OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA) - A distinguished professor for the Department of English at the University of Chicago addressed the audience at the Nutt Auditorium on the campus of Ole Miss.
His presentation explored the liberal imagination of one William Faulkner.
"This is an opportunity to see how William Faulkner's work has influenced and continues to shape discussions of African-American literature," said Kenneth Warren, distinguished professor.
The general vision of the conference year in and year out affords scholars, teachers and students the chance to have stimulating conversation as they locate Faulkner's work in the world that shaped his immagination and have an open dialogue in the process.
"We're interested in the kind of conversations that opened up between his work and the work of black predecessors, black contemporaries and his black sucessors," adds Jay Watston, the director of Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference. "We think we're going to be having very lively dialogue going on this week."
The first conference was held back in 1974 and organizers say each year they are learning something new about William Faulkner.
"I think the staying power that Faulkner has as an author is the fact that we can come back year in and year out to this conference. Forty conferences, forty different topics and Faulkner's work is always rich an interesting and diverse enough to support really fascinating conversations," adds Watson. "[Especially] about all of these topics."
If there is one thing people agree on is that Faulkner did a great job to help Mississippi understand itself through the middle decades of the 20th century.
"A lot of his critical insights about Southern societies, Southern race relations, the plantation world, they've helped the South move forward," added Watson.
The 40th annual will conclude on Thursday with guided tours of north Mississippi and a closing party at Off Square Books.