William Faulkner officially earned the Nobel Prize in Literature for the year 1949, but he did not receive it until the following year, because the Nobel Prize committee could not reach a consensus in 1949. Hence, two Nobel prizes were awarded in 1950, for the prior year and for the present one. The speech Faulkner delivered was not immediately intelligible to his listeners, both because of Faulkner’s southern dialect and because the microphone was too distant from his mouth, but when it was printed in newspapers the following day, it was immediately hailed as one of the most significant addresses ever delivered at a Nobel ceremony.
The text below is reprinted from Essays, Speeches, and Public Letters, which differs from the speech he actually delivered at the cermony. To hear a studio recording of Faulkner reading the (revised) speech, please visit this page. Also worth visiting is this page on the 1949 literature award from the Nobel Foundation, which features an audio recording of his live presentation of the speech, which unfortunately ends before the conclusion of the speech.. (This is apparently the same audio used for the first video featured below.)
Nobel Prize Videos
These videos were posted to YouTube. The first has only the still photo of Faulkner accepting the award, but it does include nearly three minutes of audio of Faulkner delivering the speech at the ceremony. The second video is a documentary featuring scenes from the ceremony, but not the speech itself. (It also happens to be in Swedish.) Click here for more information about the documentary (and another link to the video.)
I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work — a life’s work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part...