The proceeds from the June 11 auction go to the family. Sotheby’s expects the auction to bring in as much as $2 million.
In 2010, an auction of a Faulkner collection of books and personal items, including one of his most acclaimed novels, “Light in August,” brought in $833,246. The auction was handled by Christie’s in New York.
Les Caplin, who represents the Faulkner estate and the family, said the Sotheby’s preview last night precedes one planned for Paris later where writings for Faulkner’s years in France will be exhibited.
“They loved his fiction. He was very popular in France before he became popular here,” Caplin said. “It was Albert Camus who translated Faulkner’s ‘Requiem for a Nun’ into French. One of the things we found was the eulogy that Faulkner wrote to Albert Camus when he died.”
Caplin said while many items in the collection came from universities, the family expects much of it will return to colleges.
“I think the family is confident much of this is going to end up in scholars’ hands,” Caplin said.
For many, Faulkner’s life and work will forever be entwined with Oxford, Miss.
In September of 1902, just before he turned 5 years old, Faulkner and his family moved to Oxford, so it was where he grew up. He raised his own family there. And it is where he was buried after dying on July 6, 1962, at age 64.
Jay Watson, Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies and Professor of English at the University of Mississippi, said many scholars are hoping the Faulkner papers remain in the public domain, especially those recently discovered and unpublished.
“I think the jury is out on what it is going to mean to scholars. I think there is less talk among scholars about the Nobel Prize than the manuscripts and the hope of getting access to and being published in some form. That will depend on the actual owner of the manuscripts,” Watson said.