William Styron (1925-2006) was one of the most prominent and successful novelists of his generation. He was the author of four full-length novels: Lie Down in Darkness (1951), Set This House on Fire (1960), The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967), andSophie’s Choice (1979)—and of a short novel, The Long March (1952). His other books include a volume of essays, This Quiet Dust (1982, rev. edn. 1993); an account of his depression, Darkness Visible (1990); and a volume of short fiction, A Tidewater Morning (1993).
Styron was much honored during his lifetime. He won the Prix de Rome, the Pulitzer Prize, the Howells Medal, the National Book Award, the Legion of Honor, and many other prizes and awards. His writings are stylistically brilliant and intellectually challenging. His books, especially The Confessions of Nat Turner, aroused controversy. He insisted in his writing on crossing boundaries of race and ethnicity to seek illumination and truth.
Styron is having an active posthumous career. Books of his writings published since his death include a collection of personal essays, Havanas in Camelot (2008); a book of short fiction about the Marine Corps, The Suicide Run (2009); and a volume of collected nonfiction, My Generation (2015). Two collections of correspondence have appeared: Letters to My Father (2009), edited by James L. W. West III, and Selected Letters (2012), edited by Rose Styron and R. Blakeslee Gilpin. Styron’s daughter Alexandra has published a memoir entitled Reading My Father (2011).