William Faulkner’s Resignation

William Faulkner is my favorite writer. I fell in love with his work in college, where in 1986 I took a graduate level course in the themes of generation in his novels. I was a senior – an undergrad – but the professor was cool and let me in.

So being such a fan, I was pleased to see a link on Twitter to the letter quoted below.

After college, Faulkner worked as a postmaster for 3 years. He despised the job and basically didn’t do it much. He spent his days writing, drinking, playing bridge, showing up late, leaving early, and occasionally losing or throwing away the mail. Can you imagine a brain that size trapped in such a place?

Eventually, Faulkner’s indifference caught up with him and he resigned. I knew the story but I’d never seen the resignation. And when I started to read it tonight, the screen went black and there was an evil pop-up, demanding I disable my ad blocker. Newp. I think not. I found the letter elsewhere and offer it here for you.

I think my reaction is in the spirit of Faulkner’s own.

[October, 1924]

As long as I live under the capitalistic system, I expect to have my life influenced by the demands of moneyed people. But I will be damned if I propose to be at the beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a postage stamp.

This, sir, is my resignation.