William Styron, 1925-2006
Reflections written by William Styron to Elizabeth Locke at the Duke University Office of Publications in response to a request for his reminiscences of Duke. Styron’s contribution was published with others' reminiscences of the University in Duke Encounters (Durham, NC: Duke University Office of Publications, 1977). From the collection of University Archives.
William Styron, left, with Professor William Blackburn, who taught Styron in writing classes at Duke University. The photograph, from the William Maxwell Blackburn Collection, was taken during a visit Styron made to campus in January 1952 after the publication of his first novel, Lie Down in Darkness, in 1951. Styron graduated from Duke in 1947.
William Styron’s notes for his novel Sophie’s Choice are typical of those that he kept during the composition of all his novels. Styron began Sophie’s Choice in the summer of 1973 after a dream in which he recalled a woman named Sophie, a survivor of the death camps at Auschwitz, whom he had met in Brooklyn in the summer of 1949. “Sophie imposed herself upon me,” Styron later said in remembering the moment.
Posted 2 November 2006
Last modified November 2, 2006 4:45:20 PM EST