Fair Use: William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak Home

Fair Use: William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak Home

Here is our latest installment of “Fair Use,” a recurring series that traces the rabbit hole of online research we fall into when we stumble upon a public domain image that we find compelling.

This week’s fair use find: Rowan Oak, the Oxford, Mississippi home of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist William Faulkner.

What’s the backstory? Built in 1844 by Colonel Robert Sheegog, this grand Greek Revival-style estate housed Faulkner and his novels on its 29-acre plot of land from 1930 until his death in 1962.

It was in this home that Faulkner was said to have received the call about his 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, and it is in the study that he built after winning said prize that Faulkner mapped out his Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning novel, “A Fable,” by writing the (still visible) outline directly onto the walls in graphite and red grease pencils.

How did the house it get its name? Even though no such sapling exists on the grounds, Faulkner named the house after the mythical Rowan tree, which, according to lore, is meant to ward off evil spirits.

Can I visit? The home is now maintained as a museum by the University of Mississippi and is open to the public to enter and, perhaps, contemplate Faulkner’s famous line, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”




Top Image: Courtesy of Carol M. Highsmith