New Edition of “William Faulkner: The Cofield Collection” Now Available

A new edition of “William Faulkner: The Cofield Collection” by the late Jack Cofield will make its debut Nov. 22 at Off-Square Books. Oxford writer and publisher Larry Wells edited the photo-biography, which Yoknapatawpha Press first published in 1978.

The program, which begins at 5:30 p.m., will feature a conversation between Wells and Rowan Oak curator Bill Griffith and joint presentation of a slide show from “William Faulkner: The Cofield Collection.” The second edition is dedicated to the late Glenn Cofield, grandson of J.R. Cofield and son of Jack and Martha Cofield. Earlier this year Glenn Cofield was murdered in Memphis. The crime remains unsolved.

The Cofield Collection began as a private collection of studio portraits by William Faulkner’s family photographers J. R. Cofield and his son Jack Cofield.

“The Cofields wanted to publish ‘Colonel’ Cofield’s scrapbook of Faulkner photos taken from 1931 to 1962,” Wells said. “In 1976, Howard Duvall, who founded Yoknapatawpha Press, asked me to edit the photo album and within a month the book concept had evolved into a visual record of Faulkner’s life and work.”

The Cofield Collection includes historical photographs taken at the turn of the 20th Century by photographers Sanders and Sweeney, whose studio J.R. Cofield purchased when he moved to Oxford in the late 1920s.

“Jack showed me his father’s collection of rare photos by Sanders and Sweeney,” said Wells. “At first glance, I saw that these pictures represented Faulkner’s fictional Yoknapatawpha County. Taken before WWI the previously unpublished pictures showed students at a one-room country schoolhouse like the school in The Hamlet, the Taylor railroad station where Temple Drake met Gowan Stevens in Sanctuary, the ruined Shipp mansion which resembled the “Old Frenchman’s Place.”

Ole Miss yearbook pictures, family snapshots, pictures taken by visitors to Rowan Oak, Faulkner’s home in Oxford, and photographs from the collection of Wells’ late wife, Dean, the niece of William Faulkner, completed the visual narrative of Faulkner’s two worlds, real and fictional.

“Many readers of The Cofield Collection have the same reaction,” said Wells. “In an hour or two they come away with a better understanding of Faulkner’s life and work.”

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