “The Trapper Story,” ‘‘Vision in Spring,” ‘‘Mammy Callie,” and “Hog Pawn.”
Some items, such as the Nobel medal, had been stored at the University of Mississippi. Other manuscripts came from the University of Virginia, where Faulkner was writer-in-residence in 1957-58. All the items were on loan, university officials say, and were always property of the family.
There’s also a group of letters and postcards he wrote to his family while living in Paris in the 1920s. Caldwell said the letters include one to his mother in which he warns her he has grown a beard.
“He drew her pictures of how he looked,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell said Sotheby’s began talks with the family after a previously unpublished and untitled 12-page, short story by Faulkner was found among literary papers at the family farm in Charlottesville, Va., last year.
Another find was an original book of poetry Faulkner wrote and bound for his wife, Estelle. It was published in 1984 from a photocopy.
“We were thrilled. Original Faulkner material is very scarce on the market,” Caldwell said.
“This auction is for people who are serious about modern literature. This is not something they are going to see very often ... this much Faulkner material in the same place.”