Mirrors of Chartres Street

William Faulkner’s New Orleans

Sketches from Mirrors of Chartres Street were first published in the New Orleans Times-Picayune in 1925 and are considered his first extended prose publication. Mirrors of Chartres Street deals largely with characters Faulkner observed in New Orleans, who he described as vagabonds, hoodlums, and racing touts and workmen.

Carvel Collins situates Faulkner’s title as an ironic reference to the Times-Picayune column “Mirrors of Washington,” which recounted notable stories of people implicated in national affairs, and Harold Begbie’s Mirrors of Downing Street, a popular work describing people in London’s upper-class.

Many of the sketches in Mirrors of Chartres Street would inform Faulkner’s later work. For example, “Out of Nazareth” centers on the belief that nature will care for pregnant women, a theme, Collins notes, that manifests itself again through Lena Grove in Faulkner’s Light in August.


Sources: Carvel Collins. “As Faulkner Saw New Orleans.” New York Times Book Review, February 7, 1954, p. 4.

Collins’ introduction to New Orleans Sketches