[Oxford, Mississippi]: 1919-1920. First edition. Embossed sheep over card, stamped in gilt to front board. Marbled endpapers. A bit of rubbing and shelfwear to covers; spine cracked and several signatures loose but in all holding well. Ownership stamp to front pastedown. Internally a pleasing example, with minimal wear and no marking. A Fine copy of this scarce piece, which does not appear in the auction record and of which there is no other example on the market; the present yearbook contains Faulkner's first literary appearance in book form, his poem To a Co-Ed (page 174).
"The Ole Miss annuals have a particularly treasurable quality about them; they breathe with the life of Faulkner's first creativity...which annuals to collect may seem a question of some complexity when all the choices are considered" (Petersen). After all, they show a young man engaging with peers, imagining a career in art, and testing out new facets to his identity. But the 1919-1920 annual stands out. To a Co-Ed was "his first literary appearance and his second published poem" (Petersen). In it, one gets a sense of the canon Faulkner learned during his time as a student -- references to major figures from the Iliad and the Divine Comedy abound. And while he has not yet tapped into the stream-of-consciousness that would mark his mature style, such allusions would appear in these adult works, repackaged and reimagined in the South. While original works by Faulkner would appear in later yearbooks, the present is a landmark first.
In addition to Faulkner's verse, the yearbook allows a glimpse into his active campus life. He contributes drawings that appear on pages 20, 105, 145, 155, and 157. He appears in the membership photographs for the Ole Miss staff and with the local American Legion post. Under the name Count William Falkner [sic] his name is listed in the membership of the Freshman Literary Class as well as under William Faulkner as a Special Student.
Cofield 55. Daniel 19. Massey 75. Petersen 17. (Item #4386)