Styron, William

Styron, William
born June 11, 1925, Newport News, Va., U.S.

U.S. novelist.

Educated at Duke University, Styron became part of the American expatriate community in Paris in the 1950s. His first novel, Lie Down in Darkness (1951), tells of a disturbed young woman who commits suicide. His fourth, the controversial Confessions of Nat Turner (1967, Pulitzer Prize), vividly evokes the slavery era. His later work includes Sophie's Choice (1979), examining ramifications of the Holocaust; and Darkness Visible (1990), a nonfiction account of his depression. His works often treat violent themes in a rich, Faulknerian style.

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▪ American author
born June 11, 1925, Newport News, Va., U.S.
died Nov. 1, 2006, Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

      American novelist noted for his treatment of tragic themes and his use of a rich, classical prose style.

      Styron served in the U.S. Marine Corps before graduating from Duke University, Durham, N.C., in 1947. During the 1950s he was part of the community of American expatriates in Paris. In 1953 he became an advisory editor to the Paris Review.

      Styron's first novel, Lie Down in Darkness (1951), set in his native tidewater Virginia, tells of a young woman from a loveless middle-class family who fights unsuccessfully for her sanity before committing suicide. His next work, The Long March (1956), chronicles a brutal forced march undertaken by recruits in a Marine training camp. The novel Set This House on Fire, complexly structured and set largely in Italy, appeared in 1960.

      Styron's fourth novel, The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967), is an account of a historical incident, a slave rebellion led by the title character in Virginia in 1831. Based on a transcript of Turner's testimony and told from his point of view, the book sympathetically portrays a man who is denied happiness because of his degrading enslavement. Embittered and alienated, he undertakes a bloody revolt that ends in his capture and execution. The novel's publication at the peak of the civil rights movement helped make it a best seller. It was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1968, but it also stirred wide controversy, with critics accusing the book of racism and of misrepresenting African American history.

      Styron's final novel, Sophie's Choice (1979; filmed 1982), portrays the growth of a friendship between a young Southern writer and a Roman Catholic woman from Poland who survived the Nazi death camp Auschwitz. It too became a controversial best seller. His other works include the play In the Clap Shack (1972) and This Quiet Dust (1982), a collection of essays that treat the dominant themes of Styron's fiction. Darkness Visible (1990) is a nonfiction account of Styron's struggle against depression. A Tidewater Morning (1993) consists of autobiographical stories. Havanas in Camelot (2008), a collection of personal essays on topics ranging from the author's friendship with Pres. John F. Kennedy (Kennedy, John F.) to his morning walks with his dog, was published posthumously.

Additional Reading
John Henrik Clarke (ed.), William Styron's Nat Turner: Ten Black Writers Respond (1968), is a fierce critique published soon after Styron's novel. James L.W. West III, William Styron (1998), is a biography.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Styron, William — (n. 11 jun. 1925, Newport News, Va., EE.UU.). Novelista estadounidense. Educado en la Universidad de Duke, Styron se sumó a la comunidad de escritores expatriados en París durante la década de 1950. Su primera novela, Tendidos en la oscuridad… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Styron,William — Sty·ron (stīʹrən), William. Born 1925. American writer primarily known for his novels, including Lie Down in Darkness (1951) and The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967). * * * …   Universalium

  • Styron, William Clark, Jr. — ▪ 2007       American novelist (b. June 11, 1925, Newport News, Va. d. Nov. 1, 2006, Martha s Vineyard, Massachusetts), was noted for his treatment of tragic themes and his use of a rich, classical prose style. Styron served in the U.S. Marine… …   Universalium

  • Styron, William —    см. Стайрон, Уильям …   Писатели США. Краткие творческие биографии

  • STYRON (W.) — STYRON WILLIAM (1925 ) Né à New Port News, en Virginie, Styron vécut son enfance dans le sud des États Unis avant de participer à la Seconde Guerre mondiale dans le corps des Marines, puis à la guerre de Corée. Il n’acquit une formation… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Styron — (William) (né en 1925) écrivain américain: la Proie des flammes (1960), le Choix de Sophie (1979) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • William Styron — Infobox Writer name = William Styron caption = Author William Styron answers a question from the audience at a panel discussion on November 4, 1998. birthdate = June 11, 1925 birthplace = Newport News, Virginia deathdate = November 1, 2006… …   Wikipedia

  • William Styron — noun United States writer best known for his novels (born in 1925) • Syn: ↑Styron • Instance Hypernyms: ↑writer, ↑author * * * William Styron [William Styron …   Useful english dictionary

  • William — /wil yeuhm/, n. 1. a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter W. 2. a male given name: from Germanic words meaning will and helmet. * * * (as used in expressions) Huddie William Ledbetter Aberhart William George William… …   Universalium

  • William Styron — Nom de naissance William Clark Styron Jr. Activités écrivain et essayiste Naissance 11 juin 1925 Newport News, Virginie, États Unis Décès 1er novembre 2006 île de Martha s Vineyard, Massachusetts, USA …   Wikipédia en Français

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