Volume 15, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1932-2798
  • E-ISSN: 1876-2700



William Faulkner is an interesting case for the history of American cultural diplomacy. Although the State Department hailed him as a Cold War warrior, it had difficulty sponsoring his “modernist” novels in a book program that promoted American ideals during the Cold War. In this article I examine how the Franklin Book Programs arranged for some of Faulkner’s novels to be translated into Arabic and Persian by using sources from the Program’s archive and an interview with a former Franklin editor. The analysis is framed by Faulkner’s rise in status from a marginal to a major world writer. I also assess the cultural forces that led to his inclusion in Franklin’s list of publications. The analysis reveals a tension between American idealism and Cold War imperatives, further challenging the propagandist reading of the program and calling for a more nuanced understanding of the dynamics of the cultural Cold War in the region.

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