CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 22, 2007 — Southeast Missouri State University’s Center for Faulkner Studies has added to its archives copies of U.S. State Department documents relating to Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulknerᾰthanks to the assistance of U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson and the cooperation of the University of Arkansas.
The nearly 400 pages of materials are the official government records covering Faulkner’s visits during the 1950s to eight foreign countries, among them Japan, Greece, Italy, France and Venezuela.
Faulkner, winner of the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature, made the one- to two-week visits on behalf of the United States Information Service, a cultural adjunct to the State Department.
Dr. Robert Hamblin, director of the Faulkner Center, explained that he had been trying to locate and obtain the documents for two years but had had no luck until he contacted Emerson’s office for help.
Shortly thereafter, Hamblin received a call from Martin Manning, an archivist at the State Department. However, Hamblin noted, the initial word from Manning was disappointing.
“He explained,” Hamblin said, “that the Faulkner materials were a part of a huge body of government documents that Sen. J. William Fulbright had arranged to have deposited at the University of Arkansas in the mid-1980s.”
Hamblin’s two-year quest ended successfully, however, when archivists at the University of Arkansas agreed to provide copies of the documents to the Faulkner Center.
Hamblin noted that Faulkner’s contributions as a U.S. cultural ambassador have been little studied by Faulkner biographers, and international visitors to the Faulkner Center are particularly interested in this aspect of Faulkner’s career.
“It’s one more example,” Hamblin said, “of the international appeal of Faulkner and our Faulkner Center.”