10 Quotes By William Styron That Depict The Beauty Of Life

Born on 11 June, 1925 William Styron is an American novelist who rose into prominence with his novels that dealt with tragic themes in a sensitive manner.

He was the son of Pauline Margaret {Abraham} and William Clark Styron, he grew up in the South, a place that is steeped in history. Post his mother’s death, his father sent him to a boarding school in Christchurch, Virginia and after his graduation, Styron began training as a Marine reserve officer. He attended the Davidson College and the Marines transferred him to Duke University in 1943, a year after his admission. Styron left Duke University in 1944 to assume active duty and post training he was sent to Japan as a second lieutenant. He was discharged after a month, when Japan surrendered after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Styron wrote his first novel, Lie Down In Darkness in 1951 which tells the story of a young woman who is stuck in a loveless middle-class family. She unsuccessfully fights for her sanity before eventually committing suicide. His next novel, The Long March was published in 1956 and chronicles a brutal forced march undertaken by recruits in a Marine training camp. Set This House On Fire, appeared in 1960, and was a complexly structured novel, set mostly in Italy.

The fourth novel by Styron was published on 1967 and was called The Confessions of Nat Turner. Based on a historical event, the main protagonist of this book is Nat, leads a slave rebellion in the state of Virginia. Based on a first hand account of Turner’s confession the book sympathetically portrays a man who has been denied his share of happiness, simply because of his degrading enslavement. Angry, resentful and alienated, he begins a bloody revolution, that leafs to his capture and death. Plus, since this novel was published at the peak of the civil rights movement, it lead to the book becoming a bigger success. It was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1968 though it received some criticism for its wrongful representation African American history. Further, the Time Magazine also included this novel in its TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. 

Sophie’s Choice was the final novel written by Styron. Published on his 54th birthday, this book rode high on the New York Times bestseller charts for a major part of the year. Awarded the American book award for fiction, the film rights for this book was sold at USD 7,50,00 to director Alan Pakula. Till date, no serious American writer had ever earned so much money from a novel and Styron is still was among one of the most celebrated American writers. His other works include, This Quiet Dust {a collection of essays}, Darkness Visible {a non-fiction account of his struggle with depression}, A Tidewater Morning {autobiographical stories} and Havanas in Camelot {a collection of personal essays on varied topics}.

Here are 10 memorable quotes that celebrates not just Styron’s contribution to the literary world, but also his honesty, courage and kinship with scores of fellow depression sufferers. By helping to break the silence and erase some of the stigma surrounding mental illness in America, his works are truly insightful and ahead of their times. 

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