SEARCH UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES WEBSITE
Prepared by Kyler Andrew Culver, November 5, 2003; Last Updated: March 2020
Inclusive Dates: 1912-1979
Extent: .33 cubic feet (1 document case)
Physical Location: 11th floor
Historical Note: In 1920, four years before the publication of his first book, William Faulkner wrote a one-act play in verse form for his university dramatic club. The play, Marionettes, a love story involving personifications of the seasons, was not published until 1975, when the Yoknapatawpha Press published a deluxe 88-page faithful facsimile of Faulkner's hand-lettered manuscript, the only of the author's published works for which he himself drew illustrations. Noel Polk of the English department of the University of Texas at Austin wrote an extensive article on the publication of the work, and was involved in collating the extant copies of the original for the sake of the re-issue.
Scope and Content: At the urging of friends who saw the elaborately handcrafted original copy of the play, William Faulkner hand-lettered and hand-bound, with his own original drawings, five additional copies of The Marionettes, his first book, while he was an undergraduate at the University of Mississippi, where the play was produced by fellow students. In 1975, collating the four extant copies of this extremely rare book, Noel Polk of the English Department of the University of Texas at Austin contributed to an effort to re-issue an exacting reproduction of the physical and artistic achievement represented by this tome of Faulkner's own creation and manufacture. Polk's donation includes photocopies of the original copies of Marionettes, as well as carefully recorded lists of textual variations, working manuscripts of Polk's scholarly articles on the book, research resources, the writings of others involved in its production, news clippings and some correspondence.
The Department of Special Collections and Archives houses two editions of Marionettes--one published in 1977 by the University of Virginia Press (with introduction and textual apparatus by Noel Polk), and another published by the University of Virginia in 1975 as a limited edition in memory of Linton R. Massey.
Folder -- Contents