Oxford, Mississippi (Location Key)


Oxford is the real town in Mississippi where Faulkner lived and wrote for most of his life, and the original on which much of his fictional 'Jefferson' is based. The eight texts that mention Oxford by name seldom feature the town itself, though several of the separate Oxford locations in Sanctuary have their own entries in the database. But even in Sanctuary, Oxford is important mainly as the location of the University of Mississippi; Temple Drake in that novel is only one of the several characters who matriculate there, from Charles Bon and Henry Sutpen in the 1850s through Linda Snopes and Charles Mallison in the mid-20th century. Faulkner left the University behind when he relocated Oxford|Jefferson imaginatively to Yoknapatawpha County. Though characters frequently travel between the two towns, Faulkner is careful to obscure the exact route they take. In Flags in the Dust, for instance, Bayard Sartoris travels north to get there. In The Unvanquished Granny Millard says Oxford it just a few miles away from Mottstown, which is due south of Jefferson. In Sanctuary, Horace Benbow has to change trains twice between Jefferson and Oxford. And curiously, after repeatedly asserting that Oxford and Jefferson are forty miles apart, in the final two texts that mention both of them - The Town and The Mansion - he makes the distance fifty miles.