The life and times of william clark styron jr

William and Rose Styron with Sen. The cause of death was pneumonia. Styron had been in failing health for a number of years.

The life and times of william clark styron jr

Styron, who has died aged 81, was a white Southerner and a combative liberal. In the eyes of his critics that made him guilty on all counts.

Early years

He received threatening phone calls and letters. Abusive reviews appeared in newspapers. The Confessions of Nat Turner became an overnight bestseller, making Styron a wealthy man and winning the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in Someone like Styron, raised in the heart of segregated Virginia, was not an obvious candidate to enter into the emotions and mind of the black slave, Nat Turner, who in led the bloodiest "servile insurrection" in the history of the South.

That he chose such a subject was audacious in the strained racial climate of the s. The Styrons were a family of struggling merchants, steamboat captains, shipbuilders and tobacco manufacturers from the Tidewater region of Virginia. His father, also a William Styronworked as an engineer in the large Newport News and Dry Dock Company, and his mother was an accomplished musician who worked as a music supervisor in public schools.

Styron was raised in a completely segregated world. Blacks were excluded from the schools, restaurants and public facilities which were patronised by whites. In his mother died of cancer, beginning a period of deepening unhappiness and confused rebellion against his father.

In he The life and times of william clark styron jr sent to a threadbare Episcopal boarding school, where there was compulsory daily chapel. He joined a fraternity, published stories in the college literary magazine and dropped his Tidewater accent when classmates teased him as a "cornpone Southerner".

The life and times of william clark styron jr

At the age of 18 he first read Thomas Wolfe. He was sent to continue his education at Duke University, where he found the more sophisticated atmosphere at Duke to his taste, before being called up by the Marines in A mistaken medical test kept him from the Pacific war until after Hiroshima, when he was transferred into the Marine Corps Reserve, and returned to Duke University to finish his degree.

He moved to New York City indetermined to begin a career as a writer. Boredom and insubordination cut short a brief spell reading the slush pile at publishers McGraw-Hill and he promptly enrolled in a creative writing course taught at the New School.

News that a girl he had been infatuated with as a young man had committed suicide became the germ of his first novel, Lie Down in Darkness. He struggled with the manuscript for the next three years, during which time he was recalled to active duty in the Marine Corps after the outbreak of the Korean war.

The life and times of william clark styron jr

A nightmarish mile march at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina was the inspiration for his second novel, The Long March, published in A congenital cataract was discovered, and Styron was discharged from the Marine Corps.

Lie Down in Darkness was published to glowing reviews in He moved to Paris, becoming a boisterous presence in the group which founded The Paris Review, and then Italy.

On its publication incritics complained that Styron had learned rather more from Camus and Sartre than was to American taste. Critics in France were more enthusiastic. Styron wrote all his books in longhand using a number 2 pencil on pads of yellow lined paper. Writing slowly in the afternoon, he seldom revised.

The wall of his study displays a quotation from Flaubert: Arthur Miller and Philip Roth later become neighbours. In the evening, there was talk, music and much alcohol consumed. He was spellbinding, and he told me more about the frustrations and anguish of being a black man in America than I had known until then.

Like so many white liberals, Styron became passionately committed to the great American struggle over civil rights. Through Baldwin he learned what it felt like to be refused service in a bar, to be spat at or called "nigger" and "boy. With consummate courage, Styron chose to tell the story of Nat Turner from within the consciousness of the leader of the slave rebellion.

No serious American writer had ever earned so much money from a novel. There were interviews, conferences on his work, a biography in progress. However in he experienced a sudden and inexplicable failure of self-esteem.

Unable to drink after forty years of alcohol abuse, he became addicted to Halcion, a sedative prescribed for sleeplessness. As he sank into the depths of depression, he experienced symptoms of confusion, anxiety and trembling which drove him to the brink of suicide.

The next morning he was admitted to hospital, where he learned that his 0. He returned home seven weeks later with an enhanced understanding that his father, too, had struggled with "the gorgon", and been hospitalised, and that throughout his novels he had been describing characters who were suffering from depression.

The death of Primo Levi, another sufferer from depression, impelled Styron to speak in public for the first time about his experiences, helping to raise awareness of a malady which had been regarded in America as something shameful and to be hidden from public view.William Clark Styron Jr.

(June 11, – November 1, ) was an American novelist and essayist who won major literary awards for his work. Styron was best known for his novels, including: Lie Down in Darkness (), his acclaimed first work, published when he was 26;Born: William Clark Styron Jr., June 11, , Newport News, Virginia, U.S.

Nov 02,  · William Clark Styron Jr. was born on June 11, , in Newport News, the only child of William Clark Styron, a shipyard engineer with roots so deep in . William Clark Styron Jr. (June 11, – November 1, ) was an American novelist and essayist who won major literary awards for his work.

[1] Styron was best known for his novels, including:Died: November 1, (aged 81), Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, U.S. STYRON, William Clark, Jr. (b. 11 June in Newport News, Virginia), award-winning novelist who created a storm of controversy with his fictionalized account of an slave insurrection, The Confessions of Nat Turner (), and whose other works examine pain, self-knowledge, and evil through a masterly control of diverse points of view.

Styron was born in the Hilton Village historic district of Newport News, Virginia, the son of Pauline Margaret (Abraham) and William Clark Styron. He grew up in the South and was steeped in its r-bridal.comen: 4, including Susanna Styron.

Styron, William Clark, Jr.

William Clark Styron Jr. was born on June 11, in Newport News, Va.; his father was a marine engineer. He had a happy childhood, was an early reader and was socially outgoing. His mother, Pauline Margaret (Abraham) Styron, died when he was

William Styron Biography, Life, Interesting Facts