Recent Scholarship

Recent Scholarship

2015 – 2019

The Literary Battle for Nat Turner’s Legacy” by Sam Tenenhaus. Vanity Fair, September 2016.

The Winter 2016 issue of the Mississippi Quarterly is devoted to The Confessions of Nat Turner, with articles by Gavin Cologne-Brookes, Bethany Ober Mannon, Linda S. Watts, James L. W. West III, and Michael Lackey, who edited this special issue. It appeared in the fall of 2017, fifty years after the first publication of the novel.

Gavin Cologne-Brookes, “Dead Man Walking: Nat Turner, William Styron, Bruce Springsteen, and the Death Penalty,” The Mississippi Quarterly, 69 (Winter 2016): 9-29.

For another reconsideration of Nat Turner, see Gene Seymour, “The Novel as History: Revisiting 1968’s Pulitzer-Winning Book,” Bookforum 25.2 (Summer 2018): 5.

James L. W. West III, “William Styron, Hiram Haydn, and the Ending of The Long March,” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 60 (2019): 125-30.

James L. W. West III, “From an Unfinished Novel,” The Paris Review, 239 (Fall 2019).

The book that changed the way we talk about depression” by Philip Eil., 2019.

Styron, Alexandra. “The First Novelist Accused Of Cultural Appropriation.” The Atlantic. 9 March 2020.

2010 – 2014

An analysis of the Sophie’s Choice MS by Gavin Cologne-Brookes, forthcoming in the Mississippi Quarterly in 2010, together with a previously unpublished interview of Styron by Cologne-Brookes, the author of The Novels of William Styron: From Harmony to History (1995).

The e-book rights to Styron’s writings have been a subject for discussion. See the two articles by Motoko Rich in the New York Times for 14 October and 13 December 2009. Also the op-ed by Jonathan Galassi in the Times for 3 January 2010. All are available in the online edition.

A double review of Letters to My Father and The Suicide Run appears (front-page) in the Times Literary Supplement for 15 January 2010. It’s by James Campbell, an editor at TLS and the author of an excellent biography of James Baldwin called Talking at the Gates. See also Campbell’s profile of Styron in Syncopations: Beats, New Yorkers, and Writers in the Dark (Univ. of California Press, 2008), pp. 62-71.

Alexandra Styron, Reading My Father. New York: Scribner, 2011.

“An Accidental Boswell: Writing the Life of William Styron,” Sewanee Review, 119 (Summer 2011): 445-50.

Gavin Cologne-Brookes, Rereading William Styron.  Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2014.

Gavin Cologne-Brookes, “This Quiet Dust Swirls Back to Life,” The Mississippi Quarterly, 67 (Spring 2014): 319-25.

Gavin Cologne Brookes, “From Rome to Ravello with Set This House on Fire,” The Sewanee Review, 122 (Summer 2014): 484-94.

2005 – 2009

Peter Matthiessen, “In Memory: William Styron,” Paris Review, Winter 2006, pp. 181-86. A memoir of Styron by his close friend.

Alexandra Styron, “Reading My Father,” New Yorker, 10 December 2007, pp. 50 ff. A memoir by the youngest of Styron’s three daughters, herself a novelist—All the Finest Girls (2001).

Sophie’s Choice: A Contemporary Casebook. Eds. Rhoda Sirlin and James L. W. West III. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007. xvi, 170 pp. A collection of scholarship and commentary on the novel.

Peter Coveney, “William Styron: The Making of a Writer,” Firsts: The Book Collector’s Magazine, 18 (January 2008): 18-31. An extended account of Styron’s literary career, with a checklist of his writings and numerous images of first-edition jackets.

Jess Row, “Styron’s Choice,” New York Times Book Review, 9 July 2008, p. 27. On The Confessions of Nat Turner and its original reception.

James L. W. West III, “Styron, Ellison, and the Difficulties of Friendship,” in the Sewanee Review, Winter 2009, pp. 106-113. This article includes the first print publication of Styron’s eulogy for Ellison, given elsewhere on this website.

Gavin Cologne-Brookes, “Looking Back: A Conversation with William Styron,” The Mississippi Quarterly, 62 (Fall 2009): 499-510.

Gavin Cologne-Brookes, “Sophie’s Voice, Tolstoy, Film, Music: Interpreting a Leaf from the Manuscript of Sophie’s Choice,” The Mississippi Quarterly, 62 (Fall 2009): 511-525.

Writings about The Suicide Run:

  • Elizabeth D. Samet, “Marine Dreams,” New York Times Book Review, 11 October 2009.
  • Michael D. Langan, “Styron echoes fidelity to Corps,” Buffalo News, 11 October 2009.
  • David Flusfeder, “The Suicide Run,” Financial Times Limited, 12 October 2009.
  • Leon Neyfakh, “Posthumous fiction Collection From William Styron To Be Published by Random House,” New York Observer, 7 July 2008. [NOTE: The year is correct, as this is a prepublication notice.]
  • Josiah Bunting III, “A Novelist’s Last War Stories,” Wall Street Journal, 3 October 2009.
  • Nicholas Delbanco, “The Suicide Run: Five Tales of the Marine Corps” by William Styron,” Los Angeles Times, 1 November 2009.
  • Kathy L. Greenberg, “Unearthed Styron treasures explore his time in Marines,” Tampa Tribune, 4 October 2009.
  • Jonathan Yardley, “Memories of Styron,” Washington Post, 4 October 2009. (Also discusses Letters to My Father.)