NORTH MISSISSIPPI 433 N orthern Mississippi on the eve of the Civil War was still a raw frontier society. It was both a wilderness and among the richest, most suitable land for cotton cultivation in the South. The “Old South” in the Chickasaw Cession lasted barely a generation. An ambitious young settler from the older southeastern states could have migrated out to the booming frontier of the new “Cotton Kingdom” during the “Flush Times” of the 1830s, bought slaves, used their labor to hack out a plantation in the heavily forested, fertile land, grown wealthy from the increasing international demand for the “white gold,” only to see his world collapse in fire and destruction during the Civil War. The region contained a variety of environments, stretching from, on the east, the scrubby pines of the hilly Pontotoc Ridge to the rich, flat alluvial plains of the Delta to the west. Most of the northern region was within the Loess Hills—a narrow belt stretching southward from Tennessee, named for the pale, fertile loess soil. Loess soil is a calcareous silt, the windblown dust of ancient northern glaciers. The soil was loosely packed, free of stones, and remarkably easy to clear of trees. However, the soil formed a thin fertile layer that once broken was subjected to rapid erosion. Even in the 1830s there are frequent accounts of “Mississippi Canyons,” deep scars in the underlying clay and sand. Interspersed were uplands with a rich brown loam two to four feet thick forming even richer cotton-growing districts. FAULKNER’S TYPEWRITER William Faulkner wrote several books, short stories, volumes of poetry, and screenplays. Some of his most notable novels include As I Lay Dying, written in 1930, and Light in August, written in 1932. Faulkner twice won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, in 1954 for A Fable and in 1962 for The Reivers, his last novel. The Sound and the Fury, written in 1929, is widely considered Faulker’s greatest work. Faulkner used a unique stream-of-consciousness style of writing in the novel, a method which is still studied and analyzed by literature academics today. The office in William Faulkner’s home at Rowan Oak in Oxford has been preserved as the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author used it during his life. A small table near the window of the room contains Faulkner’s Underwood portable typewriter, on which the writer typed some of his notable works. Thousands of people, from Mississippi and beyond, visit Rowan Oak to see the typewriter and Faulkner’s compound each year.