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Faulkner at Virginia: An Audio Archive / Profile

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Coming May 2010: this project will enable users to read, search and listen to William Faulkner’s 33 sessions with students, faculty and the public as UVA’s first Writer-in-Residence. Directed by Stephen Railton, Professor of English, and produced by the UVA Library in partnership with SHANTI.

During his two Spring semesters as UVA’s Writer-in-Residence in 1957 and 1958, Faulkner was also (as he joked in a letter) “speaker-in-residence.” Appearing in that role on 33 different occasions, he gave two addresses, read from nine of his works, and answered over 1400 questions from audiences made up of various groups: UVA students and faculty, faculty from other colleges and universities, townspeople from Charlottesville and Albemarle. The questions are often wide-ranging, but favorite topics include: the meanings of his fiction, himself and other writers, and current events like the growing Civil Rights Movement.

The voices that spoke at those events were captured by the advanced technology of that time, the reel-to-reel tape recorder, and have been preserved on thin ribbons of magnetic tape in boxes in the university’s Special Collections library. Thanks to the advanced technologies of our time – digitization and the internet – 21st century scholars, teachers and students will soon be able to hear those sessions for themselves. When this project goes online as a freely available resource in the Spring, 2010, it will include fully searchable transcripts linked to the digitized recordings, and a wealth of ancillary materials designed to help modern users understand the larger cultural contexts of the time and place in which Faulkner is speaking.

The project is being created as a collaboration between SHANTI and the University of Virginia Library with its director. As the first SHANTI project, it is also intended to model forms of collaboration that other faculty projects can use.


Directed by Stephen Railton (Professor of English)

Michael Plunkett (Director, Small Special Collections Library)
Wayne Graham (Digital Humanities Specialist, Scholars Lab)
Steven Knepper (Graduate Student, Dept of English)
David Germano (Director, SHANTI)
Elizabeth Gushee (UVA Library)
Bethany Nowviskie (Director, Digital Research and Scholarship, UVA Library)
Judith Thomas (Director Arts & Media Library Services, UVA Library)
Matthew Stephens (Sustaining Digital Scholarship Programmer, UVA Library)
Adam Soroka (User Support Programmer, UVA Library)

Ethan Gruber (Web Applications Developer, UVA Library)
Leigh Rockey (Preservation Services, UVA Library)
John Alexander (SHANTI)

Advisory Board: Thadious Davis (Univ of Pennsylvania), Leigh Anne Duck (Univ of Memphis), Noel Polk (Mississippi State Univ), David Seaman (Dartmouth), John Wilkins (Univ of Michigan)


UVA Library


UVA Department of English

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